Sheri Nominated as a 2024 PERSON TO WATCH by GDUSA

In its celebrated ‘People To Watch’ feature, GDUSA has been honoring individuals who epitomize the essence of the creative community for over six decades. These are the remarkable individuals recognized for their exceptional talent, accomplishments, leadership, influence, and commitment to service. While acknowledging the subjectivity inherent in such selections within a vast pool of talent, GDUSA’s track record speaks volumes, with a star-studded list of past honorees.

This year, in 2024, the spotlight shines particularly bright on the packaging realm. In today’s rapidly evolving post-pandemic landscape, packaging emerges as a standout player, serving not only as a critical communication tool but also as a beacon of unparalleled growth potential. As noted by editor Gordon Kaye, “In the midst of noise, clutter, and uncertainty, effective packaging emerges as a game-changer. It’s tangible, immediate, interactive, and emotionally resonant, narrating stories and reinforcing brand promises at the moment of truth.”

GDUSA People To Watch 2024


Sheri L Koetting is the Co-Founder and Chief Strategist of MSLK, a branding agency based in New York. MSLK specializes in helping beauty companies find their voice in today’s crowded marketplace through 360° positioning — from overall brand strategy to brand identity, packaging, websites and digital marketing campaigns.

Over the past two decades, MSLK has helped brands strengthen their position in the beauty industry – from the very beginnings to launching line extensions, rediscovering their voice in a crowded market, and creating entirely new product categories.

Sheri has worked with clients such as Aveda, Chanel, Joico, John Masters Organics, Maybelline, Ouidad, Redken, Sephora, in addition to many smaller brands.

She frequently speaks about marketing and branding at conferences around the world. She has dedicated her career to producing events and workshops dedicated to best practices and business acumen for design agencies. In 2002 Sheri co-founded the non-profit organization, Spark Design Professionals.

As we pivot into a post-pandemic era marked by societal challenge and change, are you optimistic about the future of Graphic Design to support and shape commerce, culture and causes? Why do you feel the way you do? Are you optimistic about the future of your own firm?

The future looks bright at MSLK; the beauty and wellness industry rely on branding, design, and marketing to shape the overall impression consumers have of products. These tools are what differentiates a brand and inspires purchase for the first time. The beauty industry is trail blazing, demonstrating for all industries the way consumers yearn to connect with the products they purchase. Brands outside the category like Oatly are proof that consumers yearn for emotional connections and joy — no matter the product category or purchase price. Consumers want to be connected to a community of likeminded peers. When you clearly define a brand’s value proposition, culture, and values, the more likely you are to win market share.

We are seeing an increased focus on Package Design to advance the brand, tell the story, amplify the experience, forge an emotional connection with consumers at the moment of truth. Do you agree with this observation and, if so, what advantages does packaging have over other graphic communications? Also, do you see any notable trends regarding package graphics and/or package production?

One hundred percent of your customers will interact with your packaging. The primary display panel (PDP) does all the heavy lifting and must convey the essence of your brand. The colors, shapes, symbols, and words on your PDP speak volumes about your brand, inspiring consumers to pick up your package at retail or click on e-commerce. Packaging must be designed to address the fundamental product category requirements and be at parity with other brands — yet stand apart and offer something different. Beauty consumers yearn for these graphical elements to convey Trust, Education, and Intrigue to feel confident making a purchase from a brand for the first time. Great packaging balances all these elements while utilizing every millimeter of packaging space to make an impact. In the beauty industry some of the products with the highest price point and highest profit margin come in the smallest packages.