Food labels perform many functions, both intentional and unintentional, and it's vital that supermarkets and other companies charged with producing items meant for consumption take this kind of presentation seriously. It can be more than a matter of the text, and also involve utilizing graphical elements and aesthetic preconceptions to communicate a certain message. If designers of such labels aren't careful, that message could lead people astray.
A piece by Marc Weisblott for Canada.com recently documented the case of Shopper's Drug Mart, a chain that has been presenting food in packages he interprets to be slightly misleading. The key word he uses is "clinical," referring to the muted colors and text bubbles on items as diverse as candy, nuts and chocolate. The discrepancy appears to come from Shopper's in-house brand of food, which Weisblott claims never escaped its health-centered origins.
Now that the chain is being bought by Loblaw, it remains to be seen what changes will be made. But Weisblott makes it sound like this might be an improvement over the previous designs.
"Did anyone think the kettle cooked peanuts were healthier because of all the small print on the packaging?" Weisblott asked in the article. "Could a tub of gummy worms that resembled a dental floss dispenser make you feel like your teeth were being improved in the process? Who wants their tortilla chip bag to look like something prescribed by a doctor?"
Unsure how to make labels that don't send the wrong message? A Primera LX900 color label printer is one possible solution that might make it easier for companies to judge their products before sending them out to the public.
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