Before my passion for film and design fully developed, I was somewhat oblivious to the world around me. Sure, I noticed strange details – the cool new Destiny's Child poster hanging in Walmart or the interesting shirt the cashier at Zellers was wearing. But did I notice the cool bags La Senza Girl gave me with my purchases? Probably not. Did I think about what it took to create the awesome cereal boxes I stared at throughout my childhood breakfasts? Nope. Did I appreciate the aesthetics of the designed world around me? Not really.
These things – posters, bags, packaging, signage, etc – were just cool things that were simply there. I guess you could blame it on my naive, self centred, pre-adolescent mentality. Or you can blame it on the ignorance of an untrained eye. Probably a mixture of both. Whatever the reason for me ignoring the millions of intricately designed items that I interacted with on a daily basis, I see them now.
I see and appreciate (and sometimes horde) the bags given to my with my purchases. I love buying CDs for their unique lyric booklets. Fun and innovative packaging excites me. I admire unique and creative, in your face (or subtle) signage that stops me in my path. Sometimes I even judge books based on the level of awesomely designed covers. Online shopping is so much more fun with the diverse packaging and added swag – stickers, postcards, bags, even boxes can be really visual and interesting.
I was at Spring not to long ago and was given a brown paper bag to hold my purchase. The overall look is quite simple, many people may have not given it much thought. But the simplicity was exactly what caught my eye. I love the colour scheme – its a lot like what I had visioned for my own branding. The pops of colour against the muted background make for a conservative contrast. I find the brown cardboard like material appealing and suggestive of a recyclable and/or reusable product. The whole design is very subtle, yet in your face because its the only element you can look at on the entire bag.
It was my sister's birthday last week and we had family over to celebrate. There was presents and cake and of course a buffet of delicious teas to choose from. Amongst them was this awesome tin box from DavidsTea. If you know me, you know I'm all about conserving Mother Nature, and this is a great way to do it. You buy your first box of tea and when you run out you can later buy the packets of loose tea and refill the original tin box! Old concept, I know, but genius in today's over packaged world. The use of one colour makes the type pop and keeps the information clear and legible. You can see the brand being carried out through the typeface and I can only imagine what the rest of this particular line looks like (a rainbow of coloured tin boxes, I bet). The illustrations and typefaces are fun, modern and relaxing. This particular design idea reminds me of my Infinitea project.
When I had pointed out, to my mom, how interesting the DavidsTea packaging was, she went to the cupboards and whipped out this cracker box. My mind was further blown. I was amazed in today's day and age, that there were still companies that were exercising this old practice: using reusable packaging. There were modern touches to it of course, adhesive labels, embossed logo (and I assume for sanitary reasons) foil wrapped crackers. I imagine (and hope – fingers crossed) that consumers have the option to buy new packages of foil wrapped crackers and store them in their reusable tin canister. The Ryvita label is very earthly, with its imagery of wheat and grains. It has an overall down to earth, natural look to it while still providing a lot of information in a well organized hierarchy.
I am constantly scanning the world around me for design that just works. It's exciting to find new and innovative products reusing old ideas. It keeps my mind fresh and inspires projects and ideas of my own. Take a look around you, I bet there's something unique and awesome hiding in plain view, waiting for you to notice it.