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Modernising a bath time icon

Matey bottles floating in a bubble bath
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A bubbly brief for Matey from Sara Lee

Our design director Tom worked on this project with Tin Horse and United Studios.

The project of bottle re-design for matey bubble bath was as fun as it looks! The brief was to reduce plastic weight, retain shelf impression and probably most importantly make the product fresher and more fun for little ones. The product inside is still the same great PH Neutral, Hypoallergenic liquid from our childhood.

Matey bottles, sailor, mermaid and pirate designs

Nostalgic inspiration for bottle concept design

We started by getting inspiration from the Toy Museum in London and a visit to HMS Belfast. We also collected as many previous versions of the Matey Bubble Bath Bottle as possible to investigate its evolution.

Armed with inspiration, we sketched some bubbly character concepts and then presented concept photoshop visuals and foam models. Sketch CAD models were then made for a selection of these and rendered presentation visuals were created in Cinema 4D for research. A design was chosen and developed into the final packaging design.

Matey bottles floating in a bubble bath
Quotemaintaining fun, bubbly bath times throughout the UK and Ireland… its loved by kids and trusted by parents.Quote


Reinventing an iconic structural brand

We added a couple of fun features into the new bottle, including a more ‘squeezable’ feel to the bottle and a fluted cap, which we hoped would help improve bubble production; whilst also adding to the on-shelf impression in store.

We retained the shrink wrap method of labelling to create a ‘3D’ character. The technical brief was to reduce the weight of plastic in both the bottle and the cap and return to a smooth shape profile. The bottle is shaped to locate stationary on the packaging line for the capping machine.

Matey bottles on edge of bath with bubbles


The Matey bottle was designed for Sara Lee in 2008 with Tin Horse. The latest bottle graphics were initially designed by Utd Studio and McBill Illustration. Matey and the Sara Lee bath care range are now owned by Unilever.

Matey was designed with Tin Horse. Their website and more projects are available to view at:

Tin Horse Logo