June 8, 2012
Everyone loves “before and after” pictures, but they’ve always been a little suspect. A plastic surgeon’s “before” picture is an unflattering snapshot under fluorescent lights and his “after” picture is a carefully lit portrait.
It’s the same story with package design blogs. The seamless white backgrounds and glossy Photoshop reflections, can give even the most mediocre of package designs a glamorous patina.
Not that this effort to gin up enthusiasm counts for too much on the store shelf with competing products. Eventually the redesigned package must sink or swim on its merits in the real world.
More of challenge, I think, is for a package to look good later on, because whatever happens next in the post-consumer afterlife of these objects—being crushed or recycled or thrown away—circumstances will invariably change a package’s design.
Before: The 1995 Coca-Cola Coke / קוקה קולה “Bottle-on-Can” container, manufactured by the “Caniel Israel Can Company” and filled at the Central Bottling Company Ltd., in Bnei-Brak, as it was originally meant to be seen by consumers. (on the left)
After: Another of the same 1995 “Bottle-on-Can” containers (photographed in 2011 by Greg Wayn) was discovered (some 16 years later?) floating in the Dead Sea. (on the right)
Clearly the design has changed. Colors are more muted. Some distressed effects have been added to the background. Mineral deposits have given the container an overall “reliced” appearance, but not in a fake way. Here at last is the “authentic” vintage look that we’ve all been looking for. Otherwise known as “a package design refresh.”
Interestingly, the Dead Sea may be undergoing a design refresh of its own, in the form of a water replenishment project that aims to channel water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea.
(See also: Soda Blasting)