Water Pipe Bottles

Following up here on the pipe/bottle theme started on Monday… (There was one earlier “water pipe bottle” that I wrote about back in 2009, but these are quite different.)

5 water.jpgpe-shaped water bottles, design by DWARS ontwerp’s Mark Schulte for the non-profit group JoinThePipe.org.

“Joining” in this context has multiple meanings. Sold as reusable water bottles, with the proceeds benefiting the construction of third-world water pipelines, they can be literally “joined” to interconnect like pipes, forming a metaphorical water pipeline. And by purchasing a bottle, supporters are “joining” the cause in the social-media/cause-marketing sense of the word.

Our plastic bottles should be kept for life, each bottle has a bayonet system in the top and bottom, they can be connected to one another so you can get the idea of building the pipeline at home.

The bottles have a double lid opening for easy washing and a rubber band for attaching to clothing, bikes, bags or fingers!

(See also: Elizabeth Royte on Packaged Water)

A New Contributor…

In other news, I’m pleased to announce that Bliss Buter-Thompson, Senior Designer at BurgoPak USA, has consented to contribute to box vox.

BurgoPak is a fascinating company, whose patented Slider Pack we were just talking about earlier this month.

I’ve no doubt that there’s much more to learn about BurgoPak’s structural packaging innovations. Bliss, having been with the firm since they first opened their branch in Chicago, brings firsthand structural engineering experience to her commentary on package design.

For her first post, she’s made a survey of student sculptural/packaging projects with emotional content: “Packaging an Emotion.”

–Randy Ludacer

Magic Packaging 2

A new package design book from DesignerBooks, entitled, Magic Packaging 2, arrived at our office last week and guess whose excellent package design appears on page 172? (in the “Intriguing Magic” section)


It’s our concept and structural design for a shirt-shaped, wrap card for the Totally Living™ velvet hangers 10-pack… which can also be seen here on our web site.

Don’t know why we weren’t included in the earlier Magic Packaging 1, but I do like the way things are trending.

Anyway, you should totally buy this book. It’s only 280.00 元  (or 246.00 元 if you are a member.)

(See also: Choi’s Package)

Plastered Plumber(s)

We ended Friday’s post with a package-related drinking gag.

Thinking we might stick with that theme for one more round, I was reminded of the “Plastered Plumber” Whiskey Dispenser. (Photos above are from the basement of  Allee Willis’s Bubbles the Artist site.)

We focused on another of Poynter Products’ alcohol-related gags last September—their 1950s line of cocktail flavored toothpastes.

This product is from 1961 and can be found occasionally on eBay, which is where I found the photos below. A package-related accessory for liquor bottles, serving a certain sense of humor, but no practical purpose.

Willis made some interesting and detailed observations about the packaging’s punctuation…

Made in 1961 by Poynter Products Inc. Cincinnati, Ohio, Plastered Plumbers’ slogan is “The whiskey goes ’round and round and round and r…”

…but the first ‘round has an apostrophe in front of it while the rest of them remain bare. Not to mention that the first roun is missing a D.

Perhaps diminished capacity on the part of the art director after sampling the product accounts for the diminished punctuation.

Allee Willis

I have to agree that it looks like very sloppy ’60s proofreading. (Not that I’m anyone to talk about scrupulous proofreading!)

Anyway, I have an almost completely unrelated, earlier example of the term “plastered plumber” being used…

(Another plastered plumber, after the fold…)

[Read more…]

Bottled Can(s)

This photo is from a 2004 Diet Pepsi ad by BBDO in Dusseldorf, called “Bottled Can.”

Such a simple photo, but its full import was often only partly understood…

“A can of diet Pepsi has been kept inside the bottle to depict the low-calorie quality of the drink. Moreover, a slim body can always be best depicted in the shape of the bottle rather can.”

