Designing Quality, Morality and downright Decency

It came to my attention in the news the other day of children becoming seriously ill and even leading to fatalities from drinking unpasteurised milk. If you aren’t aware here are two links to news.com.au articles identifying these hazards. View them now.

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/beauty/victorian-health-department-issues-warning-over-deadly-raw-milk/story-fneszy80-1227152414631

http://www.news.com.au/national/victoria/cosmetic-milk-controversy-killer-milk-finally-pulled-from-shelves/story-fnii5sms-1227154608377

Do you see the problem? How is this design related? Hopefully to you these answers are rhetorical. If not, then that makes me feel unsettled. The issue is that unpasteurised milk is packaged and labeled like regular milk. They have a cow on the front label; same bottles with the same bottle tops, and the same colours one would see on a regular bottle of milk. If fact I’ll bring up one of the photos from the news article and put it next to a bottle of milk in my fridge.

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Not much difference, is there?Would you easily mistake them if they were side by side in your fridge at 6am when you wake up?

Okay, so from a purely design stand point are the designers to blame? Partially.

Alright so I may be new to this field and I don’t know a lot of the workings and what ropes to pull but, when it comes to children fatalities and the prevention of such a horrid thing I am hoping there is some sort of quality control, code of practice or Australian standard that prevents such a thing occurring.

What was going through the designers mind when creating a product label? I guess I shouldn’t be the one behind the gun here. Honestly, an event like this is rare on occasion and even harder to fathom.

So, we now have a problem and as graphic designers it’s our duty to solve those problems through visual elements.

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Here’s a general brainstorm and concept sketch and you’ll see it takes time and brain power to try and distinguish between consumable milk and bath milk. It may be as easy as changing the milk bottle to a shampoo and conditioner bottle and you can tell the two apart long enough to drink one and not the other.

With the age of technology we have now and the ability to draw up a quick solution to package design in adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, it is now easier to get what you need and damn the consequences. Websites that provide clients with what they want without any design conjecture and at a minimal amount may be doing more harm than good.

We expect our cars to work and our houses we live in to stay upright and they do because they have vigorously gone through a set of stringent standards to provide safety as well as a quality product. It’s imperative in graphic design to produce high quality work for your client’s customers as well as solving your clients problems that achieves the same level, if not higher, in safety.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Any comments or feedback or your own opinion on the matter is appreciated.

-Scott

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