As if the world of packaging wasn’t intricate enough, Wheat is Wheat is Wheat – creative vision of artist & designer, Peddy Mergui – sought to challenge the status quo when it came to products, branding, packaging, and perception. Mergui stresses that the products shown were created more from of a place of creative artistic expression than criticism of the brands represented or their values. However, the exhibition does explore the dynamic and ethics between design and consumer culture
As designers (or simply admirers of design and design principles) one has to question what kind of commentary this could potentially be taking on. Does a simple label or logo automatically qualify something as being of a higher value? It sometimes does feel that way when you closely examine consumerist culture and behavioral tendencies. Oftentimes, if the brand or designer name product is not within reach – often due to price inaccessibility – the knock-off will be obtained in place of it despite obvious poor quality. In this scenario, you can see what we mean by forgoing quality for a simple “name drop”. Identifying why this occurs often points to a basic reference: Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs. These intrinsic human needs are identified as being self-actualization, esteem, love/belonging, safety, and physiological. The needs that brand names happen to fulfill through marketing techniques and social stigma are often the sense of belonging and esteem.
Would the same views be applicable if these brand names were printed on basic food items? Would you choose a Prada flour over a generic variety? Or is “wheat is wheat is wheat”? Decide for yourself:
Flour by Prada
Infant Formula by Chanel
Salami by Louis Vuitton
Eggs by Versace
Coffee by Cartier
Yogurt by Tiffany & Co
Ramen by Burberry
All images via Peddy Mergui
Would you purchase Prada flour?