Someone Redesign These Annoying Pieces Of Packaging
by Chloe Gordon on 01/18/2023 | 8 Minute Read
Sadly—and for the most part—packaging is made to be thrown away. The sole purpose for existence is to provide and safely deliver the contents contained within. And while discovering innovative and highly creative state-of-the-art packaging is pretty much Dieline's thing, there are some packaging designs that go against what it means to be, well, innovative, highly creative, and state-of-the-art.
Countless designs cause more irritation than convenience, resulting in frustration and turning consumers into swear jar enthusiasts, often the last straw people can bear in their busy, chaotic days. Bad design yields angry people and the world needs less bad design and angry people.
So, today, we're sharing some designs due for a makeover. Here, you'll find the packaging that's so head-scratchingly insane that it needs to be called out once and for all—and, yes, we're looking at you bacon. Once these packaging faults become a footnote in CPG history, we'll be one step closer to world peace and meaningful progress.
Riddle me this: why would something with a soft, creamy consistency be packaged in a flimsy plastic wrap you can't reseal? Goat cheese, much like cream cheese, could easily be considered a liquid, because, when it melts, it tends to take the shape of its container.
In all its earthy buttery glory, goat cheese should be packaged in a tub mimicking that of cream cheese. Sure, it's not a sustainable option, but neither is the plastic wrap or the Ziploc bag you have to put the plastic wrap into when you don't finish. Unless you're building an intricate cheese board for upwards of ten people, there's no reason you'd think of using an entire goat cheese log.
And if we can switch it out for something that's not a plastic tub, all the better.
Cereal and Chips
If there's one packaging design that seems the least thought through, especially through the lens of a hungry consumer, it's cereal and chip bags. Why on earth are the bags not resealable? Everyone knows that if you leave a chip or cereal bag open for long enough, only two things can transpire: an infestation of critters or stale snacks. It doesn't make sense that underwear and sock packets come in plastic, resealable bags, but food, something that absolutely must be resealed, doesn't. If you have to buy a secondary product—like chip clips to seal a bag—the entire packaging design needs to be rethought.
Also, kudos to anyone who can develop a paper lining.
While some brown sugar brands have thought through the fact that consumers will undoubtedly never use an entire bag of brown sugar in one recipe, some, on the other hand, have not. Brown sugar, or any sugar for that matter, should be banned from being packaged in plastic or paper bags that have no means to be resealed. Honestly, it just proves a disconnect between consumers and the brand.
Here's an idea—Oxo or Pyrex should do a brand collab with big brown sugar, aka Domino. They get the whole resealable freshness aesthetic.
If you're a lover of the morning's best greasy, delectable protein, then you know that bacon comes in the most problematic of packaging designs. What are we using to open it? Scissors? An incredibly sharp knife? How many fingers would you like to lose today?
Unless you're cooking for a family of seven, it's rare to finish an entire package. Plus, the slimy plastic combined with the fat, drenched paper sets an unappetizing scene for a morning's feast. Moreover, you almost always have to take out all the bacon in the pack, forcing you to figure out how to get the unused bacon strips back into the moist, dripping plastic.
The current packaging isn't functional if everyone puts their leftover bacon in a Ziploc bag. So let's rethink this. While it's in an entirely different market, makeup wipes get packaged in a thoughtful, clean manner, and the gooey, wet products are reminiscent of the presentation of bacon. And who doesn't want to pull a piece of bacon out of a bag like it's Kleenex?
Kid's Toy Packaging
It doesn't make sense why something meant for children is packaged in plastic that's adult-proof and sharp enough to double as a harpoon. Not only is the plastic scissor-proof, but often, the toys inside are zip-tied to the cardboard backing. It makes sense when things like medicine and cannabis need to be childproof, but when the contents are intended for LITERAL children, why does the packaging require hiring a safecracker? In the future, let's make a conscious effort to create simple, less dangerous, and entirely less wasteful packaging for children's toys. Stick it in a cardboard box—and just cardboard—and be done with it.
