Hexagonal Halloween Candy Package Design


(A vintage, hexagonal, head-shaped carton with a jack-o’-lantern style die-cut face.) According to the Candy Professor:

“This hexagonal carton is an award winning package distributed by the Sierra Candy Company in 1956.”

Not clear who designed the package or what entitity awarded the award. The same box appears to have also been used by the J.D. Fine Candy Company. (Color photos are from Bindlegrim’s Flickr Photostream; the black and white photo is from Confectioners’s Journal, April 1956)


Randy Ludacer
Beach Packaging Design

Homophonic Consumer Confusion: Oxol Doll ≠ Oxydol

Oxol-OxydolOn left: a bottle of “Oxol” cleaner from a 1929 ad appearing in The Kingston Daily Freeman; on right: an Oxydol box for sale on eBay for $17.90

In the previous post we compared Oxydol’s early package design to Opal’s stunningly similar packaging. Same basic design, but different product categories — so no trademark infringement there.

Oxydol and Oxol, on the other hand, were both cleaning products. Their package design was not confusingly similar, but the manufacturers of these two products were nonetheless pitted against each other in the landmark trademark infringement case of PROCTER & GAMBLE CO. v. J. L. PRESCOTT CO.

In testimony about an ongoing Oxol radio promotion, Procter & Gamble set out to prove that Oxol had deliberately chosen a “doll” as a free product premium, in order for its “Oxol doll” to be mistaken for “Oxydol” and “sought to profit by the confusion that would result.”

“When you buy a bottle of Oxol, take the label off and send it to the Oxol trio in care of this Station, or address your letter to the J. L. Prescott Company, Passaic, New Jersey. … In return, they will send you the gaily colored "Oxol" rag doll that children love. … And don’t forget to send in an Oxol label for one of those little Oxol Rag Dolls.” The substance of this broadcast was repeated many times. Upon several occasions radio announcers referred directly to the “Oxol doll”. Instructions for completing the “Oxol doll” were sent to all who requested the doll from the Prescott Company.

It is obvious that when the tongue pronounces the words “Oxol doll”, or when the mind operates to put these two words together, a connection in thought between Procter & Gamble’s product and Prescott’s product is inescapable. Such a connection must have occurred to the Prescott Company. Why then was such advertising made use of? The answer is obvious. Ground for mistake in the public mind as to Oxydol and Oxol was well laid and the resulting confusion may not be described as a coincidence.

Confusion as to which company was offering the doll in return for the label immediately came to pass and this was admitted by one of Prescott’s officers. Many housewives sent Oxydol labels to Procter & Gamble and demanded the Oxol doll. An examination of the letters in evidence seems to indicate that the persons writing them were ordinary members of the purchasing public. One housewife wrote, “Am sending the clip off of the Oxydol box. Would you please send us one of your rag dolls…”. Another wrote, “Enclosed is a clipping from Oxydol. Kindly send me a rag doll, as promised over Radio.”

via: Leagle.com

Assuming that the correct product label was sent, what the Oxol customer ultimately received via return mail was this:

Oxol-DollAbove: the “Oxol Doll” and the envelope that it came in (via: eBay)

Looks more like a paper doll than the “rag doll” they advertised, but “truth in advertising” is perhaps not so stringent when it comes to free promotional items.

(See also: Packaging and Consumer Confusion)

Randy Ludacer
Beach Packaging Design

Oxydol and Opal


On left is the early (earliest?) package design for Oxydol soap powder, introduced in 1914 by the William Waltke Soap Company. On right is the candy packaging for Opal Pastilles, designed in 1946 by Atli Már Árnason, one of the founders FÍT, the Icelandic Design Center. (via: CoolHunting)

Opal-OxydolLeft: a collection of vintage Oxydol boxes (photo from iCollector.com); on right: varieties of Opal with color as differentiator

A later version of Oxydol was designed by Donald Deskey in 1959 (who also designed the Tide box in 1947) but the design of the early Oxydol box (with the concentric circles) appears to be unknown. Which is to say, that I can find no mention online, so the designer is unknown to me, at least.)


