December 6, 2013
While researching Rotex label makers for the previous post, it was inevitable that I would learn about these odd, anthropomorphic versions of the product: Avery’s “Fun & Fancy” Rotex label makers.
Marketed more as a toy, than as a labeling tool, the labeling tape emerges tongue-like from the mouths of a variety of characters.
I despaired at ever being able to figure out how many varieties of figural “label maker” Avery might have made, but then I found this Prince Spaghetti Sauce promotional ad below (in a 1975 issue of the New Hampshire newspaper, The Telegraph) which suggested that maybe the number was only three. (See also: General Mills and the Snack Product Trio)
A catalog photo from JasonLiebigStuff’s Flickr Photostream seemed to confirm this…
What sort of packaging was designed to market these hybrid office-supply/toys?
(The packaging, after the fold…) (more…)
December 5, 2013
Vintage Rotex Compact Dial Labeler & Original Box for sale on eBay for $19.99 (+$5.80 Shipping)
If I’m not mistaken, this is the “colorful carton” designed in 1964 by Porter & Goodman for Avery Adhesive Products.
“Packaging and merchandising problems are solved by the construction and graphic design of a colorful carton for Avery Adhesive Products’ new Rotex Label Maker. Instructions for the hand tool appear on two panels of the clay-coated tuck-style carton. Five-color illustrations exemplify end uses of tapes that can be printed by the tool. A slope-sided tray protects the unit in transit, then is inverted to become a counter-display piece. One carton face graphically shows how to set up this display and insert the tool’s handle into a die-cut opening.”
Modern Packaging, 1964
The collage of word labels (in red, orange, blue, green and black labeling tape) is striking. Nice when a product can be used as the medium to create the packaging’s design. (See also: Studio Kluif’s art supply packaging)
Can’t find too much online about the Porter/Goodman design partnership. David Goodman mentions the firm on his current website:
“The firm of Porter & Goodman produced innovative design and. enjoyed much success in package design and marketing. Their. award-winning solutions were extraordinary for the time, and still look good today.”
I’m not sure, but I was thinking that “Porter” might be Tom Porter who coauthored a number of design books with Sue Goodman. I’ve also read that the firm later added Frank Cheatham as a third partner becoming “Porter, Goodman and Cheatham.”
Vintage Rotex label maker, by Avery, model 6-E, in original box on Etsy for $15 (+ $8 shipping)
(More photos of the Rotex Compact Label Maker folding carton, after the fold…) (more…)
December 4, 2013
Polyhedral packaging for a geometric towel.
The Vertty beach towel is named after “vertices” — those corner points of polygons and polyhedrons.
Its triangular box package was designed by co-founder Frederico Cardoso, who covered the surface of the right-triangle prism-shaped carton with a mosaic pattern of colored triangles.
The equilaterally triangular “Lushus” jelly crystals boxes from the 1930s (that we were looking at last week) did something similar. The motive for covering an unusually shaped box with a pattern of related geometric shapes is understandable from a branding standpoint. Vertty is all about the triangles, after all. (One of their taglines is “try a different tryangle”)
But the effect of these patterns is also akin to what package designer, Milner Gray used to call “dazzle painting”…
“…the shape and dimension of a pack may be confused by breaking up the surface with an irregular pattern. War-time camouflage has made use of such techniques, at one time called ‘dazzle-painting’… unless there is a good reason to do so, do not “dazzle-paint” your pack…”
Milner Gray, Package Design, 1955
Photographed in the bright sunlight of the beach, however, the structure of the pack still seems unmistakably triangular.
The packaging plays a key role in their promotional “Shape Shifter” video with various characters making off with the box and heading for the beach.
Below is a silent video showing how the towel is folded and packed.
(More photos, after the fold…) (more…)
December 2, 2013
Two antidepressant drug brands that metaphorically compare depression to a ball and chain:
1. The first brand was Geigy’s “Pertofran” whose 1962 packaging was designed by Max Schmid.
Schmid rarely misses an opportunity to play in message or in form. On the package of ‘Petrofran: rapid resolution of depressive states’, a ball and chain runs around all four sides of the package — when the perforated strip in the middle of the box is torn open, the links in the chain are broken, symbolising liberation.
2. The second brand is Abilify whose recent animated ad (directed by Neil Boyle and animated by Mike Shorten, Geoff McDowall and Sam Taylor) used a number of metaphors for depression, including a black balloon that turns into a ball and chain.
(The Abilify animation and more photos of Pertofran packaging, after the fold…) (more…)
November 29, 2013
“For her cereal box pieces, Rugg subtly transformed familiar packages of Frosted Flakes, Corn Flakes and Cap’n Crunch. She scalpeled and glued each three-dimensional form into a convincing two-dimensional version of itself, an image reading as object. Upstart progeny of Warhol’s Brillo Boxes, the cereal boxes cleverly fulfill the broader mandate of Pop — not just to reimagine the everyday icons of popular culture but to puncture the veneer that sheathes the ordinary and renders it plain when it is really quite remarkable.”
Leah Ollman, LA Times, March 5, 2010
Kim Rugg, 2009 (via: Mark Moore Gallery)
(3 More cereal box pieces by Kim Rugg, after the fold…) (more…)
November 27, 2013
Great to see some updated (polyhedral) “variety packs” for cereal.
The downside is that, once separated from the 6-pack, the tetrahedron-shaped individual pack cannot rest upright on a table and must be hand-held like an ice-cream cone (or a “torpedo bottle”). Still the portions look small enough to eat quickly, and who cares if you can’t text while eating breakfast?
