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Soap-in-a-can brand Kankan receives "elevated" redesign by Morrama and Two Times Elliott

Kankan, a brand that sells hand and body wash in fizzy drink-style cans, has upgraded its packaging with a new visual identity and a reusable clip-on pump.

London-based studios Morrama and Two Times Elliott teamed up on the redesign, which celebrates the use of the can but also improves the look and functionality of Kankan's products.

Kankan pump by Morrama
Kankan's body cleansers and hand washes are packaged in metal cans

Morrama was responsible for designing the recycled plastic pump that clips directly onto the can and can be reused time and time again.

Meanwhile, banding studio Two Times Elliott developed a brand identity that draws on both the blocky aesthetic of the can and the natural ingredients that go into Kankan's products.

"It's a more elevated, premium offer that matches the quality of the products within," said Kankan co-founder Eliza Flanagan.

"Our mission is to show that modern sustainability needn't be harking back to the days of old," she told Dezeen. "We feel it can have a broader appeal."

Kankan pump by Morrama
The redesign includes a new visual identity and a reusable pump attachment

Flanagan and fellow co-founder Mary McLeod first launched Kankan in 2019, with the aim of creating a more convenient and sustainable approach to refill products.

The use of aluminium cans meant the packaging was highly distinctive and much more recyclable than the plastic pouches used by other brands. But it wasn't as attractive as other body washes on the market nor as easy to use.

Kankan cans
The cans are made from tinplate so they don't rust

Tasked with improving the functionality, the studio's strategy was to rethink the refill process so customers wouldn't have to decant the liquid soap into a separate container.

Instead, a reusable pump simply clips onto the top of the can and is secured tight with a thumb screw.

"We took this as an opportunity to really strip back the material used and consider the can itself as part of the product," said Jo Barnard, who is Morrama's creative director and one of the co-founders of climate action group Design Declares.

The pump is primarily made from post-consumer recycled polypropylene. There is a small amount of virgin plastic involved, but Barnard hopes to find a way to design this out.

"We chose to use recycled polypropylene because of the circularity of it," she said. "Not only is it made from waste plastic but it can be recycled at the end of life."

"Of course, there are lots of wonderful bio-based materials out there," she added. "But most of them would never stand up to the damp environments of a bathroom and we want the Kankan pump to be used over and over again."

The next step was to make some subtle adjustments to the can.

The new version is made from tinplate rather than aluminium so it isn't prone to rust and features a lid that peels off completely to make it easier to attach the pump.

Kankan soap in a can in Bloom with branding by Two Times Elliott
Two Times Elliott designed a logo that takes cues from the can

For the new graphic identity, Two Times Elliott developed a logo font that takes its cues from the shape of the can.

"Each letter is based on the idea of being stackable and uniform like the can itself," said designer Edmund Lock.

Other aspects of the visual identity reference Kankan's range of fragrances, which are made using only essential oils.

Kankan soap in a can in New Leaf with branding by Two Times Elliott
The products come in four different fragrances and colourways

Different colours are assigned to each of the four fragrances – Grounded, Harvest, New Leaf and Bloom.

These hues, which include shades of lilac, olive green, sage green and yellow, are intended to feel fresh but also complement the cold, industrial look of the exposed metal.

"I think that's a bit of a trope within the industry to do things that feel very natural, very soft," said Lock. "But we wanted it to be more forward-thinking, leaning into this fusion of nature with science and technology."

The products are shipped in cardboard packaging, helping to further reduce their carbon footprint.

Kankan cardboard packaging
The products arrive packaged in cardboard

"Our ambition is to make circular solutions simple and easy for the consumer," added Flanagan. "We hope that by making refills more convenient, it helps broaden the appeal and reduces our consumption of single-use plastics in the home."

Morrama and Two Times Elliott are both familiar with designing sustainably-minded products.

Morrama's previous work includes a recyclable Covid-19 test kit and a razor that targets the issue of plastic waste, while Two Times Elliott's portfolio includes the branding for refillable deodorant Fussy.

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