The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Design Changes Possibilities …

Yesterday I wrote about laziness in retail, well today I’m going to write about when you care deeply about it.

Have a look at this packaging:

Maybe it’s because I’m half Italian.

Maybe it’s because pasta is my undisputed favourite food.

Maybe it’s because the brand uses wheat from the region of Italy my family is from.

But how utterly glorious is it?!

It does everything packaging should do …

It is distinctive without trying too hard.

It shows the quality of the product inside.

It feels premium without being pretentious and charming without being childish.

It is a bloody masterpiece.

I love that because the pasta shape is an integral part of the packaging design, it allows the overall look to be clean while still being informative.

What’s even better is that while it started out as a project by Russian designer, Nikita Konkin … it ended up being turned into a real brand by German company, Greenomic Delikatessen, who bought the idea of Nikita.

Or said another way …

Creativity turned an everyday product into something with a highly desirable and distinctive commercial value.

Isn’t it funny how all those marketing training programs being flogged left, right and centre never talk about this sort of thing. Instead it’s all dot-to-dot processes to build identikit branded assets, eco-systems and strategy frameworks.

But then this also shows the difference between design and adland.

Designers identify real problems and look for ways to solve them with clarity, simplicity and distinctiveness. Whereas too many in adland choose what problem that want to solve and then add all manner of complexity to the solution in a bid to look like they’re fucking geniuses or to try and justify the ever decreasing fee the procurement department is forcing on them.

Remember Peggy?

The ‘innovation’ JWT Australia claimed ‘would allow their client to empower people to maximise their day through weather aggregation technology’. What that bullshit translated to was a ‘scam product and app’ that would tell you if it was going to rain so you’d know if you should hang your clothes out to dry

Yep, forget weather apps.


JWT was going to revolutionise the ‘washing line process’.

By making it longer, shitter and more expensive.


Unsurprisingly nothing happened with it because it was utter bollocks whereas everything happened for Nikita because he actually saw something that had real commercial value without extensive investment.

However in classic Russian melodrama style, he says he came up with the idea when he was “in love and perhaps this influenced me, though it could be just a coincidence” … which suggests he’s no longer in love and probably spending his time designing vodka bottles that look like your heart is dying. Or something.

I have written a lot in the past about the importance and value of design.

Whether it was the brilliant SONOS ‘sound waves‘ or the potential of using BK’s new logo as an emoji for food ordering.

Underpinning all of this is consideration, simplicity and craft.

Yes, I appreciate a personal project affords you more time than a client project … but designers are getting it right more often than adland and yet the talent in adland is there.

There’s tons of it. Everywhere.

And while there are still some amazing things coming out from the industry, I can’t help but feel design is pushing the possibilities of creativity more … which means the issue for adland must be something else.

Whether that is time, expectation, budgets or relationships, I’m not sure … but whatever it is, the attitude of ‘good enough is good enough’ is far too prevalent these days.

Or should I say, it is until someone like Nikita comes along and shows companies what they could have if they allow the experts to show them how they see the World rather than being told what to create by a committee of middle managers who value speed over quality and lack taste, judgement and real understanding of their audience.

It’s not easy to make something great.

But as a packet of pasta proves, it’s worth it.

Creatively, commercially and culturally.

16 Comments so far
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It’s not just gorgeous, I now want to eat pasta.

Comment by Pete

Me too … and it’s 8:30am here.

Comment by Rob

Since when did that stop you?

Comment by Pete

Since Jill was in the kitchen. Ha.

Comment by Rob

I had forgotten about Peggy. I wish you had let it stay that way.

Comment by Pete

Yeah …

What a surprise it just disappeared without a trace.

Anyone would think it was made for an award show or something. [Though, I was always under the impression that to win an award show, it had to be good]

Comment by Rob

Great design has answers few other disciplines can create. This is glorious and I love the story of where it started and what it led to.

Comment by George

Isn’t it just magnificent. When I saw it I was like, “wow”. You’d buy it even if you didn’t like pasta. Like that Absolute Disco Ball vodka packaging that resulted in a bloke who doesn’t drink buying it.

Comment by Rob

I just clicked on the link and saw that was 15 years ago. How?

Comment by George

You can eat more pasta than anyone I’ve ever seen. Do you still like it plain like the freak you are?

Comment by Bazza

Hahaha … yep, still love it ‘plain’. Drives Jill mad … especially as Otis now prefers it that way too. That’s my boy. Hahaha.

Comment by Rob

Social services have been informed.

Comment by John

Show the product. Make it remarkable. Done and done.

And so many possibilities for animating the idea in other media.

Comment by John

Yep … so simple but done with such imagination that it elevates it to so much more than just packaging. As demonstrated by the fact a company bought it because they could see what it could become.

I doubt this design could ever have been possible in a more structured design firm … with all manner of layers in it and a client who wants function more than imagination. Even though, as you said, there’s so much functional elements to it. They have just lifted them up rather than just plonked them down.

Comment by Rob

Love this.

Comment by Jemma King

The packaging is exquisite but so is the story behind it. Thank you Robert.

Comment by Lee Hill

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