This skit from “Burnistoun,” the comedy sketch show broadcast by BBC Scotland, reminds me of all the devices that, at first, seem like marvelous inventions, but still need work. An example is a recent exchange with that annoying automated iPhone twit, Siri. She keeps calling me “Del-fiend-E,” even though I’ve corrected her multiple times. Last week I asked Siri for the cross street of Gump’s, San Francisco’s venerable luxury home décor and jewelry store. Everybody in the Bay Area knows the 150-year-old Gump’s — except Siri. She said, “There are three dumps in San Francisco, which one do you want?” I enunciated more slowly, spelling out G-u-m-p-’s. She ignored me and started telling me the addresses of the local dumps. I finally asked a passerby for directions.
For packaging designers, retail shelf presence is the primary consideration. Does the brand stand out from the competition? Does it make shoppers think it is better, more innovative, easier to use? Does it make them want to buy it? Bravo, if it does all that. What’s often missing, however, is considering how some types of packaging will look when the consumer gets it home. This is often true of products like liquid soaps, dish detergents and hand lotions where the package serves as the dispenser. The product may be easy to spot on a drugstore shelf, but it looks too functional in a bad way when placed on your bathroom counter next to your color coordinated towels and elegant perfume bottles. So,it is delightful to see that Method, known for its eco-friendly cleaning products, has released limited edition packaging by Irish fashion designer Orla Kiely. Her patterns look botanically natural, fresh and contemporary, with fragrances like pear ginger, vanilla chai, bay leaf and primrose to match. The bottle shapes are equally charming. Even if it is Method dish soap or all-purpose cleaner, people will want to leave the bottle out to enjoy as part of the décor.