It’s the day after Thanksgiving. We’re thinking about leftovers and we’re sure you are too. The turkey, the potatoes, the stuffing, saturated with gravy...sometimes they’re better than the actual meal! As we ruminate on this, we’re not only getting hungry, but we’re also thinking about a different kind of leftovers: all the boxes & bags that inevitably come along with everyday purchases and unsolicited marketing materials accumulating around the house.
Blessed by the convenience of ecommerce, we’re now swimming in more of these “leftovers” than ever before. When we shopped in stores, we found products like produce naked on tables ripe for the picking or glistening boxes begging to be put into our carts. But to survive the journey through the postal system all the way to our homes, products need more protection - and more protection means more packaging. When email began to proliferate, most would have predicted a secular decline in snail mail. And while far fewer of us are writing handwritten notes personally or professionally, our mailboxes are as stuffed to the gills with marketing materials as they’ve ever been. But before you toss your next MacBook or meal kit box, makeup mailer trade magazine, take a closer look. While hardly as valuable as the associated product or not necessarily something you’d have paid for unprompted, they are often remarkable objects.
Products & packaging are designed to grab our attention. To do this, each is made out of a consistent set of components - visual Foundations - like shape, color, light, texture, figure, and type, that capture our gaze and compel us to buy. Commercial photographers & designers bring to life carefully orchestrated visual scenes of family, romance, coming of age, and more - scenes that feel familiar. Squint and you can begin to see their potential energy, as building blocks for bringing to life your own creative ideas.
We’re confident that anyone can tap these artistic opportunities with a simple mindset shift: to think of the leftovers as key ingredients to new beginnings, not the rejects and leave behinds. In his, Philosophy, Andy Warhol said he liked “to work on the leftovers.” What stories do you want to tell? How can your leftovers help you?Challenge: Find a packaging or mass media leftover and use it for a collage.