Archive for May 2013

Letter from America (extra helping)

State Fair Corn dogs packaging

Continuing the theme of American packaging from the previous blog, this time we look at some other product categories and seek to distinguish universal from local cultural references, in deciding what sells from the shelf. The world already knows a lot about American visual culture from movies, TV and of course global brands, but my…

Read More

King, or Jack of all beers?

According to this highly informative blog, about 93% of America’s beer is produced by 2% of its breweries, and here’s a couple of the best known mega-brands behind those statistics. Trends in the beer market however are strongly in favour of the little guys (microbrewers), who grew 13% in a declining market last year. To…

Read More

Cheezy does it…

There were many contenders for good old-fashioned hard-selling packaging, but this one got my vote for a great Call-to-Action brand name, clear variety coding with no loss of impact, and even a sub-brand thrown in to the mix with no confusion caused. The only thing I’m not getting is a feeling of the taste of…

Read More

Finding the ‘authentic’ theme in powerpoint

Beer Packs on a Supermarket Shelf

Speaking of microbrewers as we were above, outlets like Whole Foods are natural allies and promote the sector strongly. As Thompson Dawson’s article points out, the design language here ‘celebrates the uniqueness of their approach to brewing with highly expressive, sometimes even hand-drawn labels’. There were indeed some fine examples of this on display, though…

Read More

Is this a brand?

What’s the first thing you see here? I’m seeing the first slice of a delicious pizza, and a clever design system that enhances the mass display effect. Differently shaped wedges for each recipe attempt to ‘keep it real’, and a faux signature suggests there may be a real person behind all this; someone called Amy,…

Read More

A rum tale…

However made-up you think the character of Captain Morgan is (and his latest incarnation seems to positively revel in its cartoon-ness), you’ve still got to admire the way the story has been extended. For the eagle-eyed or OCDs amongst us there is more than one Captain here, but for normal consumers it’s a gripping yarn…

Read More

Point of impact

With no shortage of authentic tortilla chips available, Doritos wisely doesn’t try to play that game and instead goes for simple triangular iconisation. At one level this is no more than a visual pun on the product’s shape, something the brand has been doing for years. But in place of previous half-hearted attempts, this branding…

Read More

Vodka dessert menu

Sweet is the new black. We’re all finally admitting that we never really grow up and even strong alcohol can remind us of our childhood. Smirnoff plays this hand a bit more subtly, with a special edition, feminised design promising soft focus fantasies of ‘iced cake’ and ‘fluffed marshmallow’. Pinnacle simply goes for the jugular…

Read More

Blue-collar hero

Hungry Man Ready Meals on a Supermarket Refrigerator

Ah, the Ready Meal or TV dinner as it was once known. Over the years the meaning of this concept has shifted from convenient luxury to a symbol of our double-income-no-time lifestyle, though in upscale chillers the dishes on offer have become remarkably good. Here in the US freezer aisle there’s a refreshingly down to…

Read More

Fridge door delights

Cold Tea and Coffee Packages

So now you know why American fridges are so big. Actually the packs on the left represent the premium, chilled end of Ice Tea, there’s another 5 metre section amongst ambient soft drinks where it comes by the gallon (even the Arizona brand. Travesty!) The embossed and tamper sealed plastic carafes certainly leave no doubts…

Read More