Man Loses Sleep Over Failed Packaging Design

A graphic designer can use a variety of design tools to differentiate products in a line. An easy one is simply changing colors. That’s why this #PackagingFail never should have happened.

Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor

September 25, 2020

1 Min Read
Photo credit: Fotos 593 –

What mastermind at The Genius Brand thought it would be a good idea to make the packaging of two opposite products in a line of supplements look nearly identical? That’s what Twitter poster Sam Hulick is wondering. He mistakenly took two caffeine pills before bedtime instead of a sleep aid.

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This self-described composer, developer, entrepreneur, husband, cat dad, co-founder/CEO of @ReelCrafter — probably with no formal packaging design training — even had suggestions of his own on how to fix what he saw as a preventable confusion.


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Perhaps the company (or the label printer) printed the different product labels in the same print run to save money on color plates (called gang-run printing). That happens quite often; a secondary benefit is less material waste.

But using different colors isn’t the only option. TALLman lettering — a technique that uses uppercase lettering to help differentiate look-alike drug names — is used quite successfully in pharmaceutical labeling.

The National Institutes of Health warns against taking medicines in the dark because errors are common — but it happens all the time anyway. Knowing that — and with packaging designers more interested in improving the user’s experience anyway — I wonder if anyone is using or looking at using glow-in-the-dark ink???

About the Author(s)

Lisa McTigue Pierce

Executive Editor, Packaging Digest

Lisa McTigue Pierce is Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. She’s been a packaging media journalist since 1982 and tracks emerging trends, new technologies, and best practices across a spectrum of markets for the publication’s global community. Reach her at [email protected] or 630-272-1774.

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