Ad Punch

Never mind that it’s one brand being contained, like a Trojan Horse, in the packaging of its rival! (See also: Blended Soda Brands and The Concept of Coke & Pepsi)

In this ad, the cross-referential idea of one type of packaging containing another, has largely overshadowed the more confrontational “brand within a brand” thing.

Also hip: the “packaging contrapposto” whereby the neck of the Coke bottle points one way while the business end of the Diet Pepsi can points the other way. (See also: Cocktail in a Toothpaste Tube)

Beverage advertising, however, is not the only context for a can to be situated within a bottle. I have two more examples…

1. There is a method of making contaminated water safe to drink that employs a soda can within a larger, PVC bottle as a pasteurizing apparatus.

Eric Marlow’s 2008 soda bottle pasteurizer is shown on upper right. David Delaney’s 2003 soda bottle pasteurizer is shown on lower right.

2. The other example involves beer rather than soda. In the category of supposedly humorous breweriana, in the subset of “emergency” drinking supplies you will find various versions and brands of the “In Case of Emergency, Break Glass!” gag…

(On eBay, and after the fold…)

[Read more…]

XYZ Boxes

On left: Radeon’s X-shaped box for their HD 4890 graphics card; center: a Y-maze box; on right: Jeffrey Love’s Z-shaped box for Sprint’s Muziq Phone

OK, I know. One of these things is not like the other. I had a little trouble finding a suitable Y-shaped consumer package to fill out my high-concept trio.

And while the Y-maze box (above center) can serve as a temporary container for rodents, it was not be the letter-shaped, retail package for consumer electronics that I initially had in mind.

None-the-less, I would submit to you that there is something inherently digital about a laboratory rat (or mouse) confronting the binary choice contained in this box. (left = 1; right = 0)

(And speaking of rats & typography, see also: IlliteRAT.)

–Randy Ludacer

ABC Bottles

More to spell out on the subject of letter-shaped package design…

The drawings above are from Mikelyn Roderick’s 2003 patent for “Letter and Number Shaped” bottles.

I couldn’t find the product as envisioned here, although I did find a matching “A” and “B” bottle on eBay. I suppose the manufacturer may have originally made all 26 letter-shaped bottles, but if certain letters just didn’t sell well, those letters may have been discontinued.

Below are three vintage perfume bottles that represent my best effort at finding A, B & C shaped examples….

On left: Liz Claiborne bottle (via: Gisellez); center: Beau Belle by Bourjois (via: Perfume Projects); on right: early Chanel bottle with “C” cap (also from: Perfume Projects)

Tomorrow’s subject? X-Y-Z boxes.

(Roderick’s patent, after the fold…) [Read more…]

Packaging Typography

Packaging Typography: 3 kinds.

1. Letters made out of packages

The cover of Sunday’s NY Times magazine section featured some illustrated typography by Georgina Luck: letters made out of packages. Illustrating an article entitled, “How Companies Learn Your Secrets,” the entire illustration spells out “HEY! YOU’RE HAVING A BABY!

Another example of a letter form made from different types of packaging is Richard Conn’s “R” made from crushed packaged from a 1998 show in London called “Cast of characters.” (via: All About Lettering)

2. Packaging shaped like letters

Since letters are are flat symbols, any packaging based on letter forms tends to be based primarily on the 3D block style typography. Viktoriya Gadomska’s Vitamin boxes (A–F) and the “MILK” carton by Julien De Repentigny & Gabriel Lefebvre are examples of this approach.

(3rd kind of Packaging Typography, after the fold…) [Read more…]

Stickney & Poor’s Spiral Peppersauce Bottle

One last thing before we wind up last week’s “spiral bottle” thread…

From 1884, Stickney & Poor’s patented bottle design for a hexagonal spiral glass bottle. Like many figural glass bottles of the time, the structural packaging concept trumps the graphic design…

“These bottles were neck labeled since labels could not adhere well to the lumpy body.”

via: Society for Historical Archaeology

The non-spiral neck portion was labeled like this…

(See also Dr. Fisch’s Bitters in which a figural, fish shaped bottle was labeled on the bottom.)

