This morning I walked from the bathroom to the pantry, and for some reason the five minutes that passed left me feeling exhausted. In that small amount of time, I had passively interacted with over 60 brands.
Or rather, been assaulted by them.
Packaged products companies spend millions of dollars on package design to make sure their boxes and containers stand out on supermarket shelves. Attention is a scarce resource, and a slight difference in focus can cause a brand to win or die.
But why do we have to tolerate flashy, in-your face grocery aisle advertising after we’ve already bought the thing? Seems more like a punishment than a reward.
This is precisely why I feel the need to hide all the products I use away in cabinets, turn boxes around, and peel off labels whenever I can. A glass bottle or a can of sauce that just features the product itself is much more pleasing to look at, and makes me willing to keep it out in the open at home.
Understandably, brands want to develop equity in a recognizable package so your recognition in-store is tied to your us experience at home. Yet I can’t help but believe there’s a better way that would make us feel less visually offended.
Some forward-thinking companies, mostly in the natural/organic trend, have started using clear packaging with minimalist labeling as a way of communicating their dedication to natural product. But I think even the ugliest products could benefit from designing packages that we aren’t embarrassed or annoyed by seeing all the time.
Maybe brands with visual pollution on their packages can experiment a bit. Try peel off labels, or make half the package clear or more visually appealing. Customers are averse to advertising on TV and the web, so why believe we like it on our shelves?