The ever awesome XKCD recently posted this comic – and he’s right. It occured to me that Americans don’t have No Name Brand, which is literally just name brand stuff repackaged into glorious yellow boxes with crisp black Helvetica.
We call it Helveticola.
There are entire stores that sell this as their primary brand and it’s doubly awesome because it’s actually cheaper than the ugly graphics branded counterparts. Who says good design has to be expensive?
Granted, occasionally the foods don’t taste the same; things like mayo and ketchup. But really, it’s pretty impossible to mess up Cheerios and I suspect quite often the foods come from the exact same factory.
The branding itself is effective. It’s easily recognized and conveys the item for what it is clearly and easily. I’m not sure about American packaging, but our laws require both French and English, so I suppose that’s really the only extraneous part when living in provinces that are majority English speaking. That’s still different than being superflous, though, French is still effective and practical for the other half of the country which maintains it is good design.
Whereas other brands might have pictures of the contained food on the outside of the package, No Name usually just makes little windows into the contents. It’s simple and elegant. Occasionally there are foods that dont look like what’s contained (like cake mix is just powder, but the picture on the box is a finished cake slice) so they will use pictures on some items. Also, of course, packaging that cannot have windows (like aluminum cans) will have a wrapper that may have a picture of the contained. For the most part, though, it’s glass jars and plastic bags which lend themselves well to such simplicity.
So, Randall Munroe, there’s your solution. It’s the answer to a great deal of questions and I repeat it again for clarity: move to Canada.
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