(Rufus Barrus Stickney’s design patent, after the fold…)

[Read more…]

Collapsible Spiral Bottles

Following the spiral thread a bit longer, there’s been quite a bit of inventive energy spent on making bottles collapse in a spiral pattern.

Similar to the accordion bottles we looked at last year, except that each of these bottles uses a helix-shaped bellows, rather than a bellows built from congruent circles.

These packages are also designed to take up less space after use. Similar to Jiwoon Park and Kwenyoung Choi’s twistable “Nnew Can” concept (see: Helix Redux) there is something intuitive and interactive about crushing a pack by twisting.

The patent drawings above are from 1993, 2010 & 2011.

Alessio Venturi’s “Spiral Bottle” concept, on right, won an honorable mention in the 2004 Macef Design Awards:


The characteristic SPIRAL shape, besides assuring as easy identification of the product, involves an easy management of the empty which will be reduced in size by pressing it and will not occupy much room in the dustbin.

(via: DesignBoom)

(Norwood, Dickie, and Jung’s patented bottles, after the fold…) [Read more…]

Spiral Neck Bottles

We did a round-up of helical bottles in 2010, but recently I’ve been noticing more examples.

The Welde-Biere bottle (on the right) strikes me as a radically different form from the subtle spiral of a vintage Pepsi bottle. This bottle is designed more like a ram’s horn. It’s not just the larger gauge of the shape twisting around. Earlier Squirt soda bottles were based on a similarly large spiral ridge. I think it’s partly because it’s the neck and not the body that’s twisting. A helix wrapping around a cylinder establishes more of a regular repeating pattern. A spiraling tapered neck, however, gives Welde’s bottles a wonky, less uniform look.

It was a look they fought hard to have trademarked when their initial application was refused. And even when trademarked, their bottle was so specific a shape that they were unable to prevent Kofola “Snipp” from using a shorter bottle with a less pronounced spiraling neck. (on left)

In the Judgement of the Court:

“…the mere fact that the two bottles have a helically formed neck does not lead to the conclusion that there is a likelihood of confusion…”

The earlier Squirt bottle, shown below, had a spiral body, but a plain, conical-shaped neck. The Welde bottles, with their plain, cylindrical bodies and spiral necks, reverse this.

In another recent spiral necked bottle, the helix is actually an internal feature. O-I’s “Vortex” bottle for Miller Lite uses embossed internal ridges to encourage a novel, twisting pour.

(Some Vortex bottle videos, after the fold…) [Read more…]

The Prell Shampoo Anthro-Pack

In our compulsive cataloging of anthropomorphic packages, we haven’t found many anthropomorphic tubes. (Only Hy-Jen toothpaste and Vademecum come to mind.)

Prell Shampoo’s “Tallulah the Tube” was controversial because it was was based on the actress, Tullulah Bankhead, who had not given permission and did not approve:

In the spring of ’49 my ears were poisoned with this jingle:

I’m Tallulah, the tube of Prell,
And I’ve got a little something to tell,
Your hair can be radiant, oh so easy,
All you’ve got to do is take me home and squeeze me.

Another verse had this line:

For radiant hair get a-hold of me
Tullulah, the tube of Prell Shampoo

This attempt to capitalize on my name stiffened my hackles. In my thirty years in the theater I had spurned offers adding up to a maharajah’s ransom to endorse this gadget, that cure-all. Quicker than a Prell-user could dry her mane, I slapped a suit for a million dollars’ damages on the two radio companies over whose networks the verses were broadcast, on Procter and Gamble, sponsors for the lather, and on the advertising agency which schemed the outrage.

Tallulah: My Autobiography

A sound file of “Tallulah, the Tube’s” radio jingle: (via: Old-Time.com)


(More about Tullulah, the Tube, after the fold…) [Read more…]