Even as I am jotting this editorial, I am delighted to learn Richard Thaler has been awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. I am delighted because I have read his book, Nudge.
And common sense is the crux of his book, Nudge co-authored with Cass Sunstein.
Thaler’s first comment on winning the Nobel was typically, understated. He said, I will spend the money as “irrationally” as possible.
A comment greeted by applause.
Applause was also my reaction to an engaging four days of Jury Week. It was an insightful tour through 1,050 samples submitted by 125 print companies. Across four judging days at the SIES GST at Nerul, 26 leading print buyers and independent experts from brands pored over the submissions to come up with what they think represents the very best the Indian print and packaging industry has to offer.
So? What did the data-specs and evidence suggest? To extrapolate Thaler, most print and packaging firms don’t make decisions in the way often characterised in print technical manuals. That would be ultra-boring. The work is created in order to enable many of us to make better choices, both for ourselves and for society.
Our industry will be surprised to learn that the setting is the key; and the setting determines how an individual makes decisions. Thaler says: How much we eat depends on how it is served on our plate, what foods we pick from the cafeteria line depends on whether the frozen meat or ice creams are placed at eye level, and what publications or magazines we buy depends on which ones are on display at the supermarket checkout line. Thaler’s behavioural economics, a new area of research combining economics and psychology, has repeatedly documented how our apparently free choices are affected by the way options are presented to us.
The big insight from Thaler and Sunstein is: no decision setting is “neutral.”
And this is what those thousands of samples showcased. Whoever produces print must frame them in some way. Because the framing will affect the decisions. The ways of presenting the choices provide a gentle “nudge”.
The dazzling range of work on metallised paper or PP or BOPP or LDPE indicate, form is an expression of necessity.
And ultimately all material is dead; all print stems from form.
Over those four days, we looked at the smooth vignettes and reverse texts and 12-colour print jobs, you realise the great jobs are comparable to one of those big buildings which have almost as many rooms and corridors below ground as above ground. People in general are aware only of the latter; the master builder of the former as well.
Ideas are to print and packaging what counterpoint is to music: nothing in themselves but the sine qua non for everything. Be there to listen to the music.
The Awards ceremony is being held at the St Regis in Mumbai on the evening of Thursday, 2 November.
Awards Night seat bookings are now open, contact Monica Preeti Rohra on 022 2478 7402 or write at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit printweekindiaawards.com/shortlist.html for the complete details of the shortlisted companies.