24 Feb 2009 8:00 am   //   Filed under: Art, Failure, Typography

An appreication: Tropicana packaging, 2009-09

Item: The new Tropicana juice carton, designed by Arnell Group and introduced last month, is so loathed by customers that PepsiCo is switching back to the old design.

Let us raise a glass of juice and toast Tropicana for messing with the juice carton! The rejected design (which, by the way, took 30 people five months to develop) was just right for these times. It had simple graphics, bold san-serif type and a functional color scheme. The only illustration was a picture of the product in its purest form: juice in a glass. The horizontal bar on the top of each carton made it easy to spot the kind of juice you wanted in the supermarket. And best of all, the Tropicana carton included exactly one whimsical indulgence: A plastic cap shaped like an orange – easy to grip and twist, a surprise-and-delight feature.

Unfortunately, customers were unprepared for this bold leap toward modernism. And Tropicana caved once initial feedback proved negative. (Wasn’t at least one of those 30 design people in charge of customer research?) I enjoy orange juice at breakfast, and this carton was a nice thing to look at for a few seconds every morning. It will be missed. [Sound of “Danny Boy” being played on bagpipes.]