Archive for the 'Product Packaging' Category

Japanese bento: an excuse to play with your food

I recently came across Japanese bento photography on Flickr and became intrigued with the intricacies of this cultural tradition. First, what is bento? In a nutshell it’s a combination of food items tucked into a container. The bento can be fairly simple or it can be an elaborate work of art. Wikipedia describes it in more detail:

A single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container. Containers range from disposable mass produced to hand crafted lacquerware. Although bento are readily available in many places throughout Japan, including convenience stores, bento shops (弁当屋, bentō-ya?), train stations, and department stores, it is still common for Japanese homemakers to spend time and energy for their spouse, child, or themselves producing a carefully prepared lunch box.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from Flickr:

Geese bento, photo by kitsa_sakurako via Flickr

Cute animals, photo by soulstruck via Flickr

Halloween bento

Halloween, photo by pkoceres via Flickr

Sandwich bento

Sandwich man, photo by kitsa_sakurako via Flickr

Preschooler bento

Sesame street, photo by cuteobento via Flickr

Preschooler bento

Elmo and friends, photo by lovebones via Flickr

Heinz unveils new ketchup packet

Old Heinz ketchup packet vs. new Heinz ketchup packet

Old Heinz ketchup packet vs. new Heinz ketchup packet

Meet the new Heinz® ketchup easy-dip packet. Heinz® ketchup has undergone a redesign of the ever-so-convenient ketchup packet that has been a classic staple of fast-food eats for over 35 years. However, there have been many complaints about the product’s messiness. With this in mind, the H.J. Heinz Co. unveiled a new solution on Thursday, Feb. 4th, 2010. The product’s new packaging allows for easier dipping or squeezing, depending on the consumer’s preference. With more flexibility, it appears that the Heinz® company hopes that this will appeal more to a broader range of customers. According to an ABC news article,

Designers found that what worked at a table didn’t work where many people use ketchup packets: in the car. So two years ago, Heinz bought a used minivan for the design team members so they could give their ideas a real road test.

The team studied what each passenger needed. The driver wanted something that could sit on the armrest. Passengers wanted the choice of squeezing or dunking. Moms everywhere wanted a packet that held enough ketchup for the meal and didn’t squirt onto clothes so easily.

The original packets will still be available for traditional consumers. However, for those of you anxious to check out the new design, you can anticipate the new packets to hit the market at select fast-food locations throughout the nation in Fall of 2010.  To find out more information, read the press release, “Heinz® Ketchup ‘Uncaps’ New Decade with Revolutionary Product and Packaging Innovations” on the Heinz corporate website.

Thanks to Jacob Cass, @justcreative. for the lead.

Vending Machine Makes Pizza in 2.5 Minutes

Looks like Pizza Hut may be getting a run for their money. Apparently there is a new type of vending machine on the market that makes piping hot pizza pies in less than three minutes for only around $5 bucks. There are four different types of pizza and each are made fresh; the robot prepares the dough, pours the sauce, sprinkles the cheese and bakes. The vending machine is currently only in Europe (Italy), but the owner plans to bring it to America. Check out the photos for yourself:

lets-pizza-by-claudio-torghele

lets-pizza-vending-machine-01

You can view the full article at Dvice.com, “Pizza-making vending machine serves fresh pies in three minutes.

Brand Facelifts in Pictures

Thanks to Forbes, they recently released a fabulous article: “Marketers Have Makeover Madness: Brands get bright new looks in dark times.” They’ve included before & after pictures of branding identities. One of the biggest trends I’m noticing is the use of more white space. If done tastefully, it can be very effective. Here are a few examples of products that have undergone a facelift:

snapple

Snapple

picture-15

Trix Cereal

Check out the changes in the full photo essay at Forbes.com.

Check out this comprehensive photo compilation of more before & after logos of major national brands over at WeFunction.com.

