The Big Book of Packaging Review

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The Big Book of Packaging Review

The Big Book of Packaging is the latest edition in Harper Designs’ Big Book series written by Will Burke, Lisa Buer and James Pietruszynski. The book blends project insights with author profiles and contains over 500 packaging examples from an international collection of designers, students and agencies.

Measuring in at 277 x 221 x 33 mm and containing 384 pages The Big Book of Packaging is just that, big, featuring a thick recycled cover that suitably conveys the inclusion of over 100 eco-friendly packaging examples. The main gallery feature is split across five categories and contains a wide variety of well spaced and suitably sized images. Project information is limited to consultancy, creative team and client while the index is made up of agency or designer.

Designed as a ‘comprehensive resource’ it does have a number of additional sections that stand it apart from similar publications. The inclusion of student work is a bold choice and while some of these are not commercially driven they are of high quality and stand up well against the bigger agencies. The book also contains profiles of the three authors and the inclusion of their ‘all-time favourite packages’, these explanations aren’t as comprehensive as I would have liked but still make for an interesting read, unfortunately with only three authors this section is a little short.  A number of projects featured in the gallery section are accompanied by an ‘In-Depth Look’, each are well written and consistent, delivering an engaging and thoughtful read. As a resource proposition these additions work quite well to develop a publication that is more than just a gallery which is a good thing. As an owner of multiple packaging design books I noticed there are quite a few projects I have seen published elsewhere so there will be an element of repetition for people with large book collections.

There are a few downsides to this book, most notably is the ecological aspect, this doesn’t feel prominent enough and only appears as a small leaf icon next to the relevant packaging, some insight or reason these projects achieved this status would have really benefited the book greatly. In addition some of the photography isn’t perfect and there are a number of obvious computer realisations but it is predominantly of a very good quality. While I respect the inclusion of a recycled cover it isn’t very hardy and does scuff and damage quite easily.

At $49 it is on the more expensive side but the inclusion of student work is a nice twist, the profiles and project insights make for a good read, I would definitely recommend this book if you haven’t purchased anything similar in the last two years.