Inside the Box Thinking

Developing guidelines for information presentation on packaging is a good start, but it just seems so 20th century.

And you know retail packaging has some interest and influence when Dartmouth medical professors begin to design . . . well not design really, but strongly encourage the way certain kinds of information is presented to consumers on drug packaging.

This is contained an interesting piece in the NY Times today that also follows up on the recent changes to the FDA guidelines for all sunscreen products.

One of our predictions for 2011 was that the front of the box would become a lot more like the back of the box. The basic idea is that consumers are beginning to expect, and Uncle Sam is beginning to require, that more and more product information appear on the front panel.

I only wonder whether printing information on retail packaging is like fighting the next battle with the weapons of the last war. Transparency on packaging, as in life is a good thing, but we are quickly entering a connected world where consumers will be linked, via QR codes and other media, to 24/7 product information via their mobile device.

I would urge that we begin to think about the way information is provided to consumers in all media . . . not just the package. In the not too distant future, most product information will be immediately available online. This is where we should be focusing our efforts for information transparency.

The package above was drawn by Fogelson-Lubliner


About Richard Shear

designer, husband, teacher, blogger, father, athlete, author, historian Richard has over 25 years of brand identity and package design experience, with a wide range of clients such as Ahold, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Pernod Ricard and Procter & Gamble. He began his career working with the legendary advertising art director, and AIGA Medalist, George Lois and the British design manager Clive Chajet. In his next design management position at Lippincott & Margulies, he worked with Walter Margulies learning the complex skills of global corporate identity. He then became Creative Director and Partner at Peterson & Blyth, one of the premier brand identity and package design firms of the time. He is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Branding Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He publishes the blog The Package Unseen, and has been a guest lecturer at colleges including FIT, Trinity College and Tyler School of Art. He is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Richard is a Board member of the AIGA MetroNorth Chapter, past President of AIGA‘s Brand Design Association, President of the Package Design Council and a member of its Board of Directors. He is a member of USA Cycling and US Rowing, a nationally ranked masters bicycle racer, and a member of The Saugatuck Rowing Club, the 2010 Masters Club National Champion.
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