Pepsi’s Not-so-new Logo

pepsilogo

Photo caption credit goes to: Lawrence Yang '09

When Pepsi revealed their new logo in 2008, the general public had something to say about it. Many have speculated that Pepsi is taking Apple’s approach with the logo coming across as airy, crisp, and simple. PepsiCo has done a great job of re-branding the Pepsi logo over the years and should be thankful that it has not faced backlash like their Tropicana orange-juice brand. However, I, as well as many others feel that the product packaging of PepsiCo’s soda beverage market could be better designed, but I’ve already expressed my discontentment with that. I do know that Pepsi’s logo does not rub me the wrong way like Kraft foods’ new corporate logo. Overall, I’m okay with the stand-alone logo without the “pepsi” text. What’s your opinion?

Check out the very informative and interesting article by John McWade: “Does Pepsi’s New Logo Work?” hosted on DesignTalk over at Before & After: How to Design Cool Stuff. He talks about how Pepsi measures up to Coca-Cola’s success over the decades.

Microwave with Pizza Drawer

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No more soggy pizza. This microwave has a built in pizza drawer, which reheats a pizza to crisp perfection. It’s called the Stainless Steel Kenmore 1.1 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave & Pizza Oven. Other features as listed by Amazon.com include:

  • Microwave-6 Auto One Touch Buttons: Reheat, Cook, Defrost, Express Defrost, Popcorn, Potato
  • Oven-4 Auto Cooking Pizza Buttons: Frozen Rising Crust, Frozen Regular Crust, Fresh Regular Dough, Fresh Par-baked Crust
  • Manual Bake Cook-Cookies & Biscuits, Breads, Pastry
  • Temperature Control-350, 375, 400 & 425 degrees
  • Main Usage: Pizza, Bake, Toast functions

While it may have a hefty price tag of around $270.00, it just might be worth saving counterspace. Check out what Craziest Gadgets has to say about this product.

Tropicana Orange Juice to Revert Back to Old Carton Design

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GREAT news for the design world. After realizing the public uproar of defying its branding power with the new design, it appears that PepsiCo has announced the decision to revert back to the old carton design of Tropicana orange juice.

Read the New York Times article here.

Pepsi and Sierra Mist get new look

packaging

Here is another example of a company trying too hard to be modern and hip. The design agency that created this look clearly took direction from the PepsiCola company who probably told them to put a fresh spin on a dated company. Don’t get me wrong, I love Pepsi’s product. Just not loving the new product packaging. Fair enough, right?

I will say that I like the Pepsi can better than the Sierra Mist can and here’s why. The use of white space was executed well in the Pepsi design. However, the tree silhouette in the Sierra Mist design seems to have no relevance. Also don’t think that “mist” looks misty, if that is the effect it is intended to give.

What are your thoughts? Love or hate the new look?

Coffee Lids Revisited: McDonald’s

Photos Louise Harpman and Scott Specht.

Photos Louise Harpman and Scott Specht.

When I first blogged about the Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks Coffee Lids, I explained that I rate beverage product packaging based on the ability to function well while traveling. This morning, I took advantage of McDonald’s free medium cup of coffee special for the month of February (I would link to a reputable article about it, but it appears that the McDonalds’ marketing team decided to promote this deal purely through viral marketing).

After the McDonald’s employee handed me my coffee cup, I realized that the lid has no hole — that is, until I’m ready to puncture it to consume my coffee. While one consumer complained that the lid does not allow for safe slurping of hot beverages, I beg to differ. The lid does well in traveling safely without spilling coffee. My new rating for beverage product packaging, with #1 being the best, is:

1) Dunkin Donuts

2) McDonald’s

3) Starbucks

Judging from the comments and other blogs on the web, it seems like many people have an opinion about the design and functionality of coffee lids. Which one do you think is more important? Design or functionality?

For further reading, check out this article, Peel, Pucker, Pinch, Puncture.” A little outdated, but offers an extensive analysis of what should go into the engineering of lid design.



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