I need more than the tiny spoon, please.

Capsule team members cover a lot of ground. This year alone we’ve “set up shop” in dozens of U.S. and international cities. We go where the design conversations take us. So, where am I off to this week? Capsule is headed to New York for the Fancy Food show. (If you could see my face right now you would fully understand the joy this brings me.) The massive tradeshow floor bursting at the seams with food brands will definitely produce a multi-sensory experience.

Within this ocean of exhibitors, we will move from booth to booth nibbling and noshing. The tiny plastic spoons deliver (mostly) tasty morsels as conversation focuses on taste, origin, trends, mission, health, innovation, etc. It is exciting and yet overwhelming. I will visit very well established brands that serve as the benchmark for newcomers. I’ll visit brands we saw last year and applaud them for their tenacity. And of course, I’ll visit with perhaps the most hungry of the bunch, the entrepreneurs at the show for the first time - aggressively plunging little spoons into the aisles to lure us in. It is a frenzy of brands with one thing in common. In ultra competitive categories, they all want the attention and loyalty of today’s consumers. It’s a tall order.

While exhibitors at Fancy Food engage through the act of tasting, we must remember we consume first with our eyes. This is why kids can identify McDonald’s and Starbucks by name long before they can read. But in everyday life, when sample stations aren’t in front of us, we make decisions heavily based on visual language. Yes, the product has to deliver on the taste and quality it promises, but there is no chance to delight taste buds if the product doesn’t make its way into the shopping cart.

With this in mind, I am looking forward to speaking with friends and clients this week about an important moment that is often under leveraged. After all the hard work to create the very best recipe, the most consumer facing moment must be designed with the same level of importance. The package sits on the shelf poised to be MVP. Designing for identification, functionality, navigation and personality motivates people (yes people, not consumers) to be intrigued, inquisitive, delighted and moved.

Without the tiny spoons, the shelf is the moment to shine.

So, I’ll be wandering the aisles at Fancy Food (in my stretchy pants) tasting everything put in front of me. When tastings make me wish for a bigger spoon, you know what I’ll be asking. “Mr. (or Mrs.) Brand, have you considered the package as a designed moment?” If not, we should talk. 

Follow along on this culinary adventure of #digitalcapsules at #SFFS16. I am @HartofCapsule. See you in #NYC.

About The Author

Kitty Hart

I am the HartofCapsule, caring for our clients, friends, colleagues and partners. When I’m not deep in strategy and design thought, I dream of belting out Diana Krall tunes in the blue haze of a nightclub. Until that dream is realized, I help Capsule’s clients understand and rise above business challenges through designed conversations. Within Capsule's blog, I write about general observations and occasional oddities of our designed world.


* indicates required