And I love her somewhat desolate description of one envisioned consumer scenario:
“James, 24 years old, lives alone. His worst chore is washing dishes. He wakes up in the morning, snaps off one of the cup cereals, peels off the lid, pours milk into the cup. On the go he takes care of his breakfast in a clean and easy manner.”
(Another of Chung’s proposed polyhedral variety packs, after the fold…) (more…)
November 26, 2013
3 different brands: Foster Clark’s “Sumshus” brand’s Jelly Crystals packaging, the original “Shirriff’s” Lushus package and “Stevens” Lushus packaging (via: LongWhiteKid)
I first noticed the 1930s triangular packaging for “Lushus” jelly crystals on artist & grocery archaeologist, Darian Zam’s LongWhiteKid site.
Although the same basic packaging has been sold under a number of different brand names (Shirriff, Stevens, Samshus) it was the Shirriff family that first developed the product and its triangular packaging:
During the same period that W.K. Kellogg was experimenting with cereals… F.A. Shirriff was actively developing the flavouring essences, jelly powders and marmalades that brought the Shirriff name into prominence.
Mr. Shirriff founded the Imperial Extract Company in 1883. During the 1920’s, the company developed the method of sealing flavour into a soluble capsule called a “bud”. It was a landmark discovery in food production. The new concept in flavouring dessert products was first applied to jelly powders that were put on the market under the “Lushus” brand.
The Blue Book of Canadian Business, 1981
On left: 1960s graphics on N. W. Stevens version of “Lushus” (from KiwiGames Flickr Photostream); on right: Foster Clark’s “Sumshus” brand’s Pineapple Jelly Crystals packaging (from Newcastle Cultural Collection)
An early triangular prism pack, I was delighted to discover that Shirriff also patented a hexagonal six-pack of close-packed individual cartons.
PACKED TO SELL THE PACKING SELLS THEM
The packing of Lushus is unique as the jelly. These gaily coloured triangular boxes—arranged on the clever stand— make an irresistible appeal whether in windows— on counters or on shelves.
Dairy Engineering, 1933
SHIRRIFF’S, LTD., Toronto, …has another unusual package. It comprises six triangular boxes nested together in a hexagonal cardboard base. Each box contains a different kind of dessert mixture. This package has proven quite successful, they say.
Food Engineering, 1935
In addition to the triangular Jelly Crystal box, there was also another polyhedral pack developed for Shirriff’s “Fancy Free” dessert…
(More patented polyhedral packaging, after the fold…) (more…)
November 25, 2013
A recent design for an olive oil bottle “that can stand upright and also inclined on its side” by Pereira & O’Dell (lower right) is clearly the same exact idea as Walter Landor’s 1955 water bottle for Arrowhead & Puritas.
The “tilt bottle” Landor developed, which had two flat surfaces, did not have to be lifted to refill an empty glass, nor did it require a handle to be passed from person to person. The bottle’s classical curves resembled the shape of early nineteenth-century glass flasks, and its rocking motion made the container easy to use. The design’s main advantage, Walter stressed, was that “the user-by tilting the bottle-[could] pour without lifting.” Walter’s team of designers had created an elegant and practical decanter for storing and serving bottled water.
Landor’s involvement with the design of the tilt bottle is well-documented. Looking at the bottle’s 1955 design patent, however, one might reasonably conclude that it was was designed, not by Landor or his associates, but by Robert S. Suttle, Vice President & Sales Manager of Arrowhead Puritas Water, Inc.
I wonder, is it a standard practice that an officer of the company (rather than the package designer) be named as the inventor if a patentable package is designed as a “work for hire?”
Is this the cost of doing business? That creatives must cede any claims of authorship?
Perhaps we “creatives” overvalue the idea. An idea alone is not really worth so much, if you’re not in a position to profit from it. While it’s nice to think that fair credit is given to those who originally come up with a creative idea, in business the original idea is often secondary to its execution.
For the designer who is not also a gifted entrepreneur, maybe letting others take credit for the idea is simply the price of admission. Sort of like how songwriters had to share their songwriting credits (and royalties) with Elvis Presley in order to have him record their songs. (See: Heartbreak Hotel)
November 22, 2013
Last summer, the 40 year old franchise, Smoothie King unveiled their new brand logo, designed by WD Partners. The new logo features a symbol that simultaneously resembles both a crown and a splash of smoothie.
This fall, design firm, STUDIOIN unveiled their new brand logo for Russia’s Be True smoothie brand. This logo also features a symbol that simultaneously resembles both a crown and a splash of smoothie.
While these are not the only crown logos one can find that resemble liquid splashes, these are the only two that I know of that were designed specifically for smoothie brands.
(More about it, after the fold…) (more…)
November 21, 2013
The designer wasn’t credited, but after poking around for a while online I was able to figure out that its designer must have been Vance Jonson—whose “Dici” bra packaging design we featured a couple of weeks back.
What attracted me to the label was the stylized, geometric shape of the cat’s head, with ears and neck, each coming to a point.
Looking into the “Hap” pet foods brand, I was surprised to learn that this shape actually started out as a heraldic device that the brand used in all of its packaging.
What I thought was a particularly apt and artful cat head shape, was actually an abstract logo.
I had also assumed that the “Hap” brand name was short for “Happy” (and that “Hap Cat” was meant to remind 1960s consumers of hepcat), but HAP actually stands for “hearty appetite for pets.”
And while we have some evidence that the Hap Pet Food Company made cat food and dog food, birdseed appears to have been their flagship product.
“The friendly mutt on the label of this can of dog food suggests a friendly product. The shield form framing the dog’s face is used on products of this company.”
–Robert C. Niece, Art in Commerce and Industry, 1968
(Package design for Hap birdseed, after the fold…) (more…)