19 July 2012

Just a Box


Before I took the leap and partnered with David to form our own company, Tabula Creative, I spent seven years as the marketing director of a privately held manufacturing company that fabricated a variety of precision metal components. When I started there, the company had grown old and tired, but I had big ideas about its possibilities. In the end, we were producing high end products for many remarkable companies, from Boeing to Barneys New York.

The company went under the microscope and everything had to be perfected, right down the line to the boxes that left the shipping dock to head out to our customers. We redesigned the boxes, labels and every detail of the package-- even a permanently placed "fragile" warning, because everything that we made deserved to be handled with care.

As I sat at my desk on the phone one day, I saw our (ancient) packaging rep walk past to the front door where he was about to make his departure, with a box proof in hand. Nobody had even thought to show it to me. The purchasing manager had approved it. Not so fast.

The company logo was typed in to create the new screening plates, using the wrong font, criminal spacing, and the red and the black screens were not even in alignment. The purchasing manager told me, "it's just a box." Had he known the lecture that would follow, I suspect he would have just have run to hide under his desk. In my world, the difference is in the details.

I loved this egg box that the bagger packaged my purchases in at Weaver's Way (a small food co-op) last weekend. It's simple, graphic, bold, and compelling. It doesn't even need the word "fragile" on it. Who would mis-handle a giant box of eggs?

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