Multi Tasking & Mono Tasking
When we think about packaging we think about artefacts that we normally use in isolation or with some amount of concentration and focus but it could not be further from the truth. Packaging isn't sold in isolation and nor is it consumed in isolation. We are usually multitasking at every major touch point from wondering down our retail isles, whilst we are cooking or to being distracted by other people or things in our environment. Mobile technology of course has to be one of the biggest and most obvious current distractions with even men being able to or attempting to multitask, I jest of course. The truth about packaging is that it does its job so well from an engineering perspective that we don't need to think about it, we only notice packaging when it fails us.
From Personal Experience
I noticed my lack of multitasking ability with packaging when waking up at 3am early one morning whilst trying to give milk to my son. Trying to open a supposedly great example of packaging the Tetra Pak Rex carton which had not been opened yet and was completely filled with milk. O.K. the lights were out. I had one hand free whilst holding my son and I managed to open the carton on the wrong side meaning this lead me to pouring badly, which in turn made me spill the milk everywhere. Is packaging failing my multitasking needs or am I being unrealistic with my expectations? Surely I should be able to feel tactilely which is the right side to open the carton which would allow me to poor the milk the right way? Or maybe the engineering of the product should enable us to open and pour from any side? I believe you should be able to use any product blind folded. It does beg the question, can packaging really help us to multitask better in the future or even monotask? Should we be designing product-packaging that does not allow us to multitask, yet only enables us to monotask? Why I hear you ask? Surely brands want our undivided attention maybe in the future we will be asked to design packaging that can only be opened with two hands, that encourages us to spend more quality time with products. A product that needs our admiration, full attention, a spiritual ritual and desired product-packaging experience. Dramatic I know but you get my point. Let's be honest there are not many of these experiences out there but I'm sure for many people, Apple product-packaging springs to mind. If you are not an Apple fan and don't understand what the fuss is all about then the closest you will get to it without opening an Apple product is looking at the mass of youtube videos of people videoing their Apple packaging experience. In essence these people are multitasking whilst missing their monotasking experience just because they want to share their experience. A product-packaging experience you want to share, powerful stuff.
As specialist packaging and brand designers we know that to create those powerful wow moments in product-packaging you have to understand every touch point in the consuming experience to understand if the product will demand multitasking or monotasking support.
Inspired article from Paolo Cardini speech.
Paolo Cardini: Forget multitasking, try monotasking, Qatar
People aren’t just cooking anymore -- they’re cooking, texting, talking on the phone, watching YouTube and uploading photos of the awesome meal they just made. Designer Paolo Cardini questions the efficiency of our multitasking world and makes the case for -- gasp -- "monotasking." His charming 3D-printed smartphone covers just might help.