Best Packaging Ever

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:


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


Protects interior


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

What can you learn from Nature?

How would nature package your product?



  1. MJPhoto · April 6, 2009

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

  2. amandablogandkiss · April 6, 2009

    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 · April 6, 2009

    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 · April 6, 2009

    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.


  5. Ross Hill · April 6, 2009

    I love this – we need some biomimicry ;)

  6. Pingback: Gobbledygook, Bananas and Hallways: 9 Links Worth Your Time This Week |
  7. Cameron · April 6, 2009

    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 · April 6, 2009

    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 · April 6, 2009

    Great! Thank you for your post.

  10. Yvonne · April 6, 2009

    Hey mate. Love the post. But I might have to challenge it. The ultimate packaging for the ultimate package? !

    • Steve Sammartino · April 6, 2009

      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.


  11. sady · April 6, 2009

    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!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s