If the dirty & defiled prop packages from Paul McCarthy’s Propo series are a reflection of his interest in “everyday activities and the mess created by them,” what are the implications (if any) for package design?
Messiness may be part of life, but advertising and packaging has usually bent over backwards to present a cleaned-up, idealized version of life. Maybe this is changing. I’m not saying that packages at your supermarket will ever look quite as besmirched as those in McCarthy’s photos, but there is some evidence of a trend in that direction.
Kenetic’s refillable soap bottles featured photos of various cleaning challenges, all a little filthier than we are used to seeing. On our packaging, at least.
While Filthy Foods’ chocolate packaging is not filthy in the literal sense, the expressive drops of chocolate brown ink in their logo are deliberately messy in the same way (and for the same reasons) that lots of recent packaging has random spatters and drips. (Sometimes messiness on a package signals succulent contents.) ”Filthy Foods” as a brand name also acknowledges that in some areas we embrace “filthy” (e.g.: filthy rich).
Kevin J Furst’s concept for a Filthy Boy brand uses a different meaning for “filthy” that’s more closely related to Paul McCarthy’s psychosexual messes. The implication being that it’s the boy’s sexual impulses that make him filthy. (Although the package has been designed to look a little scuffed up as well.) See also: Dirty Girl
The very messy ingredients of Ugly Pizza, when I saw it in 2008, seemed like a radical departure. Recently, however, messiness in food photography has become an accepted trend:
“Right now, people like messy,” says Alison Attenborough, a New York-based food stylist who specializes in editorial work for clients…
The popularity of cooking shows, the eat-local movement and the growth of casual-dining restaurants are reshaping consumers’ views of what makes food look appealing. Where making food look perfect was once a primary task of food stylists and photographers, the new challenge is making messy food look appetizing.
Food That Looks So Messy, It’s Irresistible
The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2010
It’s probably no accident that all of the “messy” packaging design above, starts with a clean, white background. (More messy packaging tomorrow.)
Beach Packaging Design