Thursday, 12 March 2009


A fresh cucumber comes home wrapped in cling film. I cannot recycle it, so transparent veil goes to the bin as soon as the cucumber riches the fridge. I am starting to feel that I had some sort of Massive Good Luck Time in my entire life before this poor cucumber packaging, because I WAS EATING CUCUMBER WHICH HAS NEVER SEEN PLASTIC VEIL. And I am still alive.
Every time I think about packaging issues I am thinking about my obvious luck in life and have the whole cucumber in my head. Packaging, cucumbers and packaging... Why my apples come in a bag? So do carrots and all sort of fresh food doesn't look fresh anymore is washed five times and looks plastic. I don't understand the purpose of protecting me from some mysterious disease, which somehow didn't attack in communist Poland once I was little. But with capitalism there we are and suffocated cucumbers are in my homeland as well.
Enough about cucumbers, the point is there is no point.
Now I look at my CD ART Innovation in CD Packaging Design by Charlotte Rivers book, and I suddenly understand everything about packaging. That it needs to be there, to protect CD, that it is necessary to show the details about the musicians, sell the product, and so on. I understand, because after coming from a shop - my CD packaging of that kind will stay on the shelf exposed and won't be thrown away. What is the difference between a plastic veil for a veggie and an innovative CD packaging. Well first is ugly, the other can be stunning, first comes from a corporate easiness of fast selling, second from crafting. First could do without packaging at all, second needs it for protection and information. First is thrown away, second stays.

Cucumber from Sainsbury

Samples of CD covers from Airside Agency
So what is the role of packaging?
1. Protection
2. Recycling/Re-usability. If it is not easy recyclable it should be easy to keep. Which is true for packaging like Cd's which need protection all the time.
3. Engagement. I truly believe that packaging should be fun. Fun to pack and unpack. Creating an enjoyable moment of something small and engaging within my day. Yes, if it is nice, strong and practical - I will keep it and pass it on to my grand children. If it is unnecessary, ugly, avoidable I will throw it away. And what I expect as a designer-a consumer on one end - getting my vegetables from a grocery is to meet a packaging designer via my shopping and either keep all of the their work forever or have none to throw away.

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