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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

September 25, 2020

1 Min Read
Photo credit: Fotos 593 – adobe.stock.com

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.

View post on Twitter


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.


View post on Twitter


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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