Massimo Vignelli and Bloomingdale’s shopping bag

In 1973 the Italian designer, Massimo Vignelli, invented the first shopping bag for Bloomingdale's, the American department store chain. He created three sizes, ‘Little’, ‘Medium’ and ‘Big’, which are still used to this day.

The brilliant idea – inspired by American signs – behind this straightforward object was that the packaging is among the few elements the consumer retains after leaving the shop and that recalls the purchasing experience. Bloomingdale’s realised that, besides being useful to the consumer, the bags could also expose the brand to a potentially unlimited public, thus becoming a promotional channel for the brand itself.
Since then, each brand has created its own shopper bag which customers can readily identify thanks to certain distinctive elements: either bright colours – the Hermès orange or the Tiffany blue come to mind – or even the logo can function as the prominent feature.
Thanks to these simple objects, consumers take home (besides the purchased goods) a brand’s very essence.