Abstract Packs (Concept)

Derrick Lin


Designed by Jones Knowles Ritchie, United Kingdom.

I was struck by this interpretation of the Mona Lisa by Gary Andrew Clarke – while remixed down to 140 exact circular dots it still has a familiarity, despite being very abstracted.

I wondered how many ‘iconic’ pack designs would fare if treated in the same way, so I asked the artist to road test a few. He kindly obliged and below are the results….enjoy them as ‘art’ first perhaps, then try and pick out the brands.

I had a few surprises – I naturally assumed Coke would reign supreme, but the slightly fiddly nature of the line and script did not survive the test. Kellogg’s though, with its more distinctive shape, fared far better. Colman’s turned out to have little left at this degree of abstraction, whereas Marlboro clearly still reads.

A couple of conclusions: firstly, the brands abstracted look pretty cool as art huh? Secondly, one would assume that putting super-bold graphics through the same filter that was applied to a murky, mostly brown, old master’s painting would leave them comparatively well placed – that this is not always the case suggests they might not all be as recognisable when abstracted as we would have assumed.

And finally, strong shapes on pack prove to offer the best chances of survival of this process to retain recognition. This is interesting if one considers that many consumers are shopping products with impaired vision and no glasses on – it’s quite an illuminating test of graphic equities in a world where packs are ‘read’ at a glance without 20-20 vision.