February 26, 2010
If the “long egg” from our previous post, was a deliberate deformation of eggs that consumers, for the most part, were never meant to be aware of—(the whole point, being to create optimal and natural looking egg slices)—there was also an invention, introduced in the 1970s that invited consumers to participate in deforming the egg’s natural shape. The preferred embodiment of this concept? Cube-shaped egg makers.
Eggs on Edge. A good egg, concluded a former knitwear manufacturer in Miami, is a square egg. At least when it is hard-boiled and prone in its natural shape to roll across a plate. Thus Stan Pargman set up the Square Egg Co. to make a clear acrylic contraption that encases a cooked, peeled egg and, after ten minutes in a refrigerator, releases it reshaped. Is the world ready for it? Apparently Los Angeles is. When 1,000 of the gadgets went on sale in May Co. department stores there last month, they were snapped up in one day. A reorder of 5,000 went almost as quickly. The buyers did not seem to care that they could immobilize wandering egg-shaped eggs simply by cutting them in half —and still get a square meal.
Odds & Ends, Time Magazine
Monday, Nov. 29, 1976
More of a novelty item, than a serious effort to solve “the problem” of hard boiled eggs rolling around on plates. And although The Square Egg Company’s owner cites this as his reason for making the product, one must bear in mind that he also has stated elsewhere, that square eggs went well with contemporary furniture.
Nowhere, however, in any of the 1970s articles about “The Square Egg Maker” is it mentioned that it was Masashi Nakagawa—(not Stan Pargman)—who invented this device. (Nakagawa’s patent drawings, appear on the right)
In his patent, Nakagawa explains that the problem he sought to solve with his “Apparatus for Deforming Boiled Egg” was the problem of creating ornamental boiled eggs. “It is very troublesome and time-consuming to change the original natural shape by cutting it with a knife…” he writes, stating that his invention’s true raison d’être was “…to provide an apparatus and a method for changing a whole boiled egg into an aesthetic cubic shape.”
“The Square Egg Maker” in black & white box from: Ms. Bunch O’Junk’s Etsy shop
(Nakagawa’s patent and more egg-deformer cartons, after the fold…)
February 25, 2010
Not many photos of “long egg” packaging to be found online. Probably because it’s more of a “food service” item than a consumer product. (At least, here, in the U.S.)
Long eggs seem to fall into that category of foodstuffs that are strenuously re-engineered in order to solve fairly trivial problems. Watermelons that roll around and won’t stack efficiently… Hard-boiled eggs that yield inconsistent amounts of yolk when sliced.
Thinking that “the egg” is a symbol of perfect packaging, is maybe just a failure of imagination. Like the fried-egg bottle, the “long egg” makes us a little less certain about what “egg-shaped” even means.
One graphic design note about the 10-pack cartons (in the top photo with the long egg slicer): I like the way they’ve organized the product illustrations on the box to be almost a diagram of the contents, arranged inside. Also, I like the cubist perspective of the round cross sections showing in the side views.
(A long-egg-related patent, and a long egg worker, after the fold…)
February 24, 2010
Having this week become a clearing house for egg-shaped packaging, I should also mention this surprising example: the Spiegelei Eierlikör fried egg bottle.
Behn’s Spiegelei Eierlikör seems to be a bottled “hard” egg-nog. (Also known as “hard nog” or “egg liquor.”)
Goofy though this novelty package may be, in one respect it’s quite understated. Where is the branding? Where is the product name and the logo? It turns out, the bottle’s lack of typography is actually a feature and selling point. Spiegelei Eierlikör’s tag-line? “The eggnog without the words.”
Far-fetched as it may sound, Behn’s appears to be taking the tasteful, no-logo, decorator package approach. As if to say: our customers don’t require crass advertising. If you are a member of Spiegelei Eierlikör’s exclusive clientele, you see the iconic fried-egg bottle and you just know.
(More fried egg bottle photos, after the fold…)
February 23, 2010
Photo from SmALl CloUd …'s Flickr Photostream
Kinder Joy brings several favorite box vox themes together in one package.
1. First off, it’s another egg-pack, fitting nicely into our entirely egg-shaped week—(that, technically, should have begun with the Silly Putty/L’eggs post from last week)—and although Kinder Joy may be sold at Easter, the company, by no means, confines their marketing efforts to that time of year.
