September 11, 2014
Ad hoc “wing” handles built-in to Tetra-Brik juice boxes (from: Baby Zone)
As long as we were just talking about how Tetra Brik side flaps are sometimes compared to ears or wings, consider this latent function for Tetra Brik side flaps: hidden handles.
Parents of toddlers have long noted a problem with this type of juice box. In the hands of young children the container is often squeezed too hard and the contents squirt out the straw like a geyser.
One solution that is practically an internet meme, is the idea of using the container’s side flaps as integral handles.
1. As Baby Zone (whose butterfly-wings/juice-box photo is shown above) puts it…
“This popular internet hack stops your kids from squirting juice everywhere by teaching them to lift their juice boxes with the side flaps!”
This same tip has been repeated on many websites, further highlighting both a drawback to the Tetra Brik juice box’s design, and a secret, built-in solution to the problem.
(See 8 more examples, after the fold…) (more…)
September 9, 2014
Zoomorphic packaging: I’ve blogged a lot about anthropomorphic packages, designed to look like people. I figured that there must be a different word for packages designed to resemble animals, but I never got around to looking it up. Until now.
Turns out there are a couple of words that I could have been using to describe an animal-shaped package: “zoomorphic” is one; “theriomorphic” is another.
So today we are featuring 3 zoomorphic Tetra Brik boxes. In each of the animal-shaped packs above, the effect is achieved by unsealing the small triangular flaps of a Tetra Brik package so that they are are no longer in their default “down” position.
In two out of three of examples that we found, these upraised flaps are used to represent “ears” which is interesting since those flaps are actually called “ears” elsewhere…
In the case of Tetra Brik®, the side-seam is also covered with a strip of PE film to prevent the product from contacting the raw edge of the overlapping seam. This style results in ears formed when the horizontal heat seals are made. They are folded flat against the pack and lightly sealed.
Mark J. Kirwan
Handbook of Paper and Paperboard Packaging Technology, 2012
(Details about each of the package designs above, after the fold…) (more…)
September 4, 2014
Also related to yesterday’s post (about Tom Friedman’s untitled “box corners” sculpture) are the folded cardboard “corner pads” used to protect the corners of boxes or furniture during shipment. (The “corrugated corner pad” on right is from Omnipak’s website)
Above are 10 different patented designs for cardboard corner pads, dating from 1942 to 1994.
Some box corners are tetrahedral, formed by making right-triangular folds. Other box corners are shaped like half of a hollow cube, formed by rectangular right angle folds. (See also: Naef Toys)
There are other patented box corners that are not include here. I thought 10 was just a nice round number for right angle box corners. (“Top 10 Box Corners”) But I could just as easily have gone with 9. (“Nine 90° Box Corners”)
The one that I came up with, is this pentagrammic prism, based on a star with 90° angle points. Kinda looks like something from Powerpuff Girls, but each of the ten (convex) corners have the same 90° angles as a regular, rectangular box. We’re not concerned with the concave angles in this thought experiment, because those concave corners are less vulnerable and shouldn’t require protection.
Are there any other 10 corner boxes that would work here? Anyone?
(Die lines diagrams of each of the 10 box corners follow, after the fold…) (more…)
September 3, 2014
Really like this 1996 untitled “box corners” sculpture by Tom Friedman: “A construction made from the corners of cardboard boxes that contained products the artist used over the course of one year.”
And I like the amorphous, concave polyhedron of brand packaging.
Its structure is related to crystal twinning and compounds of cubes. Each tetrahedral “corner” of the sculpture is a recognizable fragment of a rectangular box. While the cut-out cardboard box corners are not as symmetrically arranged as in the compound polyhedrons and the twin crystal shown below, an intersection of boxes is implied, none-the-less.
left: pyrite twin (triplet) crystal; right: Intersection of Two Cubes
Compound polyhedrons with 6, 7 and 10 cubes (from: Wolfram Mathworld)
See also: George Hart’s website
(2 more ways of reusing cut off box corners, after the fold…) (more…)
August 31, 2014
One of the Pop Art Buggies series: “Tony the Tiger” (sold on eBay for $5.99)
It was the little picture on the right that first drew my attention to what I eventually learned were called “Pop Art Buggies.” A series of toy cars, launched by Buddy L in 1971, that were designed to resemble product packaging.
