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Archive for the ‘packaging’ Category

Hiballin’: It’s All About the Glass

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Hiball Energy Water Found at Fresh Market in Kenwood, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Most discussions about Hiball sparkling energy drinks focus on the caffeine content of the beverage. (With 7.5 mg of caffeine per fluid ounce, a 10 oz. bottle has 75 mg total and, per ounce, it has less caffeine than a Starbucks Double Shot, but, per item, more than a can of Coca-Cola Classic or a Hershey’s Special Dark Bar.)

What’s more compelling about this product is its bottle. It’s glass. And Hiball is proud of choosing glass instead of plastic. On the “About” page of their popping website (click on “Why glass?” on the bottom left), designed by Steve Holmes of Energi Design, they’ve included a link to a list of reasons why glass is more sustainable and healthier than PET. This is a message other brands might want to note. Not only is glass more sustainable, it’s also nontoxic, impermeable, nonporous, has a longer shelf life, more attractive, and it’s retro. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sarah Froelich

August 2, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Fresh Code

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Fresh Code

It is truly frustrating to buy produce, bring it home, and find that it is either rotten or tastes old. Fresh Code is a barcode sticker system, designed by Sisi Yuan, Yiwu Qiu, Lei Zhao, Qiulei Huang, Lijun Zhang & Weihang Shu, that uses the barcode to indicate freshness. The best feature: if the produce is too old, the barcode has disappeared and it can’t be scanned and therefore can’t be sold. Questionable feature: a freshness barcode based on time, like a water filter timer, may not be accurate for all kinds of products.

Written by Sarah Froelich

April 1, 2010 at 10:37 am

Posted in design, packaging, produce

The Silver Palate Thick + Rough Oatmeal

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Rough & Ready found @ Foodtown in Sunnyside, Queens

Thick & Rough Oatmeal found @ Foodtown in Sunnyside, Queens

At first glance, the burgundy-red box of The Silver Palate Oatmeal doesn’t seem very compelling. The front of the box includes the logo, the name of the product, a brief description, and a photo of The Silver Palate shop window, wrinkled awning included. All of this seems cluttered and unpolished, as if it has been on the grocery store shelf a little too long. The Silver Palate’s logo appears to be the only well-designed aspect of the composition, and it seems someone who was simply fond of the product, not specifically a designer, could have applied the rest of the images and text around the sides and back of the box.

Stop for a moment and consider that these qualities say something different than expected; these are marks of an honest product. This product must be so delicious and healthy that the company doesn’t need flashy fonts and graphics to sell it. The Silver Palate name is enough to speak to consumers who just want a good oatmeal, not the kind that comes in individual packet servings. This oatmeal seems untouched by the same level of industry as Quaker Oats or even Nature’s Path; it feels local and even traditional. Perhaps the likes of John Ruskin would eat this oatmeal (although he might gravitate toward McCann’s Irish Oatmeal first).

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Written by Sarah Froelich

October 14, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Action, Adventure, + Mountain Dew

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The Lineup of Dew

The Lineup of Dew as seen @ Biggs Hyde Park in Cincinnati, Ohio

Check out the extreme imagery on these boxes. Note the conical mountains that seem to be flying around and the exaggeration of the reddish-orange W on DeW. This box seems to shout, “If you drink this, you can go fast, too!!!”

It has always puzzled me how a liquid that appears to be radioactive fuel could be considered as a beverage. With this in mind, the packaging of Mountain Dew, or rather Mtn Dew today, is extremely important in marketing such a strangely desirable product, one that seems to forget the times that required such a jolt of ecto-green caffeine, such as when working late nights or early mornings and to accompany the delicacies eaten out of vending machines.
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Written by Sarah Froelich

October 13, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Zippy + Spicy Ricepod Snacks

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Ricepod snacks found at Merci Market, 20th St. and 7th Ave. NYC

Ricepod snacks found at Merci Market, 20th St. and 7th Ave. NYC

Say it with me: Ricepod. Ricepod. Yes, it does have a funny and catchy sound to it. It might even sound like a new mantra. The packaging, appearing simultaneously sleek and homemade, is incredibly simple. It’s a clear bag that fits easily in one hand and when it’s filled, it asserts itself and stands up on its own on a shelf or a table. Two narrow white stickers, one front, one back, announce the product’s name, flavor, spice level, ingredients, and nutrient information. In red, italicized letters above the plastic zipper seal, Ricepod reassures that it is fat free and gluten-free, and in smaller text along the zipper, that the package is resealable.

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Written by Sarah Froelich

October 13, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Basic Brands = Poor Grammar + Spelling?

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The Magical (Basic) Fruit

The Magical (Basic) Fruit

According to Stuart Elliott’s advertising column*, consumers are buying more basic brands; Elliott cites cost savings as a major part of this shift. Although there is something comforting in the return to basic brands, like the Heinz Beans with tomato sauce (note the established date of 1886 above) and the old-fashioned appeal of Quaker Oats, the logos and labels seem to be having an historic reverie, with some problematic twists. Notice how Quaker Oats has been modernized lately with the phrase “Go humans go.” See “the Quaker Man” smiling on billboards and riding around on top of taxis, along with a lack of attention to grammar. As for the beans, Heinz has co-opted their “beautifully designed label” to include a miss-spelling of beans: Beanz along with their “Beanz Meanz Heinz” campaign. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sarah Froelich

October 8, 2009 at 9:46 am

Designer Foodie

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Cathedral of Groceries: Food Emporium @ the Queensboro Bridge, Manhattan side

Why are designers often foodies? Louise Fili’s firm designs jam labels and the Goodhousekeeping seal of approval. Milton Glaser designed the Brooklyn Brewery logo and co-wrote the 1975 edition of The Cook’s Catalog. Paola Antonelli, curator of Design and Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art, wrote about the many shapes of pasta. Antiquarian cookbook storeowner, Bonnie Slotnick, has a Fashion Illustration degree from Parsons. It seems food and design live happily together. If you ask your designer friends about what they eat or where they buy their cheese or bread, I bet there’s a story behind their choices.

There are obvious explanations for this phenomenon. First, designers love objects and grocery stores have lots of objects—rows and rows of them, some lining shelves and others piled artfully in bins. Second, designers often care about the composition of things, and this applies to dining as well. They care about how their food tastes, what it looks like, and they probably want to know where it was made, what tools were used, and what ingredients were included. Third, designers recognize the cultural significance of food and may see food production as a captivating system and a model of how consumers are drawn to certain objects and products. Food and consumables have limited life spans, therefore the design of food and its production is a sped-up process of what happens to other products affected by obsolescence.

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Written by Sarah Froelich

September 29, 2009 at 2:48 pm