Innovative Package Designs We’ll Never See Because of Idiots!

Pushing innovative ideas if you are not at the top of the corporate ladder is nearly impossible. Sure, Steve Jobs could do what he wanted because it was his sandbox but those creatives who strive to push innovation and great design know the frustration of middle management road blocks, frightened marketing types and those who just save the idea until you quit out of frustration and then they introduce the idea as their own.

Well, there is always the gratitude and admiration of those who appreciate creative thought. So, as Mr. Jobs said aloud and in print;

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently—they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

A unique idea from Good Media, Kazakhstan. Personally, I have a phobia of piranhas and eels around my feet ever since… well, I can’t tell that story without lots of therapy and sleeping with my feet wrapped up in the bed covers at night and not hanging over the edge of the bed. A cool box, indeed but how does one try them on before buying them? The little nasties must be the fear-factor pressure sale for people like me, so it works extremely well!

I reported on this unique pizza box years ago but I’ve never seen its equal since when it comes to innovative pizza boxes. A slice or two left? Just punch out the fold-it-yourself coffin for the “remains.” Brought to you by the people at Hell Pizza in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Aside from the French on the cover, instead of Italian, imagine the grease, melted cheese, and crumbs left over once the pizza is completely devoured. A strong visual to encourage teeth brushing or a change of diet.

Personally, I hate the waste of packaged single servings, I mean, is it too much to just buy a whole orange or kiwi? I would understand half a pineapple but this plastic and foil packaging just says, “I like to eat healthy while I destroy our planet!” Now imagine the chemicals used to keep the piece of fruit fresh and tasty and still have a shelf life of six months.

Did you hear the one about the baker who made a lot of “dough” for “loafing?” Yes, it’s a sucky joke but how many “buns” jokes can you make with packaging? Having a clear section of packaging offers great challenges and also innovative solutions. If you don’t have the same idea I do for “Fit Buns,” then you have a normal sense of humor. Shame on you!

A clear window to what you have left in life. Watch your serving or supply dwindle. Window insertion technology has gotten much less expensive with print-on-plastic capabilities, so why not use it? Coke cups designed by London and San Francisco-based packaging design firm, Turner Duckworth. Detergent packaging courtesy of an unnamed source in South Korea.

Japanese black melon cookies are delicious but the visual of eating a bushy head of hair takes the edge off the pleasure just a bit. I don’t even want to think about what they would do with redheads and a slice of ginger pie.

When you’re selling waterproof watches, why not package them in a bag full of water? I’m not sure if this is a concept or actually made it to fine watch counters. Damage in shipping a case or two might be a problem.

Containers for alcohol and perfumes are bold and inventive and change more often than any other packaging. While saki may have been a better match for this concept, who doesn’t like vodka? Lots of it! Created by Moscow-based designer, Arthur Schreiber.

Special ketchup packets created to raise awareness and donations to a noble cause (Publicis Mojo, Auckland, NZ.) you probably don’t want to consider while squeezing ketchup on your burger or fries. The innovative packaging from Heinz is brilliant and a long time coming for dippers and squeezers. Each serving is about four squeeze packets worth of the bloody sauce. How cool would it be to have a zombie ketchup packet that squirts ketchup when you rip its head off? Oh, the possibilities!

The Kleenex “slice of summer” is supposedly a real product, packaged in sets of six wedges forming a slice of watermelon, an orange or a lime. I can’t find any further information that proves this made it past the concept stage. Perhaps marketing discovered people don’t want slices of fruit sitting out around the house? (Designer: Hiroko Sanders)

A cool concept but producing matchboxes can be expensive and dangerous… unless it’s a box of French Fries made to look like planks of wood.

Branded by Pentagram, this whimsical and innovative packaging really does exist. Why? The owners of nuts.com put their trust in a designer and allowed a brilliant idea to be used. They apparently aren’t sorry as the packaging has become iconic for the company. So, who’s nuts now?

And so, my fellow crazy ones, misfits, rebels and so on, keep up the good work and never give up. Sometimes, as with a few of these concepts that saw the light of day, on the darkness of store shelving, people celebrate innovation. You need to embrace it and believe in yourself. At least there are web sites that will revel in your brilliance and you will inspire others. If not, there’s always therapy or self-publishing an ebook of your best ideas.

