A long partnership of innovation and brand guardianship in oral care

DGI has worked closely with Unilever’s Oral Care Division since 1997. Participating actively in the Division’s product innovation workshops and providing support in every area from Product Strategy to New Product Development, Brand and Product Guardianship, we have become a key trusted partner.

Following a creative multidisciplinary approach that integrates in-depth analyses of consumer practices and attitudes towards ergonomic and materials studies, we made major contributions to the leading brands in the Unilever Oral Care portfolio, including Aim, Close UP, Mentadent, Pepsodent and Signal in projects for EU countries and international markets, ranging from Brazil to the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore.

Our team took care of the White System design. A real revolution in the oral care field.

White System has been the first toothbrush to feature a rubber blade in the head that has a whitening action, because it adheres to the teeth like a soft windscreen wiper during brushing, gently polishing them. Still on the market after more than 15 years and still a best seller.

Changing perceptions of oral care

Oral care design has changed radically in the past 20 years, shifting from simple performance and function to interaction and experience. Toothbrushes are now an integral part of our everyday lives. We expect them not just to help us brush properly, but also to make us feel great. They have become symbols of a happy, healthy lifestyle.

A Timeline of successes

In 2016 our Product Design Team supported the Unilever’s brand Mentadent to conceive and launch the Vertical Sensitive Cheeks + Teeth toothbrush model for a Double Cleaning Action in a single gesture

Two years before, in 2014, we worked at the Vertical & Vertical Sensitive solution: an extremely innovative new product in the Unilever oral care portfolio, marketed in Italy and Austria under the MENTADENT brand, in France and Spain under the SIGNAL brand, in Greece under the AIM brand, and in Finland, India, Indonesia and the Philippines under the PEPSODENT brand.



The challenge was exciting: to design a toothbrush that simply and intuitively
facilitates the correct brushing motion, indirectly promoting the optimal interaction between the object and its user.
An object carefully designed down to the smallest details (materials, finishings, grip)
and in all its component parts (bristles and grip) so that it can educate and improve quality of life in a simple everyday activity.


The details behind the behavioral change

The design brief for the Vertical Expert specified two functional objectives – facilitate vertical brushing and promote effective interdental cleaning through a multiple plaque-removing action – and one user pleasure objective, namely that brushing should become a caress, with less pressure applied to the gums, thereby simultaneously improving precision and thoroughness.

The design of the Vertical Expert handle with its cylindrical 360° radial grip zone prompts the user to rotate the toothbrush between their fingers, facilitating the vertical toothbrush motion recommended by dentists.

In 2017 Unilever wanted to extend their market-leading Mentadent brand with a new premium toothbrush. Our CMF and product designers joined forces to create Arkess, targeting the millenials segment.

There were two specific features for the product design: the head of the toothbrush introduces a new design for the rubber lamella, that facilitates the cleaning of the teeth. The bristles feature black carbon filaments to increase the cleaning effect further, and a distinct color pattern for a dynamic feel.

Our CMF designers worked closely together with our product design team throughout the project to achieve an overall feel that is innovative, young, performing, and effective.

Finally, in 2018 Unilever’s oral care business had its eyes set on launching a premium brand for the health-conscious consumers of the rapidly developing markets of South Asia.

Based on the initial research by Unilever R&D, we developed the new toothbrush’s CMF system around Himalayan and Bamboo salts conceiving Alfred: a new toothbrush for APAC for a natural, premium experience, designed for high shelf impact.

When people look for a new toothbrush, the presentation on the shelf is key. It’s important to show the brush from the side exposing the handle shape and tampering of the bristles. With these new brushes, the selected colors are extra present in the bristles, informing the customers of the presence of the salt.

About the project

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