For kids, seeing familiar food packages transformed into dune-buggy/go-cart toy cars probably made perfect sense, coming, as it did, a few years after the launch of Topp’s wildly popular “Wacky Packages” stickers.
Pop Art Buggies follow a similar cultural logic, although, here, there’s no product satire. More like: licensed product placement, revealing a previously hidden potential for fun. New ways of playing with your food (packaging.)
Probably the first time that the trademark name of a $1 kids toy car was ever based on a contemporary art movement. (Barring any “Op Art” brand of toy cars that I’ve yet to discover.)
Three of the Pop-Art Buggies series (for sale on eBay for $65)
Pop Art Buggy, “Soda Pop Stop” (sold on eBay for $14.99)
How many different models of “Pop Art Buggies” were made? Well I don’t have any Buddy L product catalogs to refer to, but my research on eBay and in old newspapers seems to show that there were only six models ever made.
“Wild, whacky and positively irresistible! Tony the Tiger, Soda Pop Stop, Heinz Ketchup, Bazooka Gum, Skippy Peanut Butter and Lightn’n Bug. Six kooky carts with rugged steel bodies. “Non-Mar” oversize racing slicks. Brite plate chrome and wheel discs.”
The full set of Pop Art Buggies (via: Worthpoint)
The GE light-bulb shaped “Lightn’n Bug” is the outlier of the group—a product, not a package.
While the “real” products here are the toy cars, the real question is: how were these package-shaped toy cars packaged?
(Asked and answered, after the fold…) (more…)
August 19, 2014
Following the thread (or the chain of polyhedrons) of our last post, today we have patents for three, very similar, multiple packages or multi-packs with trapezoidal portions.
Their structural similarity, however, goes beyond the separable trapezoidal containers. Each is also designed to be rolled up into a polyhedral prism.
While these designs make ingenious use of space by “close-packing” their individual compartments, they also turn the backing(s) into an exterior package, which has the effect of concealing the product.
I wonder: is this concealment a feature or an unintended consequence?
(Details about each of them follow, after the fold…) (more…)
August 15, 2014
Another pair of chained polyhedral portion packs of the sort we’ve been obsessed with for a while. Each was nominated in the Packaging Impact Design Awards for different years.
1. Hanna Jansson’s Estivale Champagne packaging was among this year’s PIDA’s nominees from Sweden. Her carton, containing four Champagne bottles, starts our as a rectangular box, with four “hingedly connected” right triangle prism shaped compartments. Besides affording more space for product information when displayed as an unfolded chain of packages, her design is also reversible, with a dual arrangement, in which the bottles are visible, rather than hidden.
“Once opened it’s going to turn inside out and can then be placed directly on the dinner table. The inside is decorated with recipes that contains champagne to eat on a summer day.”
(See also: Jessica Comin’s “laranja mecánica”)
2. Choc’n’Diz was a collaborative project by Cloé Tizot, Julien Gorgery and Julie Znamiec. Among the 2011 PIDA nominees from France, their “string of individually packed chocolates” won the Best Level of Innovation Award.
“It is designed with removable single portions which gives it flexibility and defining it as a nomadic pack…”
Each portion is a separate tetrahedron, but these tetrahedrons are arranged differently from the classic “TetraPak sausage” arrangement.
August 13, 2014
Square toilet paper: another simple, but somehow radical product transformation, similar to the idea of “square cigarettes.” (See: New Idea No.19: substantially square cigarettes)
What are the benefits of a square (or substantially square) roll of toilet paper?
