Warhol Art is the Whole Package

September 19, 2017


We know packaging can be art. We’ve seen artists take on cardboard lamps, philosophical beer labels and glowing corrugated cubes, but what about when art mimics packaging? In the spirit of anticipating Woodstock’s 50th-anniversary celebration, we’re jumping back to the groovy 60s to follow the trail of one artist’s challenge to the world about that very topic.

We’re all familiar with Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup prints, but equally notable were his physical reproductions of grocery shipping cartons. In 1964 Warhol produced “Brillo Boxes,” exact replicas of soap pad packages sold by Brillo at the time.

brillo boxesPhoto: Philadelphia Museum of Art

Warhol mass-produced the boxes and sold them off to museums and collectors for $200 a pop; fast forward to 2010, and one of the controversial boxes was auctioned off for $3 million! You can watch the story behind the box on HBO’s documentary “Brillo Box (3¢ Off).”

Warhol’s replication of commercial art for consideration in the fine art world raised questions about the value we place on design. The original design for the commercial boxes was done by abstract expressionist artist James Harvey; he laughed it off when he saw his work replicated in Warhol’s art show, but the design firm he worked for issued an angry statement that concluded: “What’s one man’s box, may be another man’s art.”

At Ernest Packaging Solutions, we know it’s never just one man’s box. A lot of heart and soul goes into designing packaging that’s as pleasing to the eye as it is functional. Shoppers walk by grocery store shelves without giving a second thought to all the art and design work that went into each package, and it’s our pleasure at Ernest to help put it in the spotlight.

Take for instance Poindexter Nut Company: after a major evolution in Poindexter’s business processes and mindset, they needed new packaging to reflect their new identity.

Ernest’s team of specialists devised refreshed branding to highlight Poindexter’s commitment to providing product information without smoke and mirrors. Typical packaging in the industry was flimsy, so Ernest devised a reinforced bag that would help Poindexter literally stand out on the shelf.

So yes, one man’s box (or bag!) is another man’s art, and we’re proud to bring our expertise to the industry you call your own. Read our white paper to learn how our specialists can help redesign your packaging, soup to nuts.

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