The gruesome cigarette packaging that could become a design classic

The Design Museum in London includes controversial cigarette packaging in list of possible 'Designs of the Year 2013'

Rob Williams@bobjwilliams
Monday 25 February 2013 13:56

It's the gruesome packaging that's become mandatory for Australia's cigarettes, featuring diseased feet, sick babies and dying cancer sufferers - but is it also a future design classic?

The Design Museum in London thinks it might be and has included the controversial packaging in all its gory glory as one its possible 'Designs of the Year 2013'.

As the Guardian reported yesterday morning, the packaging has been shortlisted for the design award as the packaging continues to cause controversy.

New Zealand recently announced it is to follow Australia in using plain packaging designs. The international tobacco industry has warned it will hit back hard in New Zealand as it has in Australia, with legal challenges against the proposed change.

Amid allegations of dirty tricks by Australian tobacco companies, and despite a spate of legal battles, all cigarettes in Australia must now be sold in the new packets, which feature macabre images of unpleasant images designed to put-off would-be smokers.

The design of the packets is so unappealing that smokers in Australia had complained that the packaging had made their cigarettes taste worse.

But the packaging is so effective in its unpleasantness that the Design Museum has decided to the packets, which were created using market research on what were the least appealing colours for customers, in contention for an award.

Pete Collard, curator of Designs of the Year 2013, said: “The packaging is the result of market research that asked what colours were most unappealing to consumers. It’s a purposely bad piece of design, or ‘anti-design’. Not everything displayed in a design museum should be beautiful or ‘good’, the point is to open a discussion about the way everyday objects are made, the messages they send out and how we react to them.”

Other designs included in the list of nominations are The Shard, the Olympic cauldron and Clapham library. Last year, the honour went to the London design studio BarberOsgerby for the 2012 Olympic torch.

More than 90 designs, from the Government’s new website to the Microsoft Windows 8 mobile phone and a non-stick ketchup bottle have been chosen by experts and will be brought together in an exhibition.

Nominations will be on display in the Designs of the Year exhibition at the museum from 20 March 2013.

See gallery above for examples of the packaging:

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