Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Enduring design One of the most widespread designs in the world today was done pro bono for the FDA. Burkey Belser of Greenfield/Belser Design in Washington, D.C., took on the task of creating a clean, consistent typographic hierarchy for the nutrition facts label that appears on all food packaging. The FDA requested a redesigned label that would clearly display all ingredients with an emphasis on calorie and fat content to help fend off an emerging obesity epidemic.

The label above shows a grand total of 27 pieces of information. It is so well balanced that it reads effortlessly. Typography (helvetica black and regular weights) and rules of varying thicknesses group the information into sections. Portion size, calories, and fat content are most prominent.

The revised design was launched in 1992 and was awarded a Presidential Design Award in 1997. That it is still fresh 20 years later is a true design success story and a brilliant reminder of the power of simplicity.

Contributed by Domenica