Sunday, November 25, 2012

Which is better—Retro or Retro Retro?

Deciding to put a little shine into the holiday, I bought some silver polish. The hardware store guy suggested a brand that seemed familiar but different. Once home, I checked my shelf of cool, empty tins and boxes and saw the Nevr-Dull my grandmother endorsed about 30 years ago (when I last bought polish).

The old can is charmingly retro (purchased in the late 1970s, it looks 1940s or 50s); the new can is updated but dull. The silver packaging is understandable, but with the pedestrian typography, the result is gray and implies work (as opposed to all the fun the folks are having making life spic-and-span on that red and blue can). The new can doesn't use its real estate to note that wadding polish is "Money Saving," and the tip-top of its lid—possibly undesigned in order to save money—misses an opportunity to tout the product's name and virtues.

It would be an interesting exercise to assign yet another redesign as a student design project.

BTW, I never used the silver polish. I simply put the can on a tarnished tray as a still life/signifier of work waiting to happen. 

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