It’s perhaps not the most interesting subject, but it seems to me that
packaging has (mostly) got smarter over the last decade or so. I don’t mean
that technology is built into the packaging itself but that it seems to have
been designed more intelligently. For example, boxes that might once have been
glued or stapled together now unfold out of a single piece of cardboard and
require glue on one seam at most (maybe I buy too much stuff from Amazon).
Case in point, I bought some smarties(R) recently. If you’re as old as I am
you’ll probably remember the days when smarties came in a little rolled tube
with a plastic end-cap. The current smarties container is entirely cardboard
though (probably cheaper and more environmentally friendly) and I thought that
the way they’ve managed to replace the plastic end-cap is really quite clever.
Here’s a view of the end of today’s smarties(R) tube. Before the tube is
opened for the first time perforations on the side seal it closed.
View of smarties(R) container end
Here you can see the tube opened and the perforations indicated.
Smarties container (open)
What’s really clever about this new tube though is the way that the designer’s
have managed to make the end-cap “latch” shut once the tube has been opened
and the perforations broken. Rather that just rely on friction to hold the
tube shut after it’s been opened a small flap (indicated in red) has been
included on the body of the tube.
Open smarties(R) tube with flap outlined in red
The flap is just the right size to engage with a recess formed by the folds
making up the end-cap. This means that there is a perceptible “click” when the
tube is closed and then opened.
Smarties(R) container showing how flap engages with lid
OK, so it may not be rocket science but it’s still kind of cool that you can
make a container that latches shut out of nothing more than cardboard.