How Fast Food Packaging Should Be Designed


I’ve been on a documentary kick lately. I just saw shows like Super Size Me, and Killer at Large: Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat. I think childhood obesity is a big issue that won’t go away easily. Companies are bombarding kids with messages that undermine parents. So my views on the subject matter is a bit colored.


I’m a big fan of using design to solve problems and using infographics to educate or simplify messages. Here’s my take on how fast food packaging should be designed. I put this rough mockup together in a few minutes, but hopefully the point gets across. However I doubt that fast food companies would actually implement this as it wouldn’t be in their best interest to do this.

I was inspired by the ClearRX system designed by a visual arts grad student for Target prescriptions.

Another source of inspiration is the Steve Jobs presentation style. His messages are clear and concise. For example, he doesn’t say how many gigabytes an iPod has, because it’s too abstract. What does that mean to the users? An iPod can store 10,000 songs. That’s relevant to the consumers.

So putting the caloric information in terms that people would understand was important. My thought was that if people understood that eating this portion of fries equated to having to run on the treadmill for over half an hour, that is more tangible that 380 calories. What does that even mean 380 calories?

Slideshare is also a great resource for finding inspiring and well designed presentations. I’m also a big fan of the Nancy Duarte school of presentation design. She’s the person responsible for designing Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth presentation.

Popularity: 33% [?]

Concept UI: iPad Curved Keypad


With all the buzz going on with the release of Apple’s new iPad – a multitouch tablet computer, my friend Scott Robbin came up with a keyboard concept that he believes is an improvement from what Apple is offering. I thought it was a great idea because made the tablet work like a blackberry almost. You used your thumbs to enter the key strokes as opposed to hunting and pecking with one hand while holding the iPad with the other. It also had the advantage of not obstructing the center with your hands or the keyboard.


However I thought that Scott’s concept, as well as the original iPad soft keyboard have limitations of their own, namely that both require you to use both hands. Scott’s post sparked my own idea of a soft keyboard that would require only one hand to operate.


You’ll have to forgive the actual design, but I whipped it together in a few minutes using the Shear filter in Photoshop. The point is that the curved keypad allows you to use your thumb to type while holding the iPad with the same hand. This way, you use the iPad on the train or bus if you had to hold onto the railing. Naturally if you were left handed, you could flip the keyboard to the other side.

Popularity: 35% [?]

Feature Driven vs Design Driven



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Hack T-Shirt Designer


Roundarch (my employer) is having a t-shirt design contest for the summer company annual event. The winner will not only enjoy seeing her work being worn by all her colleagues but she will also win an Amazon Kindle.

I’m not really a graphic designer, but I decided to throw my hat into the game. If you guys like it enough, sign into the site and vote for it. Thanks

Popularity: 2% [?]

Lessons from Industrial Design at SXSW 09

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Went to the panel titled “We Have Been Objectified: Identity, Consumerism, and the Future of Designed Objects”
This session related to the film “Objectified” by Gary Hustwit (of Helvetica fame).

I took away from this panel 3 lessons:

  1. Tell a story. Your product should speak to the user.
  2. Build lots and lots. There is no secret to successful design other than trying out many variations and seeing what works.
  3. Everything should be intentional. This applies to the Pareto principle (aka the 80-20 rule). Average products satisfy the 80 percent of your needs. It’s the products that go the extra 20 percent that truly stand out.
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