The world at the moment is all about social. Social media, Tweetups, networking, real user accounts.
Something I heard recently made me wonder how this applies to packaging and product design…
A few months back, I saw Kevin McCloud presenting at the Hay Festival.
He spoke about being a designer and how he got a gig designing dinner services. Aside from the fact that a spoon is, apparently, the most difficult thing to design, one story he told really made an impact.
During the dinner gig, he visited the factory where the dinner services were made. It was a small, artisan studio in Portugal that, incredibly, output the entire volume of these dinner services. No small undertaking given that the services were ranged by a significant high street retailer.
And, in this tiny factory, worked three people.
That was it. Creating the entire range.
Kevin had one, simple, question after visiting the factory.
“Why were these people’s faces not on the packaging?”
There were, after all, only three of them. It wouldn’t have taken up much space.
But the human connection would have been immeasurable.
We don’t have much of a connection with most of the stuff we buy. I don’t know who made my dinner service. I’ve got even less idea who made my sofa, my cooker or clothes I wear.
But, by putting three portrait shots on the box, a connection could have been made. A powerful connection. A connection that, as human beings we’re hard-wird to make (have you ever seen a face in a cloud? Or the Virgin Mary in a cookie? Same principle).
What impact would this small action have made on the value of the product?
As a consumer, how would you respond? Would you take more care over the service, knowing that a real person had created it, rather than a faceless automaton?
What would have happened to the worth of the product, over and above its financial and useful values?
These are some key, core questions that I think we should all ask ourselves when working on our next customer facing product, even if it isn’t a box for a dinner service.
How can we link our products back to those who created them to make this human connection?
Which begs the question, how much is your face worth?