As if creating a great product isn’t hard enough in the first place, there’s (at least) one way of completely ruining it: poorly-conceived or badly implemented packaging. I despair whenever I see examples of great products where poor packaging has completely taken the focus away from the product itself. And by that I don’t mean the artwork, labelling or other such cosmetic element. I mean the mechanics, the physical barrier between the consumer and the experience of actually getting at the product.
There are many ways in the English language of describing something which is useless – “as useless as a chocolate teapot” is one of the more common terms, and needs no explanation. Perhaps it is surprising to find that many teapots are almost completely useless because they don’t pour properly, and splash tea everywhere. I’m not being picky or overly sensitive when I say this – they are utterly useless, and there is no way in which anyone would knowingly buy such a teapot.
[Image courtesy of Sophisticup.com. Note – no criticism of this particular teapot is implied by its appearance in this blog, nor should be inferred. It was selected as a “generic” teapot. Whilst I could reasonably expect it to function properly, I have no way of knowing whether or not it does – without trying it first…]
My daughter recently received a scarf as a gift. On wearing it for the first time she complained that it was scratching her, and on looking at it in more detail I found that it wasn’t the scarf itself which was scratching her – it was the label. Or more accurately the bundle of labels.
Five separate labels on Bench scarf
Clearly there is a need to label products, not only from a consumer information perspective but also from a regulatory perspective too. And I recognise the need to maximise flexibility such that a single product can be sold in many different markets. But I wonder whether somehow this principal has been taken to such an extent that the effect on the consumer has been overlooked, and that somehow the consumer experience is compromised. Continue reading →
I was recently offered a coffee whilst having my hair cut, and when it arrived it was neatly presented on an elegant tray with a small jug of milk and some sugar. The coffee itself was in a stylish mug which neatly complemented the design of the salon – stylish but not overly swanky.
[Image courtesy of AbleKitchens.com]
It was only on starting to drink the coffee when I noticed that the mug was designed to be used only by right-handed people. By that I don’t mean it was optimised for right-hand use; I mean it specifically excluded left-hand use. Continue reading →