Feb 24, 2014

The art of packaging: emotional response

In his recent blog Rob Drent made a very interesting case for the supermarket as an art gallery, with packaging as its exhibits. He extended the analogy to propose different types of art, from Old Masters to the Avant Garde; and to suggest that the purpose of these ‘works’ was to provoke an emotional response in the viewer, stirring up unconscious feelings of longing, pleasure, happiness, nostalgia etc.

I agree, but I was also triggered by a blog comment that in reality 95% of the exhibits in (Dutch) supermarkets fail to pass the ‘art test’, in the sense of generating any worthwhile emotional appeal. This is also probably true, and not just in The Netherlands, because most packaging is designed by a committee of designers, clients and consumers, in what can quickly become a highly rational, lowest common denominator process.

But not all. I talked about some of the exceptions, mostly challenger brands, in a recent talk at Packaging Innovations Amsterdam. And in this edition of Shelf Life, I’ve been looking for the elusive 5%, and working out what the artist is trying to say here…

If you enjoy this edition, please do me a small favour and share it with your network on Linked In, Twitter or Facebook. Even better, post a comment to tell us about your favourite piece of art in the supermarket. If you can read Dutch, Rob’s original blog is here.