About 2 years ago, when Ketchup giant, Heinz, unveiled their new “dunk or squeeze” ketchup packet, the world applauded. Heinz’ seemingly unimportant new invention solved problems – problems we’d all just learned to live with. If we wanted the convenience of grabbing our food on-the-go, we’d have to deal with the drawbacks of the old ketchup packet, that little pouch of not-enough condiment.


We’d learned how to open that packet one-handed behind the wheel of our car. We’d learned to protect our clothes with a makeshift napkin bib because, inevitably, if we didn’t we’d be returning to the office after lunch with a newly adorned shirt and the faint smell of tomatoes. We’d just accepted that we wouldn’t be able to “dunk.”

In 2008, Heinz finally gave some attention to the packet. And, while no one was picketing their corporate offices or boycotting the little pouch of sauce, they realized the old design was far from perfect. After a year of research and development and a used mini-van for test runs, the new “dunk or squeeze” packet of ketchup was born. The new packet holds 3 times more ketchup, is easy to open, and gives us an option to dunk – even in the car.

Could the folks at Heinz have just left the packet alone? Of course, but what they did instead was genius. They didn’t just invent a ketchup packet, they solved a problem – a problem that we didn’t even know existed.

DesignContest.com is another example of such a stroke of genius. Much like the original ketchup packets that are a totally acceptable way to deliver ketchup to consumers, hiring a designer from a graphic design firm is an acceptable way to deliver design to clients. But is it the perfect way?

In 2003, Sergey Epifanov considered the drawbacks of how people get their graphic design and created a better way. Rather than spending valuable time and money searching for the right designer and hoping to get the right design, DesignContest allows its’ customers to post their graphic design needs and let the right designer come to them. Now, rather than getting only 4 or 5 designs to choose from, a client has their choice from hundreds. And, there’s no risk if they aren’t completely satisfied.

So, what can you learn from a ketchup packet? Even when sales are great and no one’s complaining, there are always ways to improve your product. Whether it’s a consumable food item, an electronic device that’s packaged in a hard-to-open clamshell, or a service like graphic design or even air conditioner repair, chances are there’s a better way to deliver that product to your customer.