1. For Shigeru Ban, (an architect known for his innovative use of spiral wound paper tubes as a building material), the square core tube was proposed as a bathroom conservation strategy. Like toilet tanks that consume less water per flush, his 2000 “Toilet Paper” is engineered to constrain consumption of paper…
Architect Ban is known around the world for designing buildings using paper tubes. He has a genuine reason for this approach. Paper tubes can be produced at a low cost and can be recycled when they are no longer needed. Toilet paper attracted his interest. Ban’s re-designed toilet paper has a square tube. The conventional round roll smoothly supplies more paper, “swoosh, swoosh”. The square roll resists, functioning to reduce resource consumption. What’s more, when packaged, the square rolls fit together nicely, saving space in transportation and storage.
Kenya Hara, from the 2000 “RE DESIGN” exhibition
With square cigarettes, there was one patent which used the phase “substantially square.” In this case, what’s striking is not so much that the roll thas been made square, but that the roll has square paper tube core. (Reminds me of those ancient Chinese coins with the square holes.)
The “re-designed” toilet paper, however, isn’t even “substantially” square. More like: somewhat square. It’s this 2nd reason, (highlighted in yellow above) —that square rolls of toilet paper fit together “nicely”— that figures into our next example.
2. The primary benefit cited by by Fernfors Ingemar and Schinkoreit Wolfram in their 2005 “Core-wound paper product and method of making it” patent is close packing.
Rather than preventing excess paper from being dispensed, the idea here is for the manufacturer to save money on packaging and shipping, by compressing the product to take up less space. (Again, the product is described as “substantially” square.)
“The invention relates to a method of packaging a paper product comprising at least one compression loaded, core-wound roll of paper and a compression constraining means for constraining such roll, said compressive loading being applied to said roll to effect a deformation of said core of each roll into a substantially square cross-section, and said constraining means comprises means for constraining each such deformed core and wound paper roll. The invention further relates to a method of packaging an array of such rolls, as well as an article packaged in accordance with the invention.”
This patent was assigned to Swedish consumer goods company, Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (SCA). Did they ever manufacture such a product? I don’t know. Do you?
(Meanwhile: we have one more square roll of toilet paper, after the fold…) (more…)
August 6, 2014
Left: from 1964 issue of Broadcast Magazine; right: Oily Bird packaging via: Ryan Feerer
Oily Bird: A Brooklynese play on words (i.e.: “early bird”) and an early 1960s “household lubricant” brand launched in 1963 by the Ronson Consumer Products Corporation.
Their packaging combined illustration with a stock oil can container to create a remarkably seamless simulated bird.
Not certain whose idea this was or who created the original trademarked bird illustration, but the news squib (on the top left) from a 1964 issue of Broadcast Magazine mentions “The Zlowe Company” in connection with a television campaign for the product.
Further research reveals that an animated television commercial for “Ronson Oily Bird” (Made by Stars and Stripes Forever Productions and entitled Squeak) won “Best Animation Design” in the 1965 “American TV Commercials Festival.”
Once I’d learned of its existence, I really wanted to find this commercial and include it here.
You might think you can find anything online, but some things are so obscure —(discontinued products, for instance)— that no one has felt the need to make it available.
No one had ever bothered to put up a streaming video of the animated “Oily Bird” commercial. (Until now.) The chances are good, I think, that the commercial below is the award winning “Squeak.” Judging by the style of the characters, the animator must certainly have been Stars and Stripes founder, Leonard Glasser. If so, I’m guessing that this is the first time it’s ever been posted online. (You’re welcome!)
August 5, 2014
“For the cover of the November issue we and our cooperation partners have pulled out all the stops to produce something very special. In 48,000 passes and with 140 extremely detailed die cuts per magazine, we created six differently coloured versions of the cover, without exposing the plates again each time. The result is a metamorphosis of paper, inspired by the one and only Richard Buckminster Fuller.”