2. It’s another thermoformed, single-serve, peel-off pack in a metaphorical shape. Similar to the bottle & jar-shaped packets and the half-orange-shaped packs from earlier this month. In fact, Kinder Joy’s dual structure—one half for the edible treat; one half for the prize—is exactly like that of Alberto Ghirardello’s Salvo concept (where two halves of an orange break apart to form two separate containers).
3. Kinder Joy (like Kinder Surprise) is a “surprise package” and includes the classic, question-mark styling, typical of that tradition.
Photo on right (revealing prize) is from P.J.S.'s Flickr Photostream
(Case-packs & TV commercials , after the fold…)
February 22, 2010
Following up on the earlier egg-shaped packaging thread—(Silly Putty & L’eggs)—“six,” a new line of cosmetics, comes in a half dozen varieties, each in an egg-shaped jar. (via: the dieline) Design credited to: BloomRoom and Alessio Krauss.
Why six product varieties? Well… to address all six of the vital beauty needs, of course. (Quench, Nourish, Breathe, Laugh, Dream and Love) About the egg-shaped jar they say, “The egg symbolizes the cell, rebirth and perfection.”
The egg may be a symbol of perfection, but, like Silly Putty & L’eggs, “six” saw fit to also package each of their eggs in a box.
(Their half dozen eggs & boxes, after the fold…)
February 21, 2010
The objective was to create a buzz around this high-end fashion boutique (CARROTS) and specifically around their men’s line, driving new male customers into the store. We created a limited edition, designer beer made from carrots. We brewed the beer, handcrafted the bottle wraps, and applied the labels. The 22(oz.) burlap-wrapped bottles were hand-delivered as gifts to specifically targeted men and the 12(oz.) beers were served at CARROTS-sponsored events and in-store to enhance men’s shopping experiences. Among the hundreds that received the bottle as a gift and the ones that tried it in the store, many people actually placed orders for beer to take home, turning a unique promotional item into a sexy and successful new product. Not to mention creating a buzz around the store.
The label and package design caters to the (presumably male) cartoon sensibility, wherein deceased creatures have X’s for eyes. Hence: a dead rabbit icon whose X-shaped eyes are also echoed in the orange stitching of the burlap “bottle wrap”. The burlap is another macabre touch, wrapping the bottle in a sort of burial shroud. The effect is dark and portentous—albeit in a cute, Tim Burton-ish sort of way.
This is a beer made from carrots, (for a store named “Carrots”) so that explains the rabbit. But why dead? “Dead rabbit” could be taken as a reference to girls getting pregnant—(as in “the rabbit died”)—but that seems unlikely to be the message here…
Is the idea just that Carrots Beer packs such a punch that our rabbit is merely knocked out and not dead at all? That might be closer to it… Plus, multiple Xs have implications with regard to alcoholic beverage quality and —(in the public’s cartoon imagination, at least)— with regard to alcohol potency. Think: XXX.
Beach Packaging Design
February 20, 2010
In a recent post about LTL Prints’ Supergraphic Wacky Packs, I fretted about whether the juvenile satire of Wacky Packs made certain consumer products look bad. (And whether a Wacky Pack decorating motif for our office would be off-putting to clients.)
For some people, however, the more culturally significant question is whether Wacky Packages, themselves, are a good or a bad thing.
PRO: In an episode of Unwrapped (above), Wacky Packages are given a very favorable spin—(despite the vaguely Hoarders-like compulsion to collect that the Wacky Pack collector profiled in the piece exhibits).
CON: Michael Chabon, on the other hand condemns Wacky Packages as a commercial co-opting of kids’ gross-out humor.
“'I Remember how it felt, at the time, to open those first packs of Wacky Packages stickers: delicious, incredible, pleasurable in the way that only something truly wrong can be.”
Details Magazine, December 2005
(via The Boston Globe)
This article also appears in Chabon’s 2009 book, Manhood for Amateurs as the chapter entitled, “The Splendors of Crap.”
Beach Packaging Design
February 19, 2010
Brilliant detail: their use of brackets (and one half of a parenthesis) to distinguish between lemon, lime and orange shapes. (Designed by Blue Marlin.)
(All three in a row, after the fold…)
February 18, 2010
February 17, 2010
(Two famous egg-shaped, plastic packages.)
Silly Putty: invented around 1943—(either by Dow Corning’s engineers or by inventors working for General Electric)—but ultimately marketed and sold as “Silly Putty” in the early 1950s by Peter Hodgson. Originally called “Nutty Putty” and “Bouncing Putty,” Hodgson changed the name to “Silly Putty.”
