Mine Enemy’s Candy

001_bigMussolini, Hitler & Hirohito candy boxes, each with an open die-cut mouth (via: Hakes)

I don’t know what it is about candy and war. We’ve had a couple of other posts touching on it… the German Chocolate Hand Grenade… the Candy Bomber

These candy boxes above, from WWII, feature Axis leaders with die cut mouths, ostensibly a game for children to throw balls into—(the French text on the boxes offers encouragements like “Hitler’s Speech Is Finished” and “A Sharp Movement, It Should Shut Him Up.”)—but I wonder if children didn’t also dispense candy from those mouths.

Which brings us to the War on Terror and Osama bin Laden. While bin Laden has certainly been featured in a number of insulting products here in the United States, children’s candy does not seem to be among them.

Which is not to say that our recently deceased enemy combatant has never appeared on a box of kid’s candy. Consider: Super Osama bin Laden Kulfa Balls.

3570579131_9b4acff268_b Photo from: Fullsteam’s Flickr Photostream

Not anti bin Laden candy since it was most popular in Afghanistan and Pakistan and uses that brush script adjective “Super” on the packaging.

In the war on terrorism, this was clearly the enemy’s candy—not meant for consumption in the United States, although, for some reason, available in China.

Manufactured in Pakistan, this product apparently dates back to 2002:

Many vestiges of the Taliban era remain untouched in the beat-up, dusty center of Kandahar, where the ruins of buildings that collapsed during the recent American bombing campaign lie among the ruins of older battles. Venders with carts sell “Super Osama bin Laden Kulfa Balls”—coconut candy manufactured in Pakistan and packaged in pink-and-purple boxes covered with images of bin Laden surrounded by tanks, cruise missiles, and jet fighters.

After the Revolution, by Jon Lee Anderson
The New Yorker, January 28, 2002

Aside from Super Osama bin Laden Kulfa Balls, I know of one other bin Laden candy: Peta’s “Bin Laden Bites” vegan chocolate bars, released in April of last year.

(Photos of Bin Laden Bites packaging, after the fold…)

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More Orthographic Head Boxes


The Grain’s T2 Tea boxes: more orthographic head boxes, similar to the McSweeney’s Head Box we featured in February. (Via: Lovely Package)

These are promotional gifts rather than actual retail boxes:

“Using a selection of tea from T2 we created four individual tea boxes and personified them to reflect the names of the following popular flavours of tea: Gorgeous Geisha, English Breakfast, Chai and French Earl Grey. Each box holds a few tea bags and a small scroll showing images of recently completed work with an invitation to ‘sit down for 5 minutes with a cup of tea and learn more about us.”

The Grain

(See also: last Tuesday’s Cat Head Packaging)

Randy Ludacer
Beach Packaging Design

Bottle in a Pitcher


Further historic evidence that packaging at the table was once considered bad manners:

“…a fluid container or pitcher within which may be placed and securely held a milk or cream bottle of standard shape and size, so as to permit… the fluid poured therefrom, without such bottle being exposed to view.

It will be understood that such milk bottles are crude and would not present an attractive appearance upon the table, whereas such a bottle… might readily be placed within the container I provide with ease and convenience and with an approach to a more agreeable appearance.”

Aurthur J. Herschmann
Patented in 1920

(See also: Branding in your home)

Randy Ludacer
Beach Packaging Design

Cat Head Packaging


Yesterday, Paul Heidenreich from Australian firm, The Grain Creative Consultants, emailed me their design refresh for Whiskas cat food, on right. Whiskas is a brand that I wasn’t familiar with, but the iconic cat-head shape of their logo reminded me of another cat food carton that I’ve been saving a picture of: Elmwood’s “Purely” cat food box for Pets at Home, with the cat-head shaped die cut window.

Which led me to notice other cat head shaped cat food packs…


These Whiskas pet treat containers were (I think) designed by Nick Brown.


Meow Mix and Purina Friskies, each employ cat head shapes in their cat treat containers. (Note the cat-head “M” in the pictorial Meow Mix logo. Anyone know who designed this feline logotype?)


Eric Hart’s canned cat food project, “Snookums” also features cat heads, although in his case they are sans-ears.

