GOOD Design Daily: Are Unbranded Cigarettes Too Ugly to Smoke?
We all know that smoking is bad and that we probably shouldn't do it, but how can design help communicate this more effectively to actually change behavior? In the U.K., where cigarette packages already scream out SMOKING CAUSES FATAL LUNG CANCER, a new law is being considered that would eradicate the branding from packs, making all packaging a generic shade of brown or grey. The idea being that it's the bright, candy-wrapper graphics that "recruit" smokers, and an ugly box would be less alluring, especially to kids. So, for the magazine ICON, the design firm Build imagined how packs of Marlboros would look in a logo-less, brand-less world.
It's only a hypothetical project, of course, and the major problem with these is they don't look any less designed than other cigarette packaging out there. (I think they actually look cooler.) The real issue to consider is if a minimal brown or gray package will really discourage people from buying cigarettes. According to a BBC story, it's been proven that "glitzy packaging" attracts children and health officials simply want to try an alternative approach to see if it works. Detractors will say that if you want to smoke, you're not going to care what the package looks like. But if you think the argument about branding is moot, look at Camel's "Williamsburg" cigarettes, which some people said they purchased explicitly because of the packaging. More details and packaging shots are on Build's site.