The Opal package with the multi-colored concentric bands contains a fruit-flavored assortment.

(Television commercial for both products and one more thing, after the fold…)

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Spray Paint Can Concepts


Part of the Canceptual V.4 show at Crewest was devoted to Man One’s collaboration with Berlin Packaging’s Studio One Eleven, “Paint the Future” envisioning alternate spray paint cans:

“One of our strengths lies in understanding and implementing experiential design — that is, how people actually use and interact with a package. Man One Design asked us to apply that expertise to provide a vision for paint delivery systems that suit the needs of street artists,” said Scott Jost, Berlin Packaging Vice President of Innovation and Design. “These ideas open a dialogue that can help pave the way for equipping graffiti artists with better tools.”

“Street art is becoming an increasingly popular vehicle for brands to connect with younger consumers, but artists are limited by the capabilities of the conventional spray can. We asked Studio One Eleven to take an exploratory journey with us to think differently about the spray can and suggest ways to improve can performance,” said Scott Power, Managing Principal, Man One Design. “Our goal with the ‘Paint the Future’ showcase is to inspire and facilitate packaging innovation by asking a professional artist and heavy utilizer of spray paint like Man One what he wants and needs from a spray can to create his artwork. This is a path to discover new and meaningful value that translates into strategic opportunities for paint manufacturers.”

Berlin Packaging

Graffiti as “strategic opportunity” despite hardware stores keeping cans of spray paint in locked cabinets to discourage tagging.

Note concepts above for: accordion cartridge feature, a rocket shaped can and duplex spray can.

(More photos, after the fold…)

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6 Chairs Made from Packages


1. The “Mad-700-Chair”— by MadC is an M-shaped double sling chair made from empty spray paint cans.

2. The “294 Liter Sitzen” —(Liter Sitzen is German for “I sit”) [see comments below]— is an armchair made from 294 Tetra-Pak cartons by Fabian Jochen Kanzler & Steve Michaelis.

3. The “Lucky Chair” is Roeland Otten’s armchair made from 400 empty packs of Lucky Stripe cigarettes.

4. The “Jar Chair” is made from 96 baby food jars by Johnny Swing.

5. A chair made from glass bottles, but I can’t tell you who made it.

6. The “SIE43 Chair” is made by Pawel Grunert from PET bottles.

Randy Ludacer
Beach Packaging Design

Ballantine Miscellany


1. A print proof of a Ballantine 40 oz. Ale label, circa 1987 (via)


2. Not a Jasper Johns sculpture. (Just two views of a collectable vintage can.)


BallantineAnim TinSign3. Above: Three large sizes of the ale with the three-ring logo and three Xs. 

4. An animated gif of a rotating carton of Ballantine XXX Ale. (on left, via)

5. An embossed tin sign with Ballantine
Ale bottle “faux” bursting through background on right. (See also: History of the Graphic Burst)

6. We recently made rueful mention of “American exceptionalism.” Below: the beer version of that idea—a vintage ad that takes a patriotic pride in the endless hunt for “something better.”

…this hunt by energetic America for something better doesn’t stop with the big things… Among the many “better things,” and one not to be overlooked, is a moderate beverage, an ale in fact, that has been discovered and approved by many. So many that, in the land where the question “Is it better?” is on so many tongues, it has become America’s largest selling ale.



(One more thing after the fold…)

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Bottles and Body Types


Last year, Medical Marketing and Media’s “Best Over-The-Counter Product Advertisement/Campaign Gold Award went to AbelsonTaylor and Abbott Nutrition for their Ensure “Nutrition in Charge” commercials. (CG animation by Bent Image Lab)

In these commercials, an anthropomorphic bottle of Ensure hectors the other anthropomorphic occupants of the fridge (some of whom are fruits & vegetables —others are other packaged foods) about healthy nutrition. It’s unclear whether the Ensure bottle is playing the role of coach or drill-sergeant. Either way, this anthro-pack is clearly a mesomorphic dominant male.

“Ensure has a unique blend of prebiotic fiber to help promote digestive tract health, and antioxidants (vitamins C and E and selenium) to support the immune system.”

