Clever says it all

It seems that lately Puma have been involved in a spot of bag experimentation – redesigning the their iconic red shopper to bestow it with a bit of environmental kudos and clever packaging mechanics. The bright red remains alongside the white of the giant cat, but in a smart move the bags stand out from their sportshop counterparts and are earth-friendly too. No wonder that they named it the “Clever little bag” and the “Clever little shopper” – although this is a modest type of intelligence, with a simplicity and ease of use that detracts from the complex science of shopping – the bag cram (the art of carrying as many items as possible without the material breaking).

Puma's clever little bag

In December 2010, the “Clever little bag” marked the retirement of Puma red shoe box – its smug replacement being a water, energy and carbon emission reducing, re-usable shoe bag which completely eliminates the need for a separate shoe box and carrier bag. What a mouthful. But the “Clever little bag” is even cleverer than that, it also uses less material as its structure requires less cardboard, tissue paper and the works (including that horrible laminated print that makes your fingers black in Underground humidity). As such, the traditional shoe box is so well and truly beaten that you almost feel sorry for it – a nostalgic pang for when the shoe box used to be refashioned into art projects at home.

The bag also makes Puma look very clever too. At the start of the company’s sustainability program, the bag looks to –

“reduce water, energy and diesel consumption on the manufacturing level alone by more than 60% per year. In other words: approximately 8,500 tons less paper consumed, 20 million Mega joules of electricity saved, 1 million litres less fuel oil used and 1 million litres of water conserved. During transport 500,000 liters of diesel is saved and lastly, by replacing traditional shopping bags the difference in weight will save almost 275 tons of plastic.”

This all goes to show what a bag can do (a saying as an accessory fiend that I have been regurgitating for a while), and subsequently seems to be winning bags of praise, including a coveted D&AD Silver Award for package design in 2011. So I am sure that the folks behind it – the clever guys at GBH Design and the FUSE Project, can barely sit still. No wonder that the “Clever little shopper” followed close behind – an idea that truly stands among the bag-world as the class smartypants. How do they do it?

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