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A New Method of Cleaning 

If cleaning is hip, the cleanser must be Method

Wednesday, Dec 24 2003
See feature, Chic-and-Span.

SHAPE: The shape is based on a bottle of camping fuel Eric Ryan found at a tiny hardware store in Norway. He thought the elegant shoulders and round body gave it the feel of an Old World remedy. It's meant to be approachable, something you can leave out on the counter. And all of Method's cleaning products are designed to be held and interacted with, promoting the idea that tidying is more a spur-of-the moment delight than a dreadful chore.

LABEL: Ryan and Adam Lowry shot all of the photographs for the packaging, believing it was important that real items and people appear on the labels. "We're trying to bring emotion to cleaning products, so rather than having a little cartoon bucket, we wanted it to look human," Lowry says. "Plus, it reinforces the idea that it's safe." Their studio was frequently a Home Depot, where they would pose with sinks or other appropriate visual icons. Many labels feature Lowry's limbs, and, he jokes, "If this doesn't work out, I'm going to be a hand model."

COLOR: Method wanted the most vibrant colors possible without achieving the toxic neon hues of products such as Windex. But spurning the classic white bottle made for a lot of work. In developing the color formulations, Lowry was limited to environmentally friendly dyes that would be stable. "In the beginning, we'd go to Home Depot and get paint chips of a palette we thought was really good. I'd match the colors to paint chips." Method uses a more sophisticated process now, but the aim is to create a soothing, not bright, color that can complement a countertop.

FRAGRANCE: Cleaning products generally smell bad, in large part because of their bleach and anti-bacterial bases. But Method uses environmentally friendly base formulas, which has allowed Lowry to produce original and arresting fragrances: grapefruit-mandarin, ylang-ylang, French lavender, pomegranate. Cucumber got Method a lot of attention, and earned a fair number of imitators as well.

NAME: They wanted a name that represented power through technique. Lowry was brushing his teeth one night and threw out "Method." Ryan had been involved in many corporate naming assignments, but says he'd never heard a brand name that was so immediately obvious. It spoke to the company's holistic approach to cleaning, and would make it easier to move beyond cleaning products and into other categories of home products.

About The Author

Matt Palmquist


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