Design News: GOOD Magazine Has Launched “Rethink the Food Label,” Asking You to Spice Up our Everyday Nutrition Labels

You probably glance over food labels every day, but how much of the information do you really understand? In this day of immediacy and short attention spans, combined with our ever-growing focus on healthy living, it probably doesn’t help that our food labels haven’t been updated since being introduced more than 20 years ago.

First Lady Michelle Obama agrees. Last year she stated, “We need clear, consistent, front-of-the-package, labels that give people the information they’ve been asking for, in a format they understand.”

In the spirit of enhancing our American food-buying experience, GOOD Magazine has partnered with University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism’s News21 project asking designers, nutritionists, and food policy experts to redesign the food label. This may be an opportunity to gain a little designer notoriety as the person behind the new and improved food label, (not to mention contribute to the improvement of our society). Read more below:

Rethinking the Food LabelThe OBJECTIVE
Inspire better food and nutrition literacy with clear, simple, easy-to-understand labels.

The ASSIGNMENT
Redesign the food label. Incorporate the existing nutrition facts and calorie counts. Or reimagine a label entirely based on food quality, food justice, or lesser-known chemosensory characteristics. Consider a food’s carbon footprint or its cultural significance. Above all, make the redesigned label informative, instructive, and memorable.

The REQUIREMENTS
Submit your design here—as a JPG image, 450 pixels wide, and less than 1 MB in size. If your design is chosen as a winner or runners-up, you’ll be asked to submit higher resolution pieces.

Deadline: July 1, 2011

The Payoff
The winning entries will be selected by GOOD’s staff, News21’s Rethink the Food Label, and a panel of nutrition experts, food writers, and designers—including Michael Pollan and Laura Brunow Miner.

The winner will be announced on July 15 and featured on both GOOD’s homepage and News21’s website. Winners also receive a GOOD T-shirt and a free subscription (or gift subscription).

RESEARCH and INSPIRATION
Here’s how the Food and Drug Administration explains the existing nutrition facts label, which was created in 1991 by the Nutritional Labeling and Education Act.

Read the Institute of Medicine’s Phase I report on front-of-packaging labels here and see what the Grocery Manufacturers Association proposed earlier this year here. In the upcoming weeks, News21 will highlight collaborations between nutritionists and designers here.

Check out how the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency labels its food in an article here.

Project: Redesign the Food Label

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Author: Mani O'Brien

Mani O’Brien is the Online Editor for the FIDMDigitalArts Blog and the Social Media Marketing Manager for FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in print journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications at Arizona State University in 2006, and Associate of Arts degree in Graphic Design (Professional Designation) at FIDM in 2010. When she’s not brainstorming social media marketing ideas or writing about the graphic design and digital media, she enjoys practicing yoga, reading magazines, and hanging out with friends and family in Los Angeles.

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