Start Up Blog

Best Packaging Ever

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on April 6, 2009

What does great packaging look like?

Chances are you will have to package your widget for your start up. Or at least something in your new business.  I often ask people the best packaging they have ever seen. Coming from a consumer goods background I get a lot of varied answers, but never do I get the answer I propose the be the ultimate.

The banana:

banana1

Easy opening, but only when it’s ripe

Consume straight from packaging

Changes color from green to yellow as it nears its zenith

Quality of each unit verified by packaging

Built in ‘used by date’ indicator – packaging changes color – so awesome.

Category defining

Gives off product fragrance

Uber Ergonomic design & handling

Ship in packaging with mutlipack nesting design

Childproof

Protects interior

Biodegradable

Oh, I nearly forgot, good for slipping enemies in a car chase.

What can you learn from Nature?

How would nature package your product?

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12 Responses

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  1. MJPhoto said, on April 6, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Yeah that’s great but have you tried packing photos in a banana….messy…LOL

  2. amandablogandkiss said, on April 6, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Ha! That made me laugh, but it’s so very true.

    How about Tiger Lilies. They clamp up their pettles at night to protect the flower, and open again in the morning. Kind of like an automatic garage door.

  3. Andre Sammartino said, on April 7, 2009 at 8:45 am

    An interesting aside re: bananas – Innovation writer Barry Naelbuff points out that most of us peel bananas from the wrong driection (as in the picture). Monkeys do it the other way round, which leaves it with a stronger handle (and less prone to stringiness)…

    I made the change after seeing him demonstrate it and it has made bananas even more enjoyable.

    Upshot of this… never assume your users will use the product in the fashion you intended.. and make sure it still works really well when they “misuse” it…

  4. Steve Sammartino said, on April 7, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Great point Andre – in all probability most produxts are not used as intended. Like Coke for cleaning coins…. In websites this is why usability wins. We must design around them, not what we want.

    steve.

  5. Ross Hill said, on April 10, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    I love this – we need some biomimicry ;)

  6. [...] Best Packaging Ever: A banana? Really? Steve makes a pretty powerful case. [...]

  7. Cameron said, on April 16, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Interesting post reminded me of quite an interesting marketing book. Have you read, “Welcome to the Creative Age: Bananas, Business and the Death of Knowledge”?. It is a discussion of the absurdities of big business.

    A small excerpt:

    “I had driven the two hours from London to spend a day fishing with some good friends, but had left my carefully packed lunch sitting on a shelf in my fridge back in North London. Hence the rummaging for something to sustain me through the day.And then I found it: a banana, enclosed in a stiff, banana-shaped,transparent plastic case with a yellow label bearing the words, ‘fresh banana snack’ and in even smaller print at the top of the label, above a childish illustration of a toy train, the branding, ‘Fruit on the Move’. ….
    It seemed to epitomize all that was wrong with the world of business I served: the pretence of added value. The addition of layers of unnecessary packaging and ‘gloss’. The patronizing attempt to control what meaning I as a consumer took from the object; to tell me what I already knew. Put simply: a banana is – by nature’s own design – a pre-wrapped fruit. This and its high energy content make it an ideal snack. These things I
    know. I have also learned (from an early age) that yellow bananas are fresh (I don’t eat the green or brown ones). And that, all in all, a banana’s characteristics make it a fairly ideal snack to be eaten ‘on the move’.

    It occurred to me that a significant group of people must have been involved in the development of this ‘added-value’ banana: not just the growers, shippers and distributors, but the marketing team, packaging designers and printers. I could imagine the amount of hot air and photocopying paper involved in creating this new wonder product. The ‘competitive analyses’ and the ‘positioning statements’ discussed and debated. And somebody must – at some point – have sanctioned the project as a good thing to do. Who was that masked man? ”

    Your post just reminded me of the book, and I thought I would share a small excerpt.

  8. adrianjankowiak said, on May 29, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Brilliant! I have to say I agree and also think the excerpt from the book Cameron gave is food for thought (no pun intended!). Makes you take more time to think over what you’re actually doing as a designer, not to be the next one who designs a ‘banana box’ :)

  9. marketing book shop said, on June 23, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Great! Thank you for your post.

  10. Yvonne said, on October 13, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Hey mate. Love the post. But I might have to challenge it. The ultimate packaging for the ultimate package? http://www.bananaguard.com/ !

    • Steve Sammartino said, on October 13, 2009 at 1:48 pm

      Well, I’d argue we don’t really need the banana guard. it’s more plastic the world doesn’t need…. but hey probably better than eating a squashed banana.

      Steve.

  11. sady said, on October 11, 2010 at 7:24 am

    My Packaging Design teacher told me this almost 20 years ago in Cuba’s Design University. And yes, it’s the best packaging: the banana!


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