Design Trends, Pussycat Dolls and the Mafia

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Mark nuccio I've been curious about design trends as there seems to be a shift, so I went to the industry expert – Matt Nuccio of Design Edge. Matt is a toy industry baby. His father, Mark, who looks like Robert de Niro, picture to the right, started the business. One of the funniest people I know, Matt is an expert on design, printing, marketing, the mafia and music. Yes, music. He co-wrote some songs with his sister-in-law "Melissa R" (Melissa Reyes), the runner-up on CW's Search for the Next Pussycat Doll. One song, "I'll Pedal To Your House" was featured on the premiere episode of the new Melrose Place, and another one, "Warmest Smile" is going to be the new jingle for the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in Spain. And, yes, the mafia. His family was connected (over 100 years ago), and he used those connections to promote the Godfather game he wrote. Endless Games publishes it.

Matt, do you see a shift in toy and game packaging design?

"There has definetly been a major shift in toy and game package design since this recession hit. As little as five years ago everyone wanted their packaging to look "mass market". Toy and game companies wanted that adrenaline-packed, high-polished, we've-got-mucho-bucks look.

Mattnuccio2 I often had requests to make products look like a multi-million dollar conglomerate pumped them out. Package design back then was all about making the logo as big as you possibly could and photoshopping the hell out of each and every image. I made things look shinier than mother nature would ever had permitted. It was unholy. The emphasis was on showing the high quality in an attempt to justify a high retail cost. Everyone was courting the big retail chains and needed to look the part. People knew that the Walmarts of the world only wanted to buy from stable big companies; companies that can afford their allowances, ad dollars, and margins. And even if they couldn't financially play with the big boys, companies wanted to look the part. This way they would be prepared for when those doors eventually opened.

Today the tides have turned dramatically. It's now all about showing the value the consumer will get for their buck. Gone are power fueled boxes with all their bells and whistles. Packaging has become subtle to convey a more family values orientation. The big companies have shifted their attention to "family values" that were traditionally associated with the specialty market. In an era of corporate bailouts, no one wants to look like a powerful corporation, and I don't blame them. But the reality is that big corporate companies will always fall just short of pulling off that true specialty look, eventually allowing both sides to redefine themselves once again."

Thanks, Matt, great information! I look forward to downloading your tunes.

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