Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cardboard Box Art. I've always liked the simple images you find printed onto functional cardboard boxes. At a time when most graphic communication is over-sophisticated and pretentious the sight of a basic pictogram warning a warehouseman to go easy with his Stanley Knife warms the cockles of my heart. I cut the above example off a box found this week and the image seems to be a more eccentric variation of the message "careful with your knife when opening this box". My interpretation is this: Don't insert your beef-slicing cleaver into this packaging or you might split the thread on the bobbins inside, especially when wearing a dickie-bow.

More cardboard art to follow.


Boring Being said...

Ikea do them well - the one urging the baffled would-be flatpack constructor to phone them for advice is done particularly well. Years ago, one of my tutors designed a set of pictograms instructing some tribesmen in Papua New Guinea on how to use outboard motors. One of the images had a hand pointing to a vital part. The tribesmen took this a bit literally and went on raids hacking off the hands of their enemies, and tying them onto the motors so they'd "work properly".

I like the naive designs on some fruit boxes - the badly-drawn skateboarder holding an apple in each hand immediately comes to mind.

John Bagnall said...

Gulp, BB, I think your Papua New Guinea story proves that visual instructions don't necessarily communicate to all cultures! I do prefer a pointing hand image to the plain graphic arrow though, especially if it has that royal-looking spiky cuff round the wrist.

And yes, fruit boxes have some great gratuitous designs, but sadly, you don't see them in supermarkets. One I need to see again and photograph was for broccoli and featured a Barbarella style saucy 60s nude daubed in green psychedelic body paint. The only link with this arresting image and vegetables was the colour green. I haven't been lucky to see the apple gripping skateboarder box yet, but will keep an eye open.