The four layers that make up Bump Mark
How the bio-reactive mechanism works
Expiry information that is far more accurate
Using gelatine to model the decay process of food, Bump Mark is able to tell you exactly the condition your food is in, simply by running your finger over the label. If it’s smooth, then you’re good to go, but if you start to feels bumps as the gelatin breaks down, be cautious.
I wanted to create a solution for enabling visually impaired consumers to gain expiry information about their food, as currently the only indication is a printed date. From the start, I knew that the solution must appeal to sighted people also, because the sad reality is that new solutions only get implemented by companies if the benefits are useful to the majority. This is why I worked to create a cheap solution that could be applied to existing food packages and also provides information that even sighted people haven't had access to before: information about the actual condition of food.
The solution is simple: The label gives tactile information, so when it is smooth, your food is fresh. If you start feeling bumps, then it's time for the bin. So how does it work? Gelatine is set over a bumpy plastic sheet. Because jelly is solid when it sets, the bumps cannot be felt at first. As the gelatine decays, it becomes a liquid when it expires. This means that the bumps underneath can be felt, letting you know that it has expired. Why gelatine? Gelatine is protein, so it decays at the same rate as protein-based foods. The label simply copies what the food in the package is doing, so the expiry information is going to be far more accurate than a printed date.
At first, I looked at many different ways of solving my initial brief, and not just in the packaging category. I explored products to be used in the home and even ones that could be used in the supermarket before my focus group expressed that they would prefer an integrated packaging solution. I wanted to create a label that would change it's texture over time, and the most logical way that I could think of doing this was to use a biological substance to model the decay process of the food. The label design went through well over 20 iterations, each of which were tested for user perception and technical performance, both equally as important as each other. I am currently looking to commercialise this product and have started conversations with retailers and technology development companies, as well as having a patent pending for the design.
Winner of the Inclusive Design Award, awarded by Made in Brunel and sponsored by Crown Packaging. Winner of the James Dyson Foundation scholarship at Brunel University.