Box Vox

packaging as content

July 3, 2014

3 More Packages that Talk with their Mouths Full


3 more packages with a design feature we’ve noted a number of times in the past: mouth-shaped die-cut windows, through which the product inside is revealed.

A subset of anthropomorphic packaging, boxes like this, not only embody a character, they employ characters with open mouths which reveal the product inside—either as metaphorical teeth or else food.

(More about each of these packages, after the fold…) (more…)

July 2, 2014

3 Chalkboard Wine Labels


Another set of wine bottle with labels that you can write on, this time with chalk. (See also: Handwriting on the Wine)

(More about each one, after the fold…) (more…)

July 1, 2014

Boy asleep in cardboard box

homeless boy sleeping in a box in Seattle’s Hooverville, 1933 (Photo: University of Washington Digital Collection)

(Via: Hal✮Mart)

1. Out of context, this photo might be a happy moment from someone’s suburban childhood. The boy’s sleeping smile, however, belies the reality of his situation: homeless during the depression in Seattle’s “Hooverville.”

(2 more boys sleeping in cardboard boxes, after the fold…) (more…)

June 26, 2014

Nosferatu Supermarket’s “store brand” packaging


tumblr_n7diuxrpsm1snmmclo1_500Found this animated gif (via the MKTG tumblr site) of a television commercial with two aproned women showing large and small sizes of aerosol cans with a psychedelic “LSD” logo…

At first I thought it might be some misguided 60s hair spray brand, targeted to hippies. Which, if you think about it, makes no sense at all, since hairstyles requiring hairspray are sort of culturally antithetical to the hippie thing.

Then I noticed that the logos on the two cans were not identical. Clearly these were hand-painted props, despite the cinematic production values of the clip.


Where does it come from?

The 1971 Italian horror film Hanno cambiato faccia (They Have Changed Their Face), directed by Corrado Farina.

The film subscribes to a businessman-as-vampire trope, (familiar to fans of Arcade Fire… “Businessmen drink my blood / Like the kids in art school said they would”) except that, here, it’s more than mere metaphor…

tumblr_mbhru7MAhO1qao903o3_500Corrado Farina directs and Adolfo Celi is Nosferatu, the bloodsucking capitalist.

Politically radical in tone, the film runs with the concept of personal liberation and freedom and builds this within the context of a political, social and economic conspiracy as industrialists, politicians, media and church conspire and quote Fellini, Freud, Jean-Luc Godard, de Sade and Marx while preparing a marketing campaign for LSD sprays in family sized bottles that are ready to ship to the shops while re-branding ecologically unsound detergent as Clean Water.

The Italian Film Review

Hoping to see more of the fictional LSD spray can packaging (and perhaps the re-branded “Clean Water”detergent, as well) I purchased a DVD of the film online. A trailer for the film, appears below…

I was somewhat disappointed that no scenes took place in Nosferatu Supermarkets… (although Francesca Modigliani makes a fetching entrance as the free-spirited, Laura.)

The only images of the LSD spray packaging appear in one of the three black & white TV commercials that we see Nosferatu and his board of directors screening.

The first spot is a Godard-style polemic, that Nosferatu cuts short. “No good.” The second spot is Fellini-style with an old clown playing tuba. This one also disappoints Nosferatu. The third spot (with the Marquis de Sade exclaiming “L.S.D. Finally in stores?”) is the one that gets the green light.

The 60s-style LSD spray cans art part of the Marquis de Sade spot — appearing in a sort of ad-within-an-ad…

(Some video clips follow, after the fold…) (more…)

June 25, 2014

6 Droplet Shaped Bottles


While plenty of bottles are generally teardrop shaped, there are some bottles specifically designed to resemble a droplet of liquid. Here are six of them in no particular order….

(Details about each, after the fold…) (more…)

June 23, 2014

Vance Jonson’s Steelcase Paint Cans

Vance Jonson: paint can labels, black on silver,with color-keyed disc labels for the lids

For while now, I’d been on the lookout for a color photo of these Steelcase paint cans by Vance Jonson (and also credited to Lancey Saunders.) Finally found one in a 1977 issue of Communication Arts magazine.

This corporate paint line is limited to Steelcase products only and is not for retail consumption. The primary communication requirement, therefore, was for easy color identification. This was achieved by affixing large color swatches to the lids (the variable factor) while subduing the label itself (the constant factor).

Cover ’75 / Catch the Eye


“… the Steelcase paint cans win my best of show award, as they are a sheer delight.”

