Is an austerity package a design strategy?

In the October issue of Print magazine there is an interesting follow up to thoughts, in my last post, on white packaging as a design default.

Benjamin Bratton, who calls himself a “sociological, media, and design theorist”, and who’s self proclaimed current interests include “the philosophical problematics of the interfaciality”, was interviewed on design and geopolitics.

His response to the austerity package question above was as follows;

“Certainly it is, but that is not an evaluation of its merits. The methodological shift to ‘design by subtraction’ away from the high-modern ‘design by addition into tabula rasa’ is important for the post-Anthropocene era. When the planet is full-and it is always full-then subtraction is the other half of the technical economy. In the case of the austerity package, it is painfully clear that the body politic is being dismembered for spare parts. This is a design strategy, yes, but like war is design strategy.”

Wow, I agree, I think?

At first his answer struck me as the intellectual equivalent of my first experience with pesto sauce . . . outside my realm of understanding, and is this supposed to be red (or read)?

But if you read it, or eat it, a few times they both begin to have a certain gastronomic and intellectual logic.


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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One Response to Is an austerity package a design strategy?

  1. Leah says:

    Absolutely I agreed, This is the matter on how the packaging itself introduces the product. The strictness of the packaging is to lift the credibility of the brand the attaches it’s container.

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