Blue and green spotty Nutella packaging

Algorithm generates millions of Nutella packaging designs

Image credit: Ferrero

The maker of Nutella has employed an algorithm to design millions of unique jars containing the chocolate spread, which have already sold out in Italy.

The campaign, which was named Nutella Unica, was the result of a partnership between Nutella’s manufacturer, Ferrero, and the Italian arm of advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather.

A computer program was provided with a database of bright, bold patterns and colours that were judged brand appropriate. The software then combined the patterns and colours to generate seven million different designs to print on jars of Nutella sold in Italy. According to Ogilvy & Mather, the Nutella Unica jars sold out in a month.

Computers are increasingly taking on creative design roles. The Grid is a platform capable of automatically designing websites, Google’s DeepDream programme uses machine learning to artistically modify existing images, and Autodesk used an algorithm to create the Elbo chair, optimised for cost efficiency, comfort and visual appeal.

Ogilvy & Mather describes each jar as being like “a piece of art”. The jars are stamped with unique codes so that they can be authenticated by collectors.

“We think Nutella can be as special and expressive as every single one of its customers,” said the agency. “With this objective, Nutella Unica was born – the first limited edition made by seven million different jars. Dozens of patterns, thousands of colour combinations, one special algorithm.”

Red Nutella packaging


Image credit: Ferrero

In 2014, Nutella joined the personalised packaging craze – also taken up by Coca-Cola, Heinz and Oreo – when it offered to print customers’ names and other words in the place of the famous Nutella logo. The distinctive Nutella font is so immediately recognisable that other aspects of the Nutella packaging can be adapted while retaining its brand identity.

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