FOR SALE: Over 200 Innovative Solutions in Packaging Design
Back in Febuary we featured John Foster’s work for the So-Cal Fire Poster Project . Recently John contacted us regarding his latest project, a book on packaging design entitled FOR SALE: Over 200 Innovative Solutions in Packaging Design. The book features many of the designers we’ve featured on Grain Edit including: Invisible Creature, Wink, Jason Munn of The Small Stakes and Burlesque of North America. In the exchange below John shares some of his thoughts on the book for Grain Edit Readers.
Your last book, “New Masters of Poster Design,” really captured a worldwide return of an important application of design (you might have noticed we enjoy a poster or two around here) - what made you turn your focus to packaging design?
Well, poster design is still my one true love and always will be. However, the point of that book was to curate a collection that would turn the world on to this amazing movement going on under their noses. With “For Sale,” I saw something similar; this amazing wave of packaging design we are experiencing. Only this time the renaissance is so close to the consumer that they don’t even realize it. Selling products in a fragmented marketplace is more and more challenging and I wanted to show the designers who were up to the task.
Besides seeing so many of my favorite folks included, the first thing I noticed was the broad range of firms featured.
Yeah yeah yeah! That was vital to me. I wanted to profile huge global corporate work from the likes of Sterling and Wink (two totally different approaches) as well as cutting edge music packaging like Seripop to everything in-between.
Speaking of music packaging, the book features a good bit but doesn’t overwhelm, what was the deciding factor on including certain firms in this field?
A few folks are just making breath-taking work but really the designer had to be offering more in the experience with the consumer. Folks like Sub Pop and Invisible Creature are pushing for ways to make the CD vital in an itunes world - and succeeding! Other folks like Sleep Op or BankerWessel or Jewboy just make painfully thoughtful designs that speak directly to the audience in ways only they can.
That also touches on the range notion. The balance between new guns and the old guard.
The caveat is to be making important work. Sharon Werner made Target’s cleaning goods section a joy to be in. Sagmeister still sells clients on producing his concepts to the fullest like no one else in the industry, Art Chantry will always be Art Chantry and it tickles me (and is an important distinction) that he still doesn’t use a computer in his work. The “kids” are just catching my eye with mind-blowing work.
It seems like a sense of humor caught your eye as well.
Guilty as charged. Some of the pieces from Modern Dog like I”m Not Gay, I jUst Like Rainbows and Methane’s barrage of gum packaging just crack me up. I also don’t care much for pretension in design for the most part. Pentagram’s Saks packaging is here because it is so playful and witty in the way it deconstructs the black and white brand.
You not only wrote the book but designed it as well. Sounds like doing double duty.
It certainly magnifies the work. My first book was designed by the publisher and I won’t ever do that again with a collection like this. Having had my own work featured in books or catalogs that left me scratching my head, I really strive to create an environment where the work itself gets to sing.
Any ultra secret behind the scenes items we can be let in on before you go?
Ha ha - no. If I let you in on my super double secret curating process than my publishing career will be over! I will tell you that I actually took a lot of photographs for this book myself so that I could retain a consistent airiness in the design and give the proper perspective in a comprehensive shot whenever possible. (Thats a mouthful!) Thank goodness for the natural lighting in the alley next to my office. Not that I wasn’t already busy enough playing writer and designer but I thought it important enough to go the extra mile to get it right. I hope I at least have that in common with the stellar designers shown within.
We’d like to thank John for taking the time to share with us. For those interested, You can purchase a copy of FOR SALE: Over 200 Innovative Solutions in Packaging Design here.