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What the Hell Does UnDigital Mean?

Designed by Magdalena Czarnecki (@tjaneski) at the SNASK agency in Stockholm.

Oumph! is a new and hyped brand with dynamic packaging by the SNASK agency. Not only is it a very well done design that captures the tastiness of the food, but serves as a good example of the UnDigital trend, and gives us a chance to better define the our term.

Oumph! is a brand in the new trend of food made entirely of beans. The claim is "This product will turn meat-lovers vegan!" This design caught our eye on Packaging of the World because:

  • It's an eco-friendly sustainable product–a major part of its customer appeal and brand loyalty–because the beans it is made from are ecologically grown in a sustainable manner, and replace the much more unsustainable meat and fish farming.

  • The combination of dynamic design, food styling and photography makes the food look so tasty that it is not associated with eco-friendly sustainable foods. In this way it takes it out of one category and creates a whole new category, which will appeal to a wider section of the market.

  • It also has a punk element of graffiti or street art, in the slashing letters. Which brings us to the next reason this design caught our eye:

  • The design contains elements of the UnDigital, which is a major new trend.

See the original post Oumph! - The New and Hyped Veggie Brand on Packaing of the World.

Origin of the term "UnDigital":

We chose to call this trend the "UnDigital" because of its parallel to the term "Undead". My husband and I are horror fans and love a good zombie movie. The term undead is acurate because zombies aren't alive, but they aren't dead in the sense that we usually know dead to be. They are "undead" which, contains and conveys the contrast.

"UnDigital" therefore does NOT mean anti-digital, or that digital tools have not been used in production, especially at the far end. Instead it means that non-digital, analog methods–generally done by hand and containing the imperfections of hand crafted designs–have small imperfections that give an added level of texture and experience to a design.

"UnDigital" Defined:

This is the term we have been using the last few months for any design that has several of these elements.

  • First is that somewhere along the line in the creative process some content was created by hand.

  • That may be hand-written typography, hand-drawn illustrations, handmade etchings or cut-outs, or silk screened images, type or logos.

  • Second is that the packaging material, generally the card stock, often has a softness as it is usually made from recycled paper or is a lower grade and is a softer color. This creates a visual texture that calls out to the hands to be picked up and handled. It is a package that, though it may not scream "BUY ME!" gently encourages the shopper to take it home and "Live with me". (See our post on Alex Center.)

  • Third, the designs often harken back to the early pre-digital age of the brand's existence. It is a turn away from the glossy, digitally-stylized and perfect designs of recent years. It is simple, friendly, inviting and gives a feeling of coming back to one’s roots. (See Uncle Ben's)

  • The UnDigital package says, Respect yourself, give your eyes a break. Take a time-out, you deserve it and your eyes need it! And in this way reinforces positive feelings, self-respect and confidence, all of which adds into the consumer experience of the brand.

  • It is unpretentious. It doesn't scream from the shelf. (And perhaps a few mothers with screaming two-year-olds will appreciate that visual calm!)

Example: Digital (left), UnDigital (right), one screams "BUY ME!", the other "Take me home and live with me."

Rationale for going UnDigital:

Digital images are everywhere, we work on computers all day long, and surf the internet at night, shop shelves are lined with glossy, digitally perfect images, and we may not realize it, but our eyes do need a break. In fact our eyes, which evolved in an imperfect, pre-digital world, crave the soulful imperfections of the non-digital and handmade. Therefore we have been experimenting with the handmade, the cut out or carved, which includes tiny imperfections to try to create that experience and send positive messages.

The point:

This UnDigital trend is moving a lot of product, and has the potential to soften the harshly lit and digitally cold packaging environment that exists in many shops and supermarkets (i.e. visual smog). It is customer centric, because it caters to customers' needs, and is aware of the very human brand relationship that exists in the customer.

Here are some other examples of UnDigital designs from our blog:

  • Rising Trends: The Rise of the UnDigital

  • Further Evidence of a Trend: The Return to UnDigital Roots

  • Rise of the UnDigital 2: Handcrafted typography and illustration

Please leave a comment in Czech or English. We'd love to hear from you and I will write you back!





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