Saturday, 8 August 2009

Regulations spoil design and packaging

My mum has an aromatherapy and fragrance manufacturing business and over the last ten years the requirements and regulations for different symbols on the products has become increasingly onerous. Take one of the products the make - essential oils. Its a little brown bottle like this and is measures about 6cm tall - like this one!

At present the bottle has a lovely green leafy designed label with a barcode but all the time - every few months the EU brings out another set of labelling requirements. What a nightmare for the designers. Their lovely label is gradually being replaced by a set of orange signs and open lids and to give you an idea of how horrible this stuff is have a look here. Is it not time the designers stood up against all these rules and regulations.

Would it make you buy?

Celebrity endorsements are all the rage with celebrities even starting to make their own products to endorse. However, i think whilst some people are influenced by their favourite celebrity advertising a product, it can often put a lot of people off.

Jordan, Shilpa Shetty and Jade Goody are three very controversial and potentially unpopular celebrities, a lot of people may not only not buy the product but would be inclined to purposefully avoid buying these products and get another one even if it meant paying more, purely because of the celebrity attached to them.

Celebrity endorsements are massive and you can barely watch an advert on tv without one coming on with a celebrity on it. A few i could think of were:
Richard Hammond- Morissons
Davina McCall-Garnier
Reese Witherspoon-Avon
Keira Knightley- Chanel
Fearne Cotton/Holly Willoughby- Nintendo DS 'Imagine' Game
The Redknapps-Nintendo Wii
Thierry Henry/Tiger Woods/Roger Federer- Gillette Fusion
Kerry Katona-Iceland

Cheryl Cole is now the new face of L'Oreal hair products. When people see this advert- do they think if I use those products I will have hair like that? Or I will actually look like that?

I know underneath that when I see an advert like that I secretly hope after using the product that my hair will look like that-even though the reality is it probably took a team of 10 stylists, 1000 products and a good half day to make her hair look like that.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Stick to your beliefs

Being a designer can be a very hard world. Everyone gives you a different brief - an alternative suggestion. People either love your work or hate it. When they hate it you want to cry and when they love it you are on top of the world!

And I like the guy who wrote this - Spencer Nugent, co-founder of, offers this advice. "Think of something unique you can bring to the table. One of our most unique and popular posts was on microwaving prismacolor pencils to keep them from breaking. That post alone brought over 10,000 new visitors to the site. Stick to your guns and be prepared to defend your point of view. You're putting yourself out there for EVERYONE to see. Not everyone will agree with you, so you have to be prepared to stick to what you believe in.”

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Packaging - the myths!

So many companies now make a massive issue about being "green" The bottles are eco friendly, the lids are recyclable, the contents will bio-degrade! Do we really believe it all?

Recently an article was published that told us we should look more at the materials that went into making the packaging than into whether the packaging could be recycled. "The attention the consumer and the media give to how a plastic product is disposed of is no doubt the bane of many a plastic manufacturer’s existence. Landfill has become a dirty word, and biodegradable and compostable the new favourites."

But what if your products used more non-renewable resources than your competitors. Shouldn't you be making a song and a dance about this? Did you know that bioplastics can never degrade and are essentially immortal?

And that brings me onto another thought? What about over packaging? For how many years have you opened your Christmas presents to find that you have a tiny box of items and three large black bin bags filled with surplus packaging which doubtless sold the item to you in the first place only for you to discover that actually you have been seriously cheated! My brother got a Tamagotchi one year for his birthday - the box was the size of a shoe box and the virtual pet about the size of a spider!

And then again what about other sorts of waste? Did you know that although we are constantly told about the packaging waste from food we actually average 22lb of this compared with 440lb of food waste!

The final myth that really annoys me is the paper versus plastic bags! There you are standing in a queue at the shops and you get to the check out only to discover that everyone around you has a total look of disapproval of their faces at the point where the cashier asks you if you want a bag and you said the dreaded word "yes" instead of producing your canvas "I want to go green" version out of your pocket!. But recently I discovered that paper bags take more water and energy to produce than plastic and since paper is heavier, it costs more to truck paper bags from the manufacturing facility to a warehouse and then to a store!

So maybe its time we all stop being spoon fed this rubbish and investigated the real packaging issues for ourselves.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The World

This is a phenomenal structure and an amazing achievement. Throughout many ages architecture has seen many different structures and styles. Its hard to imagine that the human mind still has the capacity to create yet another idea. The buildings are really modern but the whole concept is revolutionary. Could it be the first step to a make belief world where if you have enough money you could escape into your perfect world of design! Or could it be that theTruman Show can become a reality!!

Monday, 3 August 2009

A Funny take on packaging!

In 2006, when tech billionaire Mark Cuban sliced his hand trying to free a Seagate (NYSE: STX) hard drive from its hard plastic packaging, he exclaimed on his blog, "WHO THE F*** DESIGNED THE PACKAGING ON THIS THING AND WHY DO THEY STILL HAVE A JOB !!!!!"
"Damn you and any other product manager who thinks wrapping impenetrable plastic around a product is a smart move," he fumed. "It isn't."