Archive for the ‘Analysis’ Category

Delightful Details in Dirty Design


I recently received a Dirt Candle in the gift bag at a big environmental event.  The good folks at Dirt seem to be right on target with their efforts at consumer interaction and are getting their story out in interesting ways which have obviously been carefully crafted.  They present themselves as being environmentally friendly, socially conscious, and their candles as affordable luxuries.  


Those are soybeans

Those are soybeans

The first exposure most people will have to them will be their package design.  This is true for a lot of products and why it’s such an important aspect; and it’s one that Dirt Candles has done very well.
Note "Maker" and "Tester" initials

Note "Maker" and "Tester" initials...


Mine got rained on getting home, so the scans aren’t great, but the text, images, color palette, typography, layout, it’s all done extremely well.  My favorite detail is the text printed on the bottom of the box:

You are clearly the inquisitive type, as most people do not look at the bottom of a box.  Since you have though, we will let you in on  a little secret.  Why Dirt?  Well, for a company that is dedicated to using only natural ingredients, dirt is as much a life-blood as oxygen.  Please remember to recycle — thank you.

Makes the consumer feel smart and feel included, just for turning the box over.

Of course, it helps that the candle inside this great box seems to live up to the hype.

Too often, great package design is used to make up for crappy products.  Marketing, branding, positioning, advertising, all the myriad aspects of consumer interaction are critically important, but shouldn’t be lies.  You may fool people into buying your widget once, but they will hate you for it.


Political Branding Missteps

Politicians have a brand; and just like any brand, care must be taken to protect it from careless negative impacts. Oddly enough, I encountered two such hits last week. Both are minor, but still…


Hillary Rodham Clinton

The folks at Senator Clinton’s PAC made the interesting choice of cutting off communications the weekend before the election:

Image of email sent from HillPAC Staffer

Image of email sent from HillPAC Staffer

Ok, probably it wasn’t their choice, per se. And it’s not like she’s personally up for anything in the November 4th elections. Still, this is a time period when there’s likely to be a huge amount of political activity overall, and it just seems odd. Which is not something a politician wants to project.


Adam Clayton Powell, IV

This one is very minor as well, and maybe it’s just my personal bizarre visual memory that registers (or cares) that this graphic from the Assemblyman’s recent direct mailer is a blatant ripoff:

Scan of Powell direct mailer

Scan of Powell direct mailer

Maybe nobody else remembers the Sylvester Stallone / Michael Cain / Pelé soccer movie, or its poster image:


VICTORY movie poster.  Look at the cuffs.

VICTORY movie poster. Look at the cuffs.




But is annoys me that some intern photoshopped the original and plastered it on Powell’s direct mailer. Even if you wanted to steal the idea, how hard would it have been to take a digital camera and at least create your own source image?

Both of these issues are very small blips on the radar, I grant you. But in a “market” where the public impression is that there is so little difference between competing “products”, shouldn’t someone be paying attention to these details?