PACKAGING: Rio Digital Music

Design of Rio Digital Music's 2003 packaging system based on the concept "MP3 player as controlled substance."

Rio Digital Music Packaging System
2003
Rio’s 2003 product concept was "MP3 player as controlled substance." This packaging system used subtly rendered tech/grunge textures and a memory icon (affectionately called “Satan’s sawblade”) that had its origins in the international biohazard symbol.
Round 1 designs were a loosely related system using eye-popping color, with the option to build a more homogeneous system around any of the constituent designs. The graphic design system evolved with the industrial design of the thermoform packaging.
Round 2 shows a move toward the final design: darker, more “drug-induced,” more industrial and sinister. (The memory icons for this round derive from the international symbol for radiation.) The final designs include much of the thinking from previous rounds, including the photographic textures and patterns — though in very muted form.
This in-store display derived directly from the recessive palette and curves of the packaging system, whispering where most point-of-purchase displays shout — to create a sense of understated cool.
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