Bratz: A Retrospective (Part 3: Designed By)

When it comes to product design, the way an item is packaged is just as important as the item itself. In fact, it can actually make or break the sales success of said item.

With that said, I’d like to focus the next installment on the product packaging. In addition, I’ll also be delving into the branding behind the Bratz: what worked, what hasn’t worked, and what significant changes have affected the brand.

Dresden Front Packaging

[Bratz Passion 4 Fashion! Dresden front of box]

       The Bratz have had some very innovative packaging throughout the years. Dresden here just happens to me one of the few Bratz I’ve decided to keep boxed since she was rather hard to track down during her initial release…also, I don’t want to deal with her ratty hair even though her nickname is “Miss Priss.”

       What we see here is this a the packaging MGA has used specifically for the Passion 4 Fashion! collections. We get a nice view of the doll, her second outfit, and the usual text like “2 complete outfits!” As a child, I didn’t pay much attention to it. Looking at it now, it seems kind of excessive. Very LOOK-AT-ME kind of tactic? The line “Introducing, for the first time ever, Dresden!” ain’t all that bad though. What’s nice in this release of P4F, however, is a nice look at artwork of Dresden on the lower right.

Dresden Back Packaging

[Bratz Passion 4 Fashion! Dresden back of box]

       On the back of the box is the art in full body and Dresden’s little Bratz blurb and her little Bratz icon (personally not a big fan of Dresden’s). “Hi, I’m Dresden! My friends call me ‘Miss Priss’ because I’m always perfectly primped!” It’s a simple back of the box, but it works as it is. I think it works very well for a stand-alone kind of piece as we get to appreciate Dresden for all she is in her packaging. I believe a lot of the Bratz packaging during this particular time liked to feature the illustrated artwork with a rhyme or statement or two about the collection on the back.

       In short, the packaging from the 2001-2008 period was very innovative in packaging up the dolls. I feel as if the Bratz ushered in the packaging standards of the 2000s in dolls. However, there were a few things that certainly frustrated me about the packaging. Often, the girls were really held into their packaging, so as a young child, it probably took me thirty minutes to remove a Bratz doll from her box. Sometimes, it just felt too excessive for the sake of a doll.

Twisty Jade Front Packaging

[Bratz Twisty Style Jade front of box]

       In 2013, the Bratz underwent a major change – both in the physical look of the doll (Psst, they got taller) and in the branding. The boxes, instead of adopting unique polygonal shapes, usually that of a trapezoid or such, became more stream-lined and sleek. The old Bratz logo, created using the Funkhouse font, was now switched out for something new. The supporting copy on the packacing utilized the Impact font, which definitely made an impact on the packaging (haha). The tag-line, which had gone from a few changes in the past but primarily stuck with “The Only Girls with a Passion for Fashion!” was switched out for a more generalized “Unlease Your Passion!”

       Of course, the same formula for packaging was utilized. In the front, we get a nice view of the Jade doll. The simplified exclamations on the box, in a very small copy, are accompanied by two images of Jade modeling a hairpiece and a girl modeling the same hair piece to demonstrate the sharable element. On the right side of the box is a glimpse into the Bratz artwork of Twisty Styles Jade. A key feature of the taller Bratz was that the packaging liked to stress the girls were taller with a “Psst! I’m Taller!” bubble.

Twisty Jade Back Packaging

[Bratz Twisty Style Jade back of box]

       The back of the box kind of has a lot going on. There’s the revamped Bratz logo at the top left, the collection name right under it, and a full body artwork of Twisty Styles Jade on the right. In the open space in the upper portion of the back is the same two images and small copy about the twisty braid. Slightly redundant here. Right beneath it is a little feature I liked about the re-branding where “Unleash your passion!” is boldly displayed at the bottom portion for the packaging. Underneath the dividing line is the social media handles for the Bratz and a small image of the girls featured in Twisty Style. It’s a bit much going on in such a small little space that I feel like it intereferes with the rest of the back of the box. One feature I like is the plastic tabs at the top of the box. It definitely made it feel like removing the Bratz doll from the packaging much easier. Gone, too, were the annoying twisty-ties of the early 2000s in doll packaging.

       It took me awhile to warm up to the taller bodies of 2013, but I really loved the Bratz re-vamped branding. The new logo felt like it was shuffling the Bratz girls into a new era and definitely felt edgier and less teen spunk that I tend to associate with Bratz. The use of the Impact font felt very relevant and paired nicely with the new logo. I really wish MGA could have pushed it further with the new look, but alas they decided to regroup and suspend the brand at another attempt of fixing and improving the brand.

BBB Cloe Front Packaging

[Bratz Backyard Beach Bash Cloe front of box]

       Then came the 2nd reboot. The Bratz tried to go back to their roots and brought back the traditional Bratz logo (now in purple than the former Bratz hot pink with a yellow gradient glow). The Z had now been altered so that it looked as if were peeling up slightly. The illustration style had also changed as an updated version of the earlier illustrations of the Bratz. However, unlike the past illustrations, the cartoon of Cloe was not adapted to each collection. The artwork and the collection name would not be featured as largely as past artwork and collections names had been. The trapezoid shape was also back, but with an added cardboard extension along the right side and top.

       I guess the generalized phrases about the amount of extras that come with the doll are just a part of the formula in doll packaging. As usual, the doll is displayed nicely along the left side and the accessories are along the right side. One thing that bugs me is that there’s a bit too much going on in the box. The funky background doesn’t steal from the overall packaging but it does add to the cluttered sense I’m getting looking at the box. It’s a big difference from the sleekness of the 2013 packaging.

BBB Cloe Back Packaging

[Bratz Backyard Beach Bash Cloe back of box]

       On the back is a shot of the featured doll and related copy. The update of Bratz in 2015 became very focused on modern day social media features like the selfie and texting and hashtags. Notice the green text message on the top left where Cloe shares about her experience. The Bratz also took the phrase of DIY – do it yourself – and altered it into CIY – create it yourself. At the bottom of the packaging is the girls of this collection in a backyard setting that matches the theme. One annoying little thing is how we get to catch a glimpse of the prototypes/what could have been where the shoes have more detailing and the girls had different lip stick colors and hair lengths. Hm. MGA always teases us with the change from concept prototype to production product.

       I don’t mind the re-branding the second time around as they took elements that worked in the initial run of Bratz and just adapted it to suit their target market now. Speaking of target markets, it definitely feels like MGA had shifted their market to the younger crowd. It’s not a bad move considering how many former fans of Bratz have now grown up and whatnot, but at the same time it definitely takes away the edge that what made the Bratz dolls…well, Bratz. With that said, I’ve pretty much said all I intended to share about the packaging and branding. The next segment will cover all the media and movies the Bratz have been involved in during their entire run.

Have a natty day!



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