When you think of “design,” what comes to mind? Probably stuff like concert posters, t-shirts, magazines, fancy lotion bottles, logos and ads, right? We often overlook the simplest, everyday items that are designed by graphic artists. Things like street signs, subway maps.
I read a great article on the design of food nutrition labels. While the labels recently got redesigned, there is still a lot of confusion. Why are the labels so hard to read, even as a 30-year-old? I know the FDA requires a very extensive list of nutritional factors that need to be on the label, but I still don’t think the label is designed to teach consumers how to find the best food choices. In fact, according to Nielsen, only four in 10 North Americans say they have no better than a ‘partial understanding’ of the labels. Yikes. The design is still too bogged down with information. And, I still think it’s hilarious that water, in most cases, must have a nutrition label. (What are water providers putting in there??)
FastCo presented a great article on the design of the nutrition label and how two psychologists studied in how we should be marking our foods. They studied four different options (below): our regular nutrition facts label, a stoplight system grading red-yellow-green for certain nutritional markers, the 0-100 scale NuVal system and the “heart-healthy” icon for healthy food packages.
After testing participants online, the team discovered the easy-to-read NuVal system is the best way to label food’s nutritional value. They called it the “most usable labeling scheme”. Makes you wonder what else can be designed in its simplest form to help the public.
Read more about nutrition labels here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21241532