As Easter was fast approaching, Hodgson decided to package 1-ounce chunks of putty into plastic eggs and he sold them for $1.
In February of 1950, Hodgson introduced Silly Putty at the International Toy Fair In New York. The other toy marketers saw little use for Hodgson’s Silly Putty and encouraged him to abandon his plans to promote it. Without any regard to their discouraging comments, Hodgson brought the Silly Putty production to a converted barn in North Branford, CT. He continued to package the Silly Putty in plastic eggs and these were shipped to toy stores in pasteboard egg crates that he acquired from the Connecticut Cooperative Poultry Association. Although this was an innovative idea, it didn’t catch on as Hodgson had hoped, until he got some help from an unexpected ally. That August the writer for the Talk of the Town section of “The New Yorker” magazine wrote an article about Silly Putty after he had discovered it in a bookstore. Hodgson shortly thereafter received orders for over a quarter million eggs of Silly Putty within just three days time.
The L’eggs naming, package and logo were created by designer Roger Ferriter, working in the design studio of Herb Lubalin Associates in New York City in 1969. On the morning of the scheduled presentation to the Hanes Corporation of the marketing and packaging ideas for the new low cost pantyhose launch, Ferriter was not satisfied that the work was sufficiently creative. In an effort to revisit the name and packaging one last time, he attempted to “experience” the product in some new way, hoping that the exercise would suggest a new creative direction for the branding. Among his efforts, he attempted to compress a pair of pantyhose in his fist, wondering how compact the product could become. Staring at his clenched fist with the pantyhose inside he was struck with the possibility that the package could be an egg. Just as quickly, he realized that egg rhymes with leg, and then adding the popular mid century marketing boost of giving a product name some French sounding twist, he incorporated the l’ (French for “the” when followed by a vowel such as the “e” of eggs) and arrived at L’eggs. Some sketches were prepared in time for the presentation, including a logo that incorporated two egg-influenced letter “g”s and thus was born one of the most successful product launches in history.
(In 1991 L’eggs switched from their plastic, egg-shaped container to a (vaguely) egg-shaped paperboard carton.)
Even though “the egg” is one of those oft-cited examples of nature’s perfect packaging, the egg-shaped plastic containers of both companies always required additional packaging and were sometimes even put into boxes.
(Boxes and more L’eggs, after the fold…)
February 16, 2010
Have hardly touched the guitar since my much-ballyhooed landfill gig last September. The WXPR radio appearance —(video above, from Rich Russo’s Anything, Anything)— was part of the big promotional juggernaut.
Of course, “juggernauts” are supposed to be unstoppable, and stopping was the very first thing I did after the landfill gig was over. Just could not multi-task to the degree necessary to maintain any momentum. (Musically speaking: a rest.)
There was, however, some very nice feedback that I meant to eventually follow up on. Maybe the time is now.
- I was so honored to have Marijke Rijsberman of Interfacility attend. On her blog, The Landfill Diaries, she posted her review of my musical efforts—as well as some funny commentary about a few of the products that we’ve designed packaging for. (i.e.: “… spangles for underage females.”)
- Artists, Tattfoo & Enze Tan also attended and wrote about it: here.
- Covering the Staten Island landfill beat, was Staten Island Advance reporter, Jamie Lee whose story was entitled, A concert stage rises atop the landfill.
- Photographer, Andrew Gardner came and took some great photos which he posted to his Flickr site.
- And the the Freshkills Park folks who did so much work to make such an event even possible, also posted a “recap” about my performance—(on their capped garbage mound)—here.
Because there was limited seating on the bus, only a finite number of people could attend that day, but everyone who did went home with a free and uniquely packaged copy of “Songs About Packaging.”
There are still some of those left. My mom bought one. Why not you?
(Song lyrics, after the fold…)
February 15, 2010
In a sense, all barcodes* are “packaging barcodes.” It would be tough to find a consumer package that did not have a UPC. The four examples above, however, are also “packaging barcodes” in the sense that each one illustrates the type of the package that it would likely appear on. (Which raises the specter of a Droste effect vanity barcode!)
Beach Packaging Design
*Footnoted digression: “UPC” or “Barcode” ? I tend to call these UPCs, but I’m glad, in a way, that they went with “barcodes.” Why? Because with “UPC” (as with “IRA”) we tend to forget what it is that the initials stand for. As a result, people will say redundant stuff like ”UPC code” (Universal Price Code code)—or “IRA account” (Individual Retirement Account account). Not that Yael & Reuben would ever do that, but—you know—people who blog about it might.