Call me a sheep but I like the FDA's new labels better.
The bold is easier to read, as is the spacing. Perhaps the only improvement is the left alignment of the total calories.
I agree with you. I think the Daily Value section on the FDA's label reads better.
Also, I think using pitch black is better for this kind of labeling, and ensures the right contrast.
I really like the calories number being on the left side. Do you think the parentheses are needed though? I think I would space out and kern the nutrient names and values a little more, they look a little smushed.
Yeah, the parentheses might not be necessary. Like I explained below, my main focus was not to restructure the whole label hierarchy (the FDA probably knows best what is important), but rather show that even with a free typefaces such as Lato one can design a label that is much easier to read.
And that’s in my eyes the main purpose of this label: Motivate/engage people to inform themselves about what they eat.
I like the thinner dividers, what you did to the calories section and the typeface.
Removing the indentation however, I think is an oversight; the FDA is grouping similar molecules, which I think greatly reduces the cognitive load when reading the information.
It's nice, but I think the important areas (serving size, calories in particular) don't grab the attention immediately like on the FDA's redesign. And that's really what they're going for.
Also, it has a lot of nice spacing, but shrunk down to actual size might be hard to read.
I'm also in the "FDA is better" camp. Why?
1) Existing labels are VERY regulated and specced. The thickness of the black bars, minimum font sizing, etc are all regulated. The new version (like so many redesigns and "tweaks") ignore guidelines like this, thus are flat-out unrealistic. I know from experience, but a simple google search would also help you find this:
2) The new font is too thin - it will fall apart in small package sizes like candy bars, boxes for pills (vitamins/dietary), etc. The easy "scanability" of the bold elements is also reduced in the new version.
3) At first glance the "230" looks more appealing on the left, but when you look harder you realize that by being on the right... it's always prominent and will cause less dead-space issues based on real-world numbers. For example, if let's say we talk Tic-Tacs... and the calorie number is 2. Now we've got massive dead-space on the right which looks awkward. By designing the labels so that flexible space is in the middle of these areas, it provides for the most consistently legible scanning experience... no matter low large or small the number is. Also note that by doing the way they did, the portion could be "eleventy-one gajillion nano cups" (or something more realistic) and still not impact the caloric number. In the new version, the space has already been maxed out without resizing text - which is a no-no. The point is, the existing new design allows for more flexibility with portion sizing - as a regulated template, the font sizes need to be consistent.
While I agree with all you said above, Benjamin, as a designer I expect you not to refer to the regulations as your main argument. I think it's obvious that there could be a better typeface AND way of structuring the label that fits the limitations of production and still is much more encouraging and “human” than what the old or new FDA design is. And that’s all that this tweak wanted to show.
I think, while people want to prove they are smarter than other and considered all the limitations, the real purpose of my draft got lost. Again, design is for people. And people should be motivated to read those nutrition labels and care about what they eat. To me, the FDA label fails here.
I disagree with you completely. These things NEED to be regulated for safety and legal reasons. Your design did not take into account this key fact. You tweaked design for aesthetics... not for usability. There is a time and a place for that... this is not one of them.
At a minimum, you should have thought about how the label would look with different information in it... and how it would scale. Just because they only show one example does not mean they did not think of those things. If you look at it, it's clear they have.
These labels aren't designed to be human... and they shouldn't be. You're not thinking of what the purpose is and the tweak does not account for that. I understand your desire, but the things these labels need to do above anything else is be clear, consistent, and flexible. As designers we can't look past the need.
I agree with Benjamin's main points. When you try to redesign things such as the FDA label you are tampering with the legitimacy that the generic labels have provided over a long period of time. Another risk you run by "beautifying the label" is it blending into the design of the box. The amount of legal debris that would occur with even a font change is an important design constraint that must be considered, meaning that there is a financial incentive to keep things uniform with what you've come to expect from the nutritional facts label.
Again, I agree with you when it comes to scalability and function, and if you read through my past comments you will see that. So, no need to argue about that.
I think there are many ways to achieve a certain function. And besides the fact that those labels need to transfer information they should also be motivating and engaging to read. Do we disagree here?
So, what I would suggest is, that the FDA could work together with a designer, who understands all the needs (like yourself) and boundaries to come up with a design that is both functional, aesthetic and emotional.
Good to have such an interesting discussion!
You changed the font to Lato. Hardly a redesign.
I like the FDA redesign. Big , bold, will be legible on pretty much anything.
@Moeed I think I didn’t call it a “redesign”, right? The FDA probably knows best how they want the hierarchy to be and what the limitations are.
What I wanted to show is, that even with a freely available typeface you could produce a label that is easier to read, which is probably the purpose of this label: You want to engage/motivate people to inform themselves about what they eat, right?
i like how it looks, but it seems like a lot more work for each product to have to put into their labels. Likely what factored into the design to make it more simple.
To be honest, I think the current typeface (Helvetica) is the most appropriate choice. Why? It's adequately readable at small sizes, has good weight contrast, is widely available, and is good for people with dyslexia (and other disabilities, I'm sure). I don't necessarily care what my label looks like, I just need it to give me the information I need as quickly and easily as possible. I think a re-thinking of the information hierarchy would be better use of time, but I do appreciate that you cared enough to do this little exercise and get people thinking.
A nice property of the FDA's font choice is that it is probably distinct from any other font used on most packaging.
I think the slight increase in breathing room makes this drastically less claustrophobic and more pleasant to skim. But agree with others that a blacker weight and indentation would help with small print reading/scanning.
The design also breaks as soon as you have a 1000+ calorie item. But, I agree with your sentiment, and like the idea of making this label more friendly and palatable for everyday shoppers.
What do you think this is, Europe? :)
It's ok. You really need the heavier weight on Total Fat, etc.. and the indentation on the original is not insignificant.
You made the serving information nearly invisible among the other information... big issue IMO.
It looks great on screen, but I wonder how well it would work when printed at the expected sizes. As far as I can tell (not a US-ian), there aren't minimum print sizes for these regulations.
I totally agree that the calories number on the left makes it easier to scan. It‘s also more consistent. I think the FDA was trying to make that number stand out more (though the size/weight makes the alignment change one-thing-too-many, IMO). Your placement is better.
The only thing I miss is the vertical line delineating a separate percentages column. If it were printed larger and read only by young eyes, I think blending the percentage into the text would be fine… but this is printed so small and read by people of all age. A vertical divider may actually help readability here.
Throw me a stone, but I prefer the original one. It's cluttered and it's heavier, but I don't want a food information label to be light and pretty. I want it to be functional, and by being heavier on some texts it's easier for me to find the important information. And I also prefer having the calorie values on the right rather than on the left. It makes more sense for me.
Nice, looks lighter! The footnote's font size should probably be a little larger, no?