When we create products, we normally want to label them, or add some form of information to them. Whether it be for branding, instructing, categorising, identifying, educating, or any other purpose, we need to get information onto our products.
For some products, we design packaging, on which we can go-to-town on, adding information, especially branding. But some products come with their own packaging, or do not require packaging.
Are stickers a necessary evil?
When a farmer produces plums for example, plums come with their own packaging, and it may be the case that the farmer wishes to “brand” his product, because he would like it to be distinguishable from other farmers plums. This is totally understandable. Just as Coca Cola wants to be distinguishable from Pepsi, or any other cola drink, so does the farmer.
Thanks to nature producing her own packaging though, the farmer cannot design the packaging, and hence cannot add the information/branding to the plum….unless he smacks a sticker on it….SMACK!
Whether it’s fruit or any other product, stickers can be a pain. Sure, the farmer, or any other product designer/owner, gets his message across…
But what about the user experience?
Let’s start with the plum. We need to remove the sticker before eating it. But plums are soft, meaning you can’t go hard at the skin or else it will squash or break. So removing the sticker is a pain point for the “user”. It actually takes some dexterity to remove stickers from plums.
What about lemons, ok, we don’t eat the lemon peel, but we do need to cut the lemon open to use it. And where is the sticker normally stuck? Exactly where you want to drive your knife through. If you try to cut it, the sticker pieces can go anywhere. It can get stuck to the knife, it can go into your lemon, you don’t know. That’s a user pain point, lack of control. Hence we normally remove the sticker before cutting (bet you never knew why you removed that sticker, now you do).
Here is another typical product sticker issue. No thought has gone into how this sticker will be removed. No thought has gone into the full user experience, from start to finish. Did the designer honestly believe we were going to leave the sticker on the product forever? Did somebody say narcissistic?
The difficult to remove sticker is the same issue you have when you buy plates and cups, even the better brands suffer from this bad UX. And speaking of “better” brands, here is Nike, a world class sports design company, if not the best in the world, doing a half-arsed user experience job. They had the time, money, and patience to print the logo on the insole of this sneaker. They even had the time to sow a printed tag. But sneaker materials….
nah, no money for that, whack a sticker on it!
I did attempt to remove the sticker before using the sneakers, but alas it wasn’t easy, so I gave up. Was that the goal? Was that Nike’s intention? I highly doubt it.
So the door is wide open, ready for solutions.
Psst! both Google and Amazon have “free” image learning algorithms.
You could use it to recognise fruit & veg.. hint hint…
Citizenrod | art | design | think