I normally have a pretty good sense of humor about what we as package designers do for a living. But I was not amused by a piece in the Sunday the NY Times, presented as a follow up to their article last week on the FDA cigarette package design recommendations.
But the notion of asking artists to speculate on how to communicate important health messages on packaging stuck me as a rather flippant approach to a serious health issue. This is not after all merely an academic or aesthetic exercise that questions the intersection of art and commerce, like Andy Warhol poking fun at Campbell’s Soup or Brillo packages, this is serious stuff.
Unfortunately the smug silliness of the series of package designs, created by three illustrators, trivializes the FDA process and does a disservice to an informed conversation about how to present meaningful health and nutrition information to shoppers. This is a process that those of us in package design deal with every day, and take our responsibilities, and the law, very seriously. And this is a responsibility that is shared by virtually all of our food, beverage and OTC drug clients.
Every client that we deal with today carefully considers how to present information in a thoughtful, and informative way. And I can tell you that most of our clients are in favor of more transparency not less.
I appreciate the role of art in our lives, but in this instance it was not an artful response.