Top image ©GL Stock Images

Speider Schneider

Speider Schneider is a former member of The Usual Gang of Idiots at MAD Magazine and has designed products for Disney/Pixar, Warner Bros., Harley-Davidson, ESPN, Mattel, DC and Marvel Comics, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon among other notable companies. Speider is a former member of the board for the Graphic Artists Guild, co-chair of the GAG Professional Practices Committee and a former board member of the Society of Illustrators. Follow him on Twitter @speider

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16 Comments

  1. cre8ivetype January 29, 2013

    Another great article, Speider! Love the examples.

  2. Tristan King, Voodoo Design Shropshire January 30, 2013

    Great, attention-getting headline …and a great article too. Thanks.

  3. Marty Granius February 3, 2013

    The Kleenex fruit wedges did make it to the market. I actually worked at Kimberly-Clark in the design dept. at the time when it hit. It was a big success and there were next generations that made it to the market with other fruits and wedges of cake. It was originally done in KC-Mexico and was then picked up in the US.

  4. Great article!! The quick fruits are actually a flavored jelly, not half a piece of fruit.

  5. The Heinz ketchup squeeze/dip are used are used at several fast food places in the US.

  6. Author

    Yes, several of these examples did make it to market but would you so eagerly read yet another article entitled, “great packaging examples” or did the outrageous wording of the title draw you in a bit more? ;)

  7. Uh, you missed the wording on the labels of the Quick products. They are not single servings of fresh fruit with added chemicals. They are different flavors of jelly, with added fruit. That is how they attain their shelf life.

  8. Author

    Pardon me, MMHMC, but I did see the description on the label (top). It says a “ready-to-eat serving of fruit in a flavoured jelly.”

    The front says “Real Fruit in Flavoured Jelly.”

    What I wrote was “Now imagine the chemicals used to keep the piece of fruit fresh and tasty and still have a shelf life of six months.”

    Do you know these to be pieces of fruit or a piece of fruit (and does it taste good)? The point of the spotlight was, does there need to be such wasteful packaging for a single serving of fruit when, as I also wrote, “I hate the waste of packaged single servings, I mean, is it too much to just buy a whole orange or kiwi?”

    Aside from the pleasing design, I guess the confusing copy makes this a fail for consumers.

  9. To me, the entire Quick product line is a waste, because it is simpler and cheaper to just buy a piece of fruit when you want to eat it, rather than purchase a jellied product with fruit in it, in order to have a longer shelf life. Therefore, what this product actually highlights is how some consumers need to have even simple foods ‘fixed up’ for them, as when they sprinkle a little sugar on their vegetables. Kiwis, oranges, and guavas are already sweet and tasty, so no flavored jelly is needed to eat them.

    Thus I agree that a piece of fresh fruit is more appetizing and efficient, in terms of self-contained form factor, but it is not “wasteful packaging” to put a jelly/fruit combination in a container. How else would you ship it, display it, and store it?

    Jellies and jams are called “preservatives” precisely because they don’t need chemicals to preserve the fruit pieces or large chunks contained within. The labels of the Quick products clearly state that they have no such additives, which is why I commented on your imagining of this chemical content.

  10. thomas p. February 7, 2013

    I don’t understand the title of this blog post. Many of these designs are actually in the marketplace and have been seen. Also in regards to the waterproof watch – that’s not how it’s packaged and sold, it’s just a display for the store.

  11. Author
    Speider Schneider February 9, 2013

    The title, Thomas, is to set the article apart from twelvedy hundred other articles entitled, “Innovative Packaging Designs” that dot the web and too often mockups are touted as real products. I’d rather just lean on the pleasing design and not have to sweat if they are or are not real products.

    Speaking of which; do you know for a fact the watches don’t come packaged like that? The original source said they did. It would seem strange but then again, if I was making a store display to show the watches are waterproof (if not packaged that way), I would use a nice aquarium with fish (or at least a small fish bowl with one fish) and not just a few bags sitting on a counter.

  12. Janeen Violante February 9, 2013

    Terrific packaging here!
    I do think “idiots” is a bit harsh, though. These packages never made it to shelf not because we’re idiots but because not enough consumers would buy them, plain and simple…not profitable….or maybe we are idiots!! …that we care only about profit–you might have a point here!

  13. Barbara Rogers February 10, 2013

    Cool post. LOVE the “Remains” pizza box!! So very clever!

  14. Jenny Lynn February 19, 2013

    Oh, the slices of fruit Kleenex! I wish I could still find those packages. I bought the whole set: watermelon, lime, and orange at Target three years ago. They really brightened up the office. You’ll have to trust me that they made it to market in the US at least.

    Thanks for all the fun examples. Brilliant collection work.

    Cheers,
    Jenny

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