“Seven million options? You’re hired.”

When I first saw this I was impressed with the idea. On further perusal, the company’s description took me aback a little:

An algorithm has usurped the traditional role of a designer to generate millions of unique packaging designs for Nutella.

The algorithm pulled from a database of dozens of patterns and colours to create seven million different versions of Nutella’s graphic identity, which have been splashed across the front of jars in Italy.

Nutella’s manufacturer Ferrero worked with advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather Italia on the project, titled Nutella Unica.

Let’s break this up: You have the initial concept design by Ogilvy & Mather Italia, the algorithm design by a team of engineers, and then the design output by the program which is only acceptable holistically; if a team were to analyse each ‘design’ on its own merit (with no story behind it) I’d see roughly ten to twenty labels shortlisted by virtue of sheer quantities, not to mention the countless hours spent in evaluating seven million options.

But let’s be amazed by how permutational power can displace good old traditional design.

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