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The Total Package: The Evolution and Secret Meanings of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Tubes
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The Total Package: The Evolution and Secret Meanings of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Tubes

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  60 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
By the author of Populuxe. This text explains how manufacturers play with the consumer's mind in an attempt to sell day-to-day products such as soap and breakfast cereal, each product sitting on a supermarket shelf having been carefully designed to promote instant desirability.
Hardcover, 289 pages
Published February 28th 2001 by Diane Pub Co (first published January 1st 1995)
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Skye Borden
Dec 09, 2007 Skye Borden rated it liked it
I found this book at a bargain book warehouse, and it seems fitting that it came from there. I completely loved it—and read it within a week--but, I had two people make fun of me for buying it. I suppose that it seems fairly random, but I think it’s an intriguing look into modern consumer culture.
As a connoisseur of marketing, Hines knew how to immediately draw me in. Here are the questions posed on the back of the cover: (1) Why do makers of laundry detergent try to remind shoppers of Sylveste
Ronald Wise
An analysis of the history of product packaging from its very beginnings in antiquity, to the rapid developments that have been occuring in the last century. While much of the book focuses on the practical and marketing aspects, the latter part of the book addresses the more modern considerations of resource depletion, re-use, and the production repercussions of pollution and global climate change. It was odd realizing how much has changed in this field during my lifetime — I didn't realize that ...more
Dec 19, 2007 Tracey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
I straightened up the bookshelves the other weekend & pulled this out for a re-read.

It comes pretty close to living up to the subtitle, although the first two chapters are kind of repetitive and generic. Once Hine starts in with the history of packages and packaging, the pace picks up. He briefly discusses the development of pottery and glass containers as the precursor to packages - he believes that there must be elements of identification and advertising to make a container a package.

Oct 15, 2008 Staci rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I appreciate what he's done, although I've found a lot of the information in other sources, it is nice to see it all at once.

It's the first place I'd send someone interested in packaging, although I think that he would have been better off keeping his mind on the physical object. The sections on "political packaging" and "packaged experiences" are really just examples of branding. I wouldn't conflate the two - branding is one function of packaging, but they aren't identical.

That being said - I
Jan 08, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful older book filled with history and interesting ideas about shopping,the environment and design. It's really changed the way I think about those old Listerine bottles with the paper wrapping we used to get and all the other packaging I can see around my own home. It's an easy read once you get pass the first few pages and it has a great ending. I found the book by accident several years ago and just got around to opening it up and I'm glad I did. Nice pictures too. Good to read after ...more
Julie H.
Jul 12, 2009 Julie H. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As someone interested in material and popular culture, I loved this book. I certainly hope that it's used as a textbook in packaging design programs. Thomas Hine is a talented writer, and I'd read his book on Populuxe culture so was keen to read more by him. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the history, design and meaning of the material trappings of our daily lives.
Mar 18, 2013 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit dry and mildly informative look at the history of packages. It did confirm why the iPod always had shitty remotes, so people could see it as you looked around for music (although the book was written at least ten years before the first iPod, when Marlboro redesigned their cigarette package, the idea was to make it intentionally difficult to open so people could see it).
Carla Remy
Dec 12, 2010 Carla Remy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: advertising
There was some good stuff in this book. I was a little bored, but it was probably my patience level; and I've read so much on this sort of subject matter I may have become jaded. Anyway, good stuff; I'll probably keep the book around.
Jul 08, 2011 Cate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: secret-histories
An interesting and valuable book, to the consumer and the design student. However, woefully out of date. Perhaps there is/should be an updated edition?
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Thomas Hine is a writer on history, culture and design. He is the author of five books, and he contributes frequently to magazines, including The Magazine Antiques, Philadelphia Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Martha Stewart Living, Architectural Record and others. He is a senior contributing writer to Home Miami and Home Fort Lauderdale.

He has been praised in the New Yorker by John Updike for his "mi
More about Thomas Hine...

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