Paper Deodorant Packaging
There's a difference between giving up on convenience to live a more ethical or sustainable lifestyle and being utterly inconvenienced. At The Dieline, we're never not concerned about packaging moving in a more sustainable direction. We care deeply about it, but sometimes, packaging attempting to be more sustainable, like deodorant packaged in cardboard tubes, gets in the way of functional, practical design. If you've ever used deodorant in a fiber-based tube, the struggle to keep the deodorant at the top of the container is real. Much like paper straws, there's a better alternative to paper that melts while you're using it, forcing you to throw it in the trash before you should. The intentions are pure, sure, but there must be a better, refillable option.
Oh, yeah. It's aluminum.
Recycled Toilet Paper Packed In Plastic Wrappers
If there's one thing in the packaging world that makes absolutely no sense, it's when sustainable items come in materials that are absolutely not. Take 100% recycled toilet paper, for example. The idea of making something that humans use and dispose of everyday more sustainably is admirable. Unfortunately, however, recycled toilet paper is often packaged in plastic wrappers, an entirely counter-intuitive approach to sustainability. Plus, the alternative option is simple: cardboard. So let's do better with this one immediately.
Mustard Bottles and Their Inevitable Mustard Crust
While mustard can sometimes be the ideal yellow condiment to add to the most decadent of ballpark-inspired foods, the inevitable crust that forms on the top of the bottle is gag-inducing, especially after a Chicago Dog rager. And while I wanted to sit here and critique the bottle's design and how thousands of other condiments have avoided the inescapable crust, this one might be pure user error.
YouTuber Chris Notap created a video explaining a little-known secret about French's mustard lid. Essentially, there’s a small tab on the back of the mustard bottle that holds the lid out of place so your lid isn’t constantly getting doused in mustard.
Of course, you can't blame a nation of mustard fans that all have the same problem. So, let's say there's an issue with the overall design. If there is a mustard hack, it would seem obvious to make it more evident for consumers.
Thin Plastic Wrappers That Won't Budge
Trader Joe's does plenty of things really well: high-quality food for low prices, impeccable customer service, and constant stocking of one-of-a-kind products. While there are plenty of pros, the grocery store's dip packaging needs a massive overhaul. The dips are packaged in a plastic tub with a thin plastic wrapper sealing each for freshness. And while this additional plastic piece is necessary for tamper-proofing, it's beyond infuriating that it's impossible to tear off without scissors. The fact that you need to get stabby with a thin piece of plastic is outrageous.
I recently went to the grocery store and found myself in the produce section, furiously shaking my head and rolling my eyes. It never has, and will never, make sense to me that cucumbers get wrapped in plastic, especially when we're so used to other produce items freely sitting out. I understand that it helps extend their shelf life, but instead of wasting plastic, let's do better.
That goes for all produce, by the way. But the English cucumber is particularly upsetting.
Apeel, headquartered in Goletta, California, has created an edible, tasteless protective coating from plant materials that helps remove plastic from the packaging system. That would not only help cut back on plastic but also simultaneously help with reducing food waste. Let's put our money and energy into supporting a business like Apeel and less of it purchasing cucumbers (and other product items) wrapped in plastic.
Capri-Sun's Total Lack of Ergonomics
Most everyone's favorite childhood drink is a thirst-quenching, perfectly sweet Capri-sun. However, if you're going to market a pouch-based beverage to children, it's crucial to consider how they'll interact with its structure. If you've ever had the experience of watching a child grab the triangular foil pack, you know that they'll simultaneously squeeze the pouch while trying to insert the skinny, yellow straw, and more than half the sticky drink inevitably spills out. So while Capri-Suns taste like nectar from the gods, what's the point if half of the beloved juice doesn't have the potential to make it to the mouth?
While The Dieline is proud to share innovative and delightful packaging designs, it's also critical to consider functionality. Just because packaging exists or is beautiful doesn't mean it's operational, practical, or user-friendly. It's crucial to understand how consumers will interact with it. If the design is challenging or irritating to interact with, it needs fixing. Just because we're used to something doesn't make it right.
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