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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Packaging changes everything
New industries, activities, and economies have come about because of innovations in the packaging industry. Self service shopping, product standardization and labeling, convenience foods, brand building and marketing have all been greatly affected by innovations in this industry. Whether through the use of MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat used by the military) or the stuff...
Published on February 14, 2000 by Adam F. Jewell

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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cover blurbs do not accurately reflect contents of book
This is a history of packaging, not the psychology of packaging as I expected. Thus, I found it entertaining in places and terribly boring in others. If you are interested in packaging, from its origins to its impact on the environment, then this books does the trick. If you are fascinated in pop culture, then I would pass.
Published on November 16, 1997


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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Packaging changes everything, February 14, 2000
By 
Adam F. Jewell (Pittsburgh, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Total Package: The Secret History and Hidden Meanings of Boxes, Bottles, Cans, and Other Persuasive Containers (Paperback)
New industries, activities, and economies have come about because of innovations in the packaging industry. Self service shopping, product standardization and labeling, convenience foods, brand building and marketing have all been greatly affected by innovations in this industry. Whether through the use of MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat used by the military) or the stuff your Big Mac is wrapped in at McDonalds, packaging has both changed our lifestyles and helped us adapt to a changing world. As a history of the industry and the changes it has brought about over the years, this is a good book. There is not much in the way of the psycology of packaging as indicated in the title, so if you are looking for that skip this book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You buy, therefore you must read this book., April 10, 2005
By 
T. Lenon (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Total Package: The Secret History and Hidden Meanings of Boxes, Bottles, Cans, and Other Persuasive Containers (Paperback)
My community college graphic design students read this book for a class, so I've read it six or seven times now. Every year I look forward to it. It is a wonderful way to get my (mostly) American students to think about their role in an economy they've rarely questioned. They learn about how products have been adorned and contained over the centuries and they also learn why great cities thrived with the advancements in packaging, why suburbs keep growing and why cars and groceries are an intertwined pair.

There plenty of insights here for the consumer who wonders why there are so many kinds of toothpaste and why there will always be a battle between Coke and Pepsi. You eat a lot of tuna? Did you know it was canned for the first time because a cannery ran out of sardines? Did you know that canning itself was developed for Napoleon's military campaigns? You know yellow makes products look cheap? You do, but you didn't know you did.

For designers it is an indispensible history that will help you locate your place in the world of business and the American economy.Thomas Hine discusses how research dominates design and how brand managers can wipe out your precious work with a single "Natural!" violator.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Packaging Is What We Are, January 2, 2005
This review is from: The Total Package: The Secret History and Hidden Meanings of Boxes, Bottles, Cans, and Other Persuasive Containers (Paperback)
I fell in love with Thomas Hine's The Total Package: The Secret History and Hidden Meanings of Boxes, Bottles, Cans, and Other Persuasive Container from page 1 for this book pulls you into a world that on the one hand is so familiar to you, but on the other hand yet also so unknown, namely the world of package - design and the world of stores.

In his book, Mr. Hine writes about the development of things that I had never even given a thought like the invention of the shopping cart and how it should not take up too much space or the design of the grocery store as a maze, but the book also tells so much more like what colors on the packages say about the products and so on. Mr. Hine even argues that "packaging is what we are" for "packaging mirrors its expected customers, and thus it provides an unfamiliar and provocative perspective about who we are and what we want."

Well, I consider this book to be a true eye-opener and I experience just walking down the aisles in a store as a truly unique experience now for I came to realize that there is a whole theory behind everything I see around me or every aspect of the store.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beneath the surface of that familiar label., December 15, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: The Total Package: The Secret History and Hidden Meanings of Boxes, Bottles, Cans, and Other Persuasive Containers (Paperback)
Hine, a New York Times writer, displays his considerable analytical gifts and admirably readable style in this "secret history and hidden meanings of boxes, bottles, cans, and other persuasive containers".
Examining in depth some of our most familiar commercial icons, he reveals why the Spearmint Gum wrapper doesn't change but the Kleenex box does, what all that small print on the Budweiser can is about, and why the Tide box colors survive despite changes in style. He notes, significantly, that the art and science of the packager is so skillful as to bypass the intellect and deliver the message to the subconscious even in awareness of the techniques employed.

A fascinating look at a pervasive element of contemporary culture; highly recommended.

(The "score" rating is an unwelcome feature of the page. This reviewer does not "score" books.)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book!, May 20, 2004
By 
Amanda Miller (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Total Package: The Secret History and Hidden Meanings of Boxes, Bottles, Cans, and Other Persuasive Containers (Paperback)
A wonderfully interesting book about the history of product packaging. Very thorough and engaging -- I had no idea how important the paper bag was! Rich with insights about consumer behavior in marketplaces and the geographic evolution of the American shopping experience. I go it from the library and wound up buying it as a reference book for years to come!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fantastic surprise!, July 23, 2007
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This review is from: The Total Package: The Secret History and Hidden Meanings of Boxes, Bottles, Cans, and Other Persuasive Containers (Paperback)
I was actually interested in the history of the cigar box when Amazon suggested The Total Package to me. I bought the book as an impulse purchase (despite the cheap yellow cover that the book itself criticises) and I have been very happy that I did. I have not been able to put this book down. This book far surpassed my expectations and has been a wealth of historical facts and connections between the technology of packaging and our civilization.

I have read one strong critique of Hine's book in that it does not go very deep into the psychology of packaging and how it shapes the choices that consumers make. I think that is beyond the point here. Hine's work does an outstanding job of making an interesting historical narrative about packaging. Hine sees the world through the eye of the consumer from the epoch of the proto-package, through the world of boxes and tin cans, and on through cellophane and plastics. That perspective in this book has opened the world up to me.

I cannot recommend this book enough!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cover blurbs do not accurately reflect contents of book, November 16, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: The Total Package: The Secret History and Hidden Meanings of Boxes, Bottles, Cans, and Other Persuasive Containers (Paperback)
This is a history of packaging, not the psychology of packaging as I expected. Thus, I found it entertaining in places and terribly boring in others. If you are interested in packaging, from its origins to its impact on the environment, then this books does the trick. If you are fascinated in pop culture, then I would pass.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immensely entertaining and informative., August 20, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Total Package: The Secret History and Hidden Meanings of Boxes, Bottles, Cans, and Other Persuasive Containers (Paperback)
Hine takes us through the rise of modern consumer packaging, spurred by the change in grocery stores from the old general store to self-serve supermarket. Intelligent and informative for marketers, package designers and just plain folks.
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5 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What's up with the icky cover?, September 29, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Total Package: The Secret History and Hidden Meanings of Boxes, Bottles, Cans, and Other Persuasive Containers (Paperback)
What can I say? As a book about packaging, it should take a lesson from itself. Sheesh...!
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