In contrast to Ensure’s muscular bottle, consider the pencil-armed, ectomorphic Aktifit bottle. (3D art direction by Champignon Images ; production by Frame Eleven;  modeling, UV’s & texturing by Fabio Quaggiotto; compositing by Mike Frei. Agency: TBWA Switzerland)


Aktifit also makes immunological health claims and employs an anthropomorphic bottle, but its contents are probiotic rather than prebiotic.

“Emmi Aktifit is a probiotic drink made from pasteurized skimmed milk, providing the body with lasting strength from the inside. Clinically tested LGG culture stabilizes intestinal flora, promotes digestion and strengthens the body’s immune defences.”

As a character, the European Aktifit bottle shows less aggression — more passive resistance. Apparently immune to cold season, it happily reclines in a beach chair as it snows. (Is this the cold weather of the fridge?)

(More Ensure commericals and some Aktifit “out takes” after the fold…)

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3 More Accordion Packs


In August we looked at some accordion-like packages that featured “bellows” mechanisms that allowed them to expand and contract. More examples have been popping up recently…

1. Nick Seville’s “Shaker Straws” duplicate the effect of a bendable straw. His solution to an assignment about packaging-as-added-value:

“…the brief was to repackage a pound shop item to make it worth double the price. This was achieved by creating a product that stood out on the shelves and made it more interactive for the customer to get a feel for the product.”

Consumers might regard it as a cynical ploy —a package designed to double the price of an item— but it does serve as an important reminder that an elaborate package will surely increase the retail price of a product.

2. Éva Valicsek’s “egg box” uses an accordion-like structure for egg packaging. Here the structure mainly serves to provide stabililty for the eggs, but the flexibility of the bellows structure allows the eggs to be easily inserted or removed from the carton.

Her labeling scheme also includes the barcode as a graphic design element —(similar to a CD package we looked at in 2009).

3. Directions Marketing’s “Tritainer” dog food concept (Grand Prize Winner in “Project 2020: The Consumer Experience”) makes compression a key feature:

“Accordion-type compression reduces container height as product is dispensed, and when empty, the container eventually folds flat for easy recyclability.”


Randy Ludacer
Beach Packaging Design

Chained Tetrahedral Portion Packs


I saw Serge Rhéaume’s 3-pack powdered drink concept (above left) on Packaging|UQAM and my first thought was that it was another example of packaging in which individual portions are contained in connected polyhedral shapes. (See: Chained Polyhedral Portion Packs)

TetraPakManufactureBut as a chain of tetrahedron-shaped packages it also reminded me of something else… The most successful and well-known tetrahedron-shaped packages are Ruben Rausing’s Tetra-Pak (classic), which are similarly connected in a chain during manufacture, but then cut apart. (See inset)

The inspiration for Tetra-Pak’s manufacturing process, reportedly came to Rausing while watching his wife making sausages. (Note: sausages are also available as manufactured — in a chain of connected individual portions.)

The idea of selling multipacks of connected tetrahedrons is a very good one, and Rhéaume is not the first to think of it.

The illustration above, right is from Wolfgang Jobmann’s 1999 European patent for a “Chain of Individual Packages”…

Packaging arrangement for soft drinks
A packaging arrangement consists of a series of five individual tetrahedral packs (A, B, C, D, E) each of which is linked to the neighboring pack by a flat strip (10, 11, 12, 13). The strip has a line of perforations by which individual packs may be removed from the group of five.

(Jobmann’s 1999 patent and others, after the fold…)

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Pageviews as Burgers: a package design blog McMilestone


Not that I’m all breathlessly over the moon about this, but I noticed a couple of months ago that box vox’s pageviews had exceeded the 1 million mark. Never mind that it’s taken three years for this to happen. If pageviews were burgers I’d be supersized. If page views were dollars I’d be rich. (But not super-rich.)

It took Andrew Gibbs and the dieline only a year to hit the same milestone, but in the competion for pageviews among package design blogs, I’m embracing the philosophy espoused in The Belle Brigade’s #1 hit song, Losers.

One package designer’s repudiation of American exceptionalism? (Or just sour grapes?)

(Official “Losers” video, after the fold…)

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