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January 1, 2008
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GET YOUR (LIT) FIX
To mark the smoking ban that hit the UK this summer, London-based creative agency Tank launched a series of books packed in cigarette flip-top cartons, replete with silver foil wrapping and a cellophane outer seal. Paying homage to what it describes as a “monumentally successful piece of packaging design”, the agency is publishing Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych and other equally iconic works in formats that fit snugly inside standard-sized cigarette packs. The books are on sale throughout the UK (and internationally some time this year) at a cover price of £6.99. Try one, the firm says, and you’ll be hooked (www.tankmagazine.com/tankbooks).
VISUAL FOR THE HEARING IMPAIRED
The jagged graphics on this digital hearing aid are printed so that, as the box is slowly removed from its semi-translucent sleeve, they create the illusion of a digital sound wave in action. The Danish multi-discipline design firm Goodmorning Technology (www.gmtn.dk) developed the package for Widex hearing aids. To see the effect in real time, enter the phrase “Widex Raster Packaging” in the search field on YouTube, www.youtube.com. Kudos to Goodmorning for a low-tech design that has a super relevant high-tech effect!
ABSINTHE IS BACK
After nearly a century as a banned substance, absinthe was recently approved for sale in the United States. But it’s been a cautious undertaking. St. George Spirits, an Aladema, Calif., distillery went through seven renditions of its label with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the government agency that approves alcohol packaging. The bureau had various issues with copy and graphics on the label (design/production by Gregg McGreevy of Egg Graphic Design; illustration by Bethany Steinsieck), but the distillery’s Lance Winters told the New York Times he thought they simply didn’t like the monkey. “I had the image of a spider monkey beating on a skull with [a] femur,” he said, explaining the agency thought the label “implied that there are hallucinogenic, mind-altering or psychotropic qualities” to the product. Winters response to that charge? “You get all that just from looking at a monkey?”

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