29 March 2011

Awesome Packaging

As a father of two daughters, I have had frequent opportunities to spend countless quiet hours straining mightily to open the @#$!@!% packages that encase various dolls and small plastic toys. I'd almost come to the conclusion that the Package Engineering profession is wholly populated with misanthropic sadists who are paid by the hour... and when I say hour I mean the amount of time it takes to open the packaging they design.

However, today's post is not a rant about bad design. Quite the opposite. I am writing to report some good news of great joy. After years of suffering through unending inconveniences and unnecessarily difficulties associated with removing Object A from Package B, I am happy to report the discovery of an example of packaging design so simple, so thoughtful and so right that I almost wept.

The picture below, taken as always by my my handy-dandy, oh-so-out-of-focus little camera phone, shows this magnificent piece of customer-loving art:

In case it's difficult to tell, let me explain. This is a photo of a car charger for a cell phone. It is still in the package... except for the part that isn't. On the right side of the picture, you can see that the business end of the charger is actually sticking out of the package. When it's on display, that particular bit is snapped into a snug little concavity... but this thoughtful design allows potential customers to tug the cord free and actually plug it into their phone to make sure it fits, before actually buying it, bringing it home and opening it!

On the side of the package you can see the obligatory list of all the phone models this charger supports. But if you have your phone with you in the store (and you probably do, right?) you don't have to actually look at the list. You can just plug it in. If it fits, you've found the right charger. Buy it! If not, then keep looking.

This is a great example of literally thinking outside the box. I'm sincerely impressed that someone was able to challenge the unstated assumption that a product has to be inside the package... and in doing so, made life much easier for the consumer.

Now if only they'd do the same thing for Barbie...


Andy Wagner said...

Amazon has made this a bit of a quest: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000276271

Robert T. said...

Most of these types of packages that are difficult to get into are due to many retailers over the years asking for more theft proof packaging. It is unfortunately a harrowing project for the honest consumer.

The Dan Ward said...

@Andy - thanks for the tip on the Amazon quest... love it!

@Robert - I'm sure you're right. Surely there's a way to accommodate both, right?