Undoubtedly, the graphic design of consumer product packaging in Europe is more sophisticated that similar products in the United States. I’m not exactly sure why, but often European brands adhere to modernist design principles, and as such, packages and labels reflect a less-is-more aesthetic. American counterparts are often festooned with wanton drop shadows and visual textures which most certainly evoke a more emotional than rational purchasing choice. The more matter-of-fact mode of visual communication favored by European brands seems to be influencing some major U.S. brands. Tropicana quietly relaunched their line of orange juice in the U.S. last week, and the redesign is significantly more Euro in terms of style than the well-established U.S. counterpart. Tropicana has even harmonized the names of its line—renaming “Grovestand” (again, a folksy, homespun, quintessential American moniker) to “High Pulp” (which is a significantly more British-style mode of description)—with international counterparts.
Perhaps this is only the tip of the iceberg, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll begin to see some truly functional and well-designed consumer product and food packaging, rather than decorative visual noise that simply panders to masses of overstimulated and bored American consumers.