Archive for April, 2009

Kraft Shreds its Cheese Packaging

April 27, 2009

At the supermarket this weekend I did a double-take passing the shredded cheese display. New packaging! How exciting. I made a beeline for the display which looked a lot like what you’d expect a generic or store brand to look like. Then came the big shock — it was Kraft!


Considering how controversial the rebranded Tropicana packaging was, I was very surprised to see that Kraft had followed suit. In the old packaging, although each package varies from cheese to cheese, the basic look remained the same: a blue wave at top and bottom, a “banner” top and center with the Kraft logo and type of cheese, and a clear view into the package. It’s recognizable, eye-catching, and invokes a sense of quality.

Please excuse the photo from my phone's "utility" camera.

Kraft's new shredded cheese packaging — white space and lower case letters.

The new, cleaned up packaging is almost austere in its simplicity. I am a big fan of white space, but this new design may be oversimplified for a big consumer brand. It heralds the old store brand packaging we all used to recognize, before “no-frills” brands began to compete on visual presentation, and not just on price and value. The packaging is not just a simple white and blue stripe with a block of color to indicate the type of cheese, it’s also not glossy! It’s a more matte-looking plastic package material, which, I’m sure, is intended to stand out from the other brands’ glossy cheese packaging. You might also think, that given all the clear-space around the Kraft logo, that the logo would stand out more from the package. However, it manages to get lost on this über-clean design, your focus, instead, is drawn to the colored block of copy on the bottom, which tells you the type of cheese in all lower case letters. (more…)

How to :: NOT use a font

April 7, 2009

Email blast design is just like every other technology — dangerous in the hands of those who don’t know how to use it. Here on Long Island there’s a wonderful organization called the LIA. However, the email blasts they send are less than wonderful. In fact, they’re simply awful.

We can forgive the cheesy headline, the many fonts used throughout, even the squished photo. What we can not excuse is the use of an all caps, italic, calligraphic font!

Why oh why? How does anyone think all caps, calligraphic font use looks good?

Why oh why? How does anyone think all caps, calligraphic font use looks good?

If you read our blog, you already know my position on Zapf Chancery. Well Monotype Corsiva is similarly abused. It’s just less accessible to everyday computer users. But the same rule applies: Just. Don’t. Use. It. However, if your font choices are limited, and you simply MUST use a “fancy” font, and the only font that will do is Monotype Corsiva, please, please, please, (for the sake of all our senses), don’t use it in all caps, or even with initial caps. It just wasn’t designed to work that way and it’s painful to look at.


The swoosh logo :: just leave it

April 1, 2009
The Nike logo: from humble beginnings to universal recognition.

The Nike logo: from humble beginnings to universal recognition.

Nike adopted the swoosh for its logo in 1971. It’s symbolic, it’s iconic, and it’s very appropriate for their business. (And was designed by a college student, btw.) So what is it about the swoosh that makes so many decision makers want to use it for their logo? It’s everywhere. And no one uses it as well or as meaningfully as Nike.

A new swoosh for Capital One. But WHY?

A new swoosh for Capital One. But WHY?

It seems that both big and small companies in all industries think a swoosh logo is also right for them. Take Capital One for instance. What does their new swoosh say for them? That they’re fast moving? Is it an orbit? Does it intimate forward thinking? Truly these are not unique concepts, even if that is what they’re thinking. How about coming up with a logo that distinguishes them from the competition? One that focuses on their key strenght(s).

I have to wonder what motivated each of these companies to adopt a swoosh logo. Did they see swoosh logos everywhere and figure that was the thing to do? Did they subconsciously “copy” the swoosh from one of the few companies that use it successfully (Nike, Intel)? Did they see it as hip or trendy or otherwise worthy for their compay’s most valuable asset — thier brand?