Thursday, February 24, 2011

Matthias Roberts’ Post

Sometimes life gives us lessons sent in ridiculous packaging.
-Dar Williams
I love to shop. Whether it be a quick trip to the grocery store, or a massive trip to Mall of America, there's nothing quite like walking into a store and being greeted by everything that one can own if willing to part with the little pieces of paper held in one's pocket. My sisters trained me well when I was young, yet strangely my sisters' favorite stores were the ones that I would refuse to go into. No, not Sephora...second hand stores (insert dramatic sound of doom here). For as long as I can remember, every single time I was dragged into a Goodwill, Salvation Army, or some other poser, I would suddenly get a really bad stomach ache as well as a splitting headache. Obviously, it's all a psychological reaction, but I've only recently realized the cause for the crippling physical effects second hand stores have on me: awful design.

Think about it. Second hand stores are the epitome of design taboos. Florescent lighting, crowded aisles, grungy furniture, dirty floors, and the smell of cigarettes mixed with pet pee. While the purpose of this post isn't to diss second hand stores (since one can find some pretty incredible deals - Dior blazer for 50 cents? Yes please!), they have helped me realize that I am somewhat of a packaging and presentation addict. I like things to look nice, and appearance causes true physical reactions, at least for me.

One of my favorite websites is The DieLine, it's a blog that features the best of packaging design from all over the world. I will sit and digest the website for hours on end, and I always walk away feeling refreshed. As I was perusing The DieLine this evening, I stumbled across some packaging that literally took my breath away and raised my pulse to an almost orgasmic level (yep...I'm a design major!) Just look!

Isn't it blissful? This is design by recent OCAD University graduate, Joel Derksen for the company 8 Fruits and Vegetables - a company that caters to urban farmers and container gardeners. The '8' stands for infinity and is also the past tense of eat (ate). This packaging caught my eye because deep down at heart, a part of me is still an Iowa farm boy (really deep really deep...). I have a passion for growing plants and then using them to create food, and this kit combines the two in an extremely classy way. From the custom branded spades and serving utensils, to the seed packets and napkin, everything oozes sophistication and deliciousness. The moment one opens up the box, it can be seen that the kit is to be used for every aspect of the food creation process - planting, growing, preparing, and enjoying with friends. Derksen presents a very well thought out product that not only pins his target market, but manages to go above and beyond in the area of design. The only thing I don't like about this product is that it's not real - this is merely a mock-up for a company that exists in Derksens ingenious mind. Fail.

8 certainly isn't something one would find in a second hand store, and it has me leaving with a smile on my face.



  1. Wow really nice way to compliment this advertisement. You are a very good writer and I was interested right away. I like how you started off by telling a story and how that relates to your vision of design.

  2. I like the simplicity and color scheme of these different packaging designs. It reminds me of something I might find in an old country store or a crackbarrel. It is as if the designers are trying to take their approach back to their roots (no pun intended) and makes themselves more earthy and organic, which I think will attract a large market.

  3. Just looking at this design gets me excited about this product and makes me want to buy what they are selling. This, to me, is an indicator of a well designed product. The organic color scheme works perfectly for what they are selling and the design is elegant. Very well designed.