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Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Enjoy Your Delicious Moments" - Pizza Box Art Crit

Posted by Dave Bow on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 4:27 PM

Whenever I pick up a pizza, unless it's from a major chain, there's a good chance that it comes to me in a box that looks like this:

pizzabox.png

I have so much to say about this design I don't know where to begin. Frankly, I'm not sure how an image this weird became the industry standard. Plus Noah Dunham tells me that he's seen the boxes not just in Portland but in New York City: Pizza Capital of the USA!

When companies produce things for mass consumption that strike me as undeniably bizarre I become obsessive, meticulously listing everything that puts me off. Bear with me while I exorcise this train of thought out of my system (or scroll down to a blog post of substance).

Most of the problems here stem from the fact that these two chefs work in a kitchen where proportion and perspective hold no authority. We are apparently looking through a window with a bottom sill that doubles as a kitchen counter. I am assuming it's a window because on the right the peppers and mushrooms disappear behind the wall, yet on the left planes collide MC Escher-style as the bricks abruptly transform into the side of an oven. Judging by the placement of the shelf, the bottom half of that oven is either disappearing into the floor or the shelf itself only begins at head-level.

We see the shelves themselves as if we were looking down at them, but only the enormous cans on the top shelf are seen from the same perspective. Because they're lower, we should be able to see into the boxes of grapefruit-sized onions and tomatoes, but they're head-on. Then there's the bottle of olive oil that somehow retains the same proportions as the one on the counter.

The chefs themselves appear to be from two different worlds. The one in the foreground, eyes closed, blissfully enjoying a delicious moment with his rolling pin, has a relatively human face. The chef behind him has must have crawled out of a Popeye comic somewhere, boasting enormous ears, knife-holes for eyes, a wedge for a nose and a concave dent under his lizard mouth instead of a chin. Is this why his uniform only has three buttons on it and no awesome "Qualite" badge?

Proportion and perspective aside, it's the little things that really bug me about this image. Why did the artist put so much care into the mouth of the oven, giving it a keystone and different-sized bricks, but draw two stumps for the chef's legs and call it good? Why not draw one line to differentiate the floor from the wall instead of giving the chef's jaunty scarves?

In short: what's the fucking deal with this pizza box? Who designed it? Where can I see more of their work? Do they have these boxes everywhere? Are there other pizza boxes that even come close to being this weird?

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