Irish chili may sound like an oxymoron, but Mic’s Chilli, made in Kilcoole, County Wicklow in Ireland, has the authentic look of a product that comes from “South of the Border” – and we don’t mean Tipperary.
Dublin-based illustrator Steve Simpson has done all of the branding and packaging work for Mic’s Chilli since it launched its first products at the end of 2010. Using Latin American patterns and iconography, the Inferno packaging features Day of the Dead skeleton figures, with “talk bubbles” showing chillis to indicate degrees of hotness — one chilli for mild; four chillis for on fire.
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Coca-Cola has just unveiled six limited-edition cans to cheer on Team USA at the London Olympics this summer. San Francisco-based design agency, Turner Duckworth, combined three of the world’s most recognizable icons to communicate the entire story –the stripes of the American flag; the five interlocked rings of the Olympic logo and silhouette of an athlete, and Coca-Cola’s signature red and Spencerian script logotype. The effect is succinct, direct and graphically powerful. Coca-Cola is rotating the can designs throughout the summer, with a new one appearing every two weeks, culminating with a special composite logo timed for the opening of the Olympic Games.
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Aside from the fact that we find these shopping bags funny, they show the possibilities when designers literally think outside of the bag. When approaching an assignment, designers typically focus solely within the boundaries of the product itself, whether that is the edges of a page or the shape of a three-dimensional object. But sometimes the cleverest design answer presents itself in the way and in the environment in which the product will be used. What’s terrific about these shopping bag designs is that the user unwittingly is made part of the graphic solution. It takes the user’s participation to complete the visual pun.
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You’ve heard of vanity license plates; now think of vanity barcodes. In the U.S., Vanity Barcodes, a business started by Reuben and Yael Miller of Miller Creative in New Jersey, has turned these boring UPC codes into decorative elements. They have a number of barcode designs in stock or will customize one to your preference.
The idea of disguising this inventory management device into something else is believed to have originated in Japan with Design Barcode in 2004. The agency made the barcodes an integral part of the packaging design, tying it into the brand or cleverly building the stripes and digits into a line drawn picture.
As simple as this concept may seem, it’s not one that designers should try on their own. As both Vanity Barcodes and Design Barcode emphasize every manipulated barcode has to be thoroughly tested to make sure it gives accurate readings when passed through a retail scanner.
In this prolonged down economy, consumers are deciding that they don’t need to dine at the fanciest restaurant, buy a new wardrobe for every season, or even wash with the top-of-the-line laundry detergent. This trend was duly noted by Procter & Gamble, maker of the premium-priced Tide. With the Tide brand experiencing some of the steepest sales declines in its 62-year history, P&G looked for a way to compete with cheaper private label soaps by issuing a no-frills version of Tide. Instead of its continuous promise of “New and Improved,” P&G opted to remove some of the pricier cleaning additives from its Tide formulation in order to slash the cost by more than 20%.
Attaching the Tide name to this down-market soap, however, was fraught with peril. How do you make sure that Tide “loyalists” remain faithful to the higher-priced “true” Tide, while implying to thrift-conscious shoppers that this version — although not as good — had Tide qualities that made it superior to budget generics?
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