The Total Package. The Secret History and Hidden Meanings of Boxes, Bottles, Cans, and Other Persuasive Containers by Thomas Hine

• OverviewProcess
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to translate and publish a book on packaging.

The Total Package is a fascinating look at the unexpected meanings hidden in the most familiar boxes, bottles, cans, and tubes found in every home. Thomas Hine decodes their secret language in a lively narrative revealing the way we sell our products and ourselves, and changing forever the way we see our increasingly packaged world.

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Hine explores the engineering, design and advertising components of product packaging and reveals true reasons behind some of the details that are usually left unnoticed: for example, cigarette packs have hinged lids to force smokers to take the pack out of a pocket and demonstrate the brand to others.

Even more interesting are parallels drawn by the author between the ways boxes and cans on store shelves and “packaged” phenomena, people and companies influence mass consciousness.

This ability of packaging to bypass the intellect and induce a consuming forgetfulness is what makes it so effective. Although packaging pervades daily life and is found in every nook and cranny of the home and workplace, it flies beneath nearly everyone’s analytic radar. It only comes to the fore when there’s a problem. People think about packaging when they have trouble getting it open, or when it’s empty and it contributes to litter or overflowing landfills. But when packaging is working well, people rarely think about it apart from the product it contains.

Packages understand people much better than people understand packages. The Total Package is about how modern packaging developed and how it works now. It considers packaging not primarily as an industry or a cluster of technologies but as an important and often unacknowledged part of modern life. Its premise is that people’s relationships with packages are a good deal more complex than they realize.»

From the foreword by the author

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  • author

  • Thomas Hine writes on design, culture, and history. He is the author of five books and many critical articles for a variety of publications. From 1973 until 1996, Hine was the architecture and design critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he wrote a weekly column called Surroundings. He has worked as an adviser for museums across the United States. Hine has lectured at Yale, Syracuse, Drexel and Michigan Universities.

  • Hardcover
  • 432 pages
  • Dimensions: 144×216 mm (5,6″×8,5″)
  • Press run: 3000
  • ISBN 978-5-98062-091-2
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