The Juice Box series is designed minimally, yet is able to allow people to make an immediate connection with them.
When designing packaging, designers most often use text and image to convey what the product is. This tends to lead to packaging that is convoluted with information in the hopes of making it stand out from the competitors.
Naoto Fukasawa is a Japanese product designer and his approach is influenced by an Eastern philosophy called ‘hari’, which involves the concept of tension and balance. Fukasawa said, “In product design, hari is about finding the most suitable shape to express an object, or rather for the object to express itself.” (LaughingSquid). Fukasawa designs for people to experience his designs that present only the essential values and he approached his juice box designs with less explaining what it is, and more allowing the packaging to speak for itself (Fukasawa).
The Juice Box series was designed for the Haptic Exhibition held it Tokyo is 2004, and the boxes were designed with the color and texture of the flavor the boxes contained (Beachpackaging). This has been done so effectively by having it in the shape of a rectangle like a traditional juicebox, but having it look and feel like a fruit, so it no longer needs any extra information because people can immediately know what they are purchasing. The details add more to the product as well; the seed-texture of the strawberry or the hairy shell of a kiwi makes people want to pick it up and feel it, and it is almost as if they plucked it right off a tree and could start drinking from it, making it much more natural and less processed. This natural perception stimulates our senses and makes our mouths tingle like when biting into a strawberry, which makes the packaging all that more impactful.
Why are people so drawn to designs inspired by nature? When we see something beautiful, it triggers an innate feeling within us and we instinctively reach out to pick it up and feel it. Naoto Fukasawa brings in the idea of ‘Without Thought’, which he explains as our subconscious behavior and the actions we impulsively take without the involvement of the mind, which makes these actions smoother and much more comfortable (Frieze). With his juice boxes, by mimicking the fruits of the juices, they present themselves as natural, and we can already taste them just from looking at them, and it makes the relationship between product and consumer much more simple, honest, and uncomplicated.
Contrasting to Fukasawa’s design, here is another packaging done for juice boxes. It plays in a similar way in that it is shaped like the fruit and has the colors of its contents, but why does it not have the same appeal as Fukasawa’s design? Their bright colors and sharp angles make them appear very mechanical, whereas Fukasawa focused on the smaller details, such as the seeds of the strawberry or the soft green colors of the banana. The corners have also been carefully folded to be rounded out, and it is these small subtleties that make Fukasawa’s designs more natural and they present themselves more as fruits than packaging designed to fake a fruit.
This visual metaphor of fruits that Fukasawa has utilized in a simple and minimalistic manner with great attention to detail has resulted in a packaging that draws our attention and it enhances our senses and experience through its connection with nature and the tangible feelings of its textures.