Saturday, February 23, 2008
Underwhat? Underhow? Underwhere?
The Costa Rican Undie Lords that manufacture Jockeys are truly experts. Only the pathologically contrarian or ignorant would argue over Jockey's supreme standards in underwear fit, finish and durability.
But the underwear packaging designers have dropped the ball on clear communication.
In the trade, these little symbols are called "Icons." They're supposed to be pictures that communicate meaning without the constraints of the printed word.
Frankly, I don't have a clue what they mean and neither did my wife (and being a mom, she's rather qualified in all-things-underwear.)
The symbols look rather like a question from an IQ test - if so, my guess was B. But since I still wasn't quite sure what the other symbols meant, I am resigned to Undie Dumbity.
We had one idea - that perhaps someone at the factory is sending a secret message: "We're hiding in the mountains inside a pail of water, a box and a Star Wars vehicle."
Ok, that was silly. But so is printing incomprehensible symbols* on a package printed in one language ANYWAY.
What's the harm? None, really. But I guess if graphic designers are going to be tasked with Universal Communication, we should be able to universally understand it.
*Yeah, yeah - the icon on the right is a late 19th Century Iron. The second one over from the right is probably a washing machine (make sure no one's inside it before turning it on). No clue as to the triangle-shape - maybe that's a drill bit? (keep them away from my undies!!) As for the pair of eyes peaking out of the laundry basket, they're kinda creepy.
POSTSCRIPT: WELL! JUDGING FROM THE QUICK RESPONSE AND APPARENT EXPERTISE IN LAUNDRY SYMBOLS OF SADVERTISING READERS, I'M AN UNDERWEAR UNSOPHISTICATE! Thank you to all of you who've gone into detail on the hidden meanings of these symbols. Now I know.