I had a conversation with Maya Lim about the design of an old Archie McPhee product, the Toothpick Bird. I think her new version of the Toothpick Bird is hilarious in its simplicity.
“Sometimes, a product doesn’t need great design. This questionable package, for example, has sold incredibly well for almost 20 years now. We don’t know what the magic is, but it’s the packaging. (We didn’t design the bird, just repackaged it.) It doesn’t fit with anything else we do, but we’re scared to change it in case we kill the golden toothpick bird.” —David Wahl, Director of Awesome at Archie McPhee
The concept of a toothpick bird is, by any standards, pretty goofy. It’s practical but not useful, which is part of the joke (a practical joke?). The toothpick bird picks up one toothpick at a time for you, providing a service that is, as you can see from David’s photo, clean and handy.
Maybe part of “the magic” is that the packaging colors and typography hearken to the design of the ’50s. For example, compare it to this late ’50s record…
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