Willaim Field

See also: Vance Jonson’s Hap Pet Foods and Dici Bra Packaging

(Jonson also designed the Steelcase logotype, shown after the fold…) (more…)

June 20, 2014

MiniMed® Consumables Packaging Gets Consistent

New look for MiniMed® consumables packaging

As a designer of packaging, who happens to also be diabetic, I sometimes encounter packages that most people would never see. It was through my diabetic channels, that I learned about the recent redesign of the MiniMed products pictured above. (MiniMed® Reservoir, MiniMed® Sure-T®, MiniMed® Mio®, MiniMed® Silhouette®, and MiniMed® Quick-set®)

Specific to diabetics on insulin pump therapy, these are not what’s generally meant by “fast moving consumer goods.” And yet, as consumable supplies —(as opposed to durable medical goods like insulin pumps)— these products are pretty “fast moving.” Diabetic consumers are encouraged to replace their infusion sets every 48–72 hours, after all, “to help prevent infection.”

A flyer enclosed with a recent order of insulin pump supplies announced:

New look for infusion set and reservoir boxes is coming soon.

Your favorite infusion sets and reservoir boxes are getting a new look.
There are no changes to the products or the packaging materials.

In other words: only the branding has changed.

In another version of the same announcement, but addressed to “Health Care Provider” this branding change is described as “a clean, modern and uniform look for our infusion sets and reservoirs boxes.”

Design of the new consumables packaging was reportedly handled by Oglivy. (Not sure which of their offices, but I’d guess it would be a project suited for the division they call Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide.)

MiniMedSpotVarnishThe look of the consumables is now consistent and coordinated to match the recent Apple-style packaging of MiniMed’s 530G insulin pump (on left).

All of the boxes feature clean, silhouetted product photos against a white background with an asymmetrical graphic “burst” to symbolize MiniMed’s wireless CGM (continuous glucose monitoring) system.

Where the extra cost of the subtle spot varnish “wireless burst” graphic might have seemed warranted for a “durable” product, the consumables packaging must make do with a light gray tint for their wireless bursts.

See also: Paradigm Pump Packaging and Taking Insulin to the Streets

June 19, 2014

Tony Cragg: Bottles on a Shelf


More post-consumer bottles displayed as sculpture: Tony Cragg’s arrangements of found plastic bottles, in groups of five.

The motif of the vessel recurs throughout Cragg’s work, from the modest Five Bottles on a Shelf in 1980… to the giant steel bottles of Bestückung in 1987-8…  In 1989, David Batchelor commented on this recurring motif: “it carries with it both a sense of historicity and of modernity. It is culturally weighty: archaeology, tradition and bearer of basic sustenance; and in its contemporaneity it is all contingency and transience: mass production and its necessary counterpart, mass disposal. It is classical Greece and it is Pop Art.”

Tate Museum

A pleasing variety of colors and shapes. The 5 colors seem to always be blue, green, yellow, orange and red, although the order of their arrangement varies. (See also: On the Shelf)

5 Bottles on a shelf, 1982

5 Bottles on a shelf, 1982

(5 more bottles, not on a shelf, after the fold…) (more…)

June 18, 2014

3 concave folding cartons


Take a box, give it a squeeze, pinch or indention at the midpoint, and what do you get? A polyhedral structure that implies transformation — either a dividing into two parts or an intersection of two shapes. And, yes, these might also be described as bow tie shaped boxes.

See also: Bowtie-shaped Can as TrademarkCereal Boxes with Waistlines  and  Pseudo-Cylindrical Concave Polyhedral Packaging

(More about all three, after the fold…) (more…)

June 13, 2014

Unlucky Mason Jars

Nice fruit jar photo from Sadie SeasonGoods

(On account of today being Friday the 13th and all…)

The ‘Urban Legend’ is that moonshiners used mason jars for their product, and, being superstitious, would break the ‘unlucky’ ones with 13 on the base.  This made the jars rare.

In truth, moonshiners did in fact use mason jars as the preferred container for their product. They were a known capacity, were readily available and buying them did not raise suspicion…

My opinion is that while moonshiners may have been superstitious, I can’t imagine that the housewife would break jars just because they had 13 on the base, and housewives used more jars than moonshiners.  I think that the urban legend was created by antique dealers who wanted to make more money off an otherwise common jar.

See also: Rusty can of Mac’s No. 13 “Unlucky for Rust”  and  Mason Jar Mousetraps