(A couple more things, after the fold…)

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Impossible Bottles


The puzzle-like interlocking bottles of the previous post leads me to the topic of “impossible bottles”—those bottles containing things that should not have been able to fit though their necks.

A ship in a bottle is the most familiar example, but enthusiasts have come up with plenty of other stuff—(even packaged stuff like cigarette packs and decks of playing cards)—to put into their “impossible” bottles.

(One more thing, after the fold…)

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Mated Container Units


Yesterday’s post about the similar interlocking bottles, raised a number of questions. The patent drawings above date from 1963 to 2008, each showing a different patented method of connecting separate bottles. There are plenty of products that can be sold in pairs — shampoo & conditioner; 2-part epoxy; oil & vinegar — but what are consumers to make of it when these products are sold in interlocking bottles?

Are they anthropomorphic couples? Are they happily married? Are they promiscuous? Or are they more like puzzle pieces fitting together?


Or body parts fitting together?

The 69-ish innuendo of yesterday’s bottle structure (and the single quote marks ‘’ in Joy Lin’s Hustler Lubricant concept) is even more explicit in Franck Legoupil’ 2001 patent for a “Container Assemble of Two Nested Containers,” pictured above.

This same symmetrical gender-geometry is also at work in the “Mated Container Units” patented by Juris M. Mednis in 1986:

“A multi-purpose container unit whose hollow body, neck and shoulder sections are proportioned and constructed in a manner that allows interfacing and mating with an identical or mirror image unit of like size… The container has a neck and a recessed portion along its vertical axis which accepts and provides safe harbor and protection to the neck and closure portion of the mated unit whose corresponding body recess, in turn, accepts the neck and closure portion of a second container of the mated unit…”

(See what the “Mated Container Units” look like, after the fold…)

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Magic Folding Cans

Aside from yesterday’s example, most “magic folding cubes” are not packages, although some of them are designed to resemble packaging.

And among the various “magic folding cube” structures are topologically-similar cylindrical versions, sometimes called “magic cans” …

(More photos and video, after the fold…)

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Gumball Cube Pack

©2011 Randy Ludacer, Beach Packaging Design

Seeing projects like Sophie Valentine’s “Capitalism vs. Socialism” and Regina Rebele’s 2008 “Type-Cube” made me wonder if there was a practicable way that this type of “magic folding cube” could be designed as a box to actually contain something.

Ideally, I would have liked it best if the whole thing—all 8 boxes with tucks & glue flaps—could have been folded from a single die-cut shape. That doesn’t appear to be possible, although it was easy enough to get it down to just 4 pieces which must then be hinged together.

But what sort of product should such a package contain? Gumballs, I decided. Stupid, I guess, to envision such an elaborate package for such an inexpensive product, but demographically appropriate as a candy pack for kids. Like something that Topps might have considered doing in the 1970s. And as our video clearly shows, these gumballs really needed to be contained.

Anyway, this is just Gumball Cube-Pack Mach 1. There are some further structural improvements I have in mind to try next. (If you’re listening, Topps, please give us call. We’d love to hook you up.)

(Some still photos, after the fold…)

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Capitalist Box vs. Socialist Box


I saw this a while back on Packaging UQAM:

Sophie Valentine’s project for Louis Gagnon’s “Design Graphique Introduction” course at Canada’s UQAM. The project is “3D Typographic Expression” and her solution is shown above.

Socialism and capitalism are two realities that clearly oppose. However, Winston Churchill did not consider one better than the other. He said: “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” To demonstrate this paradox, socialism is represented by eight small cubes attached to each other. While capitalism is represented by a cube equal to the size of eight.

Design Intro Blog

This interests me for a number of reasons.

A. The white “socialist” cube appears to be one of those hinged folding cube puzzles — sometimes called “magic cubes” — often used as an advertising promotion. I might be wrong. It may be hinged a little differently, but it would be ironic for “socialism” to be represented by an promotional object.

B. The Winston Churchill quote above seems to parallel the contrast that Chevron CEO, John Watson attempted (in his testimony to congress yesterday about oil company tax breaks) when he tried to suggest that the American people would rather share in Chevron’s prosperity than to have Chevron share in their sacrifice. (See also: Joe, The Plumber)

(More reasons, after the fold…)

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