The importance of design & testing

Since ferdouse.com is primarily an arts ad creativity site, it only holds that design is an important topic for readers of the blog. Many of you will already know that Costco had redid their milk carton design which came out about a year ago. It really baffled me that how such an important commodity as milk should have a really flawed milk design component.



milk carton by Costco

Milk carton design by Costco



The carton I am talking about is shown in Fig. 1 where the lady shows how this particular milk carton spills milk each time you pour out of it (image courtesy of nyt.com). Naturally people would buy the milk since it was more cheap to buy from costco than elsewhere, compare $2.75 to $3.29 in other stores. When using this milk carton, I simply could not pour milk out without spilling some down the side, no matter what I did. I realized that this was not just a problem with me but others had the same problem too.


My uncle and I concluded that this was another cheap trick where say 10% of the milk spilled (maybe an exaggeration) and you managed to get 90% into the cup or pot. This means that you will likely go to the shop more frequently almost 1/10 of the time more quickly to replenish this item over say another bottle that had no spillage. I sort of nodded to my uncle and gave him another example of this kind of trickery. I told him of a body soap that I came across the other day that seemed attractive with all the fancy labelling, so I purchased it. It did not take me long to realize that the actual soap was less viscous than the other ones I was used to. So I told my uncle that I could finish using this soap in less than half the time it took me to finish the other normal viscous ones. I thought to myself, should there be a label for the viscosity of the item, so you don’t feel you were gypped by this brand?



costco milk cartons old vs new

Costco milk carton – old vs new



So the other day, Costco made a complete switch to the design of the milk carton shown in Fig. 2 Thankfully, this new design does not seem to have the problem with the previous design. Although there is some spillage, but not as much as the previous design. Finally they listened! It truly makes me wonder how the design of the carton could have gone to production without some testing of any kind. Hell, all you needed were a few mums with their kids in a focus group to test out the product. But no doubt some blithering idiotic designer who probably doesn’t drink milk at all took that design all the way to production. Now the retooling of the new manufacturing plant for the bottles would potentially come with some cost but all this could have been solved with just simple testing.



Maybe in a future blog post, I will try to go into the mechanics of why these cartons differ in their pouring capability. Let me know if you are curious and I may do it sooner than you think!

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