I’m a bit of a snob.
I know what you’re thinking: “Kelly, you write a food blog. Duh; obviously you’re a major food snob.” Truthfully, though, I’m only a food snob internally. Outwardly, I don’t judge Joe Coworker when he thinks a wilted piece of iceberg lettuce makes his triple bacon cheeseburger a tour-de-force of healthy lunching. Unless Joe Coworker and I happen to be on friendly terms, I’m not going to make some snarky comment about how he’s on a fast track to Heart Attack City. Recently my boyfriend commended me on what a nonchalant vegan I am, on how I don’t expect anyone to cater to me and how that really makes it difficult for anyone to apply the “picky, hard-to-please, snooty vegan” stereotype to me. And that’s really what I’m going for – my veganism is a part of my life – a big part! – but it’s not the entirety of my life. It’s a choice I made. I believe that it’s the most ethical, healthy lifestyle, but I’m not going to push it on anyone or get in Joe Coworker’s face and tell him I’m better than him because I’m eating tempeh for lunch.
But I am a snob. More specifically, a label snob. But not the type of labels you’re imagining. Heck, my favorite place to buy clothes is the thrift store – my closet is quite free of designer labels. What I’m saying is that I am snobby about literal labels, the kind you find on any pre-packaged product. I just like things to be aesthetically pleasing, well-designed, and free of hideous fonts (Comic Sans, I’m looking at you). Is that so much to ask? I know it’s somewhat irrational, but if I’m perusing the racks and see a product with a label that’s covered in Papyrus (which sucks), I give it a withering look and move on. Newsflash: using Papyrus does not automatically infuse your crappy funeral-parlor-scented candle with some sort of exotic, mystical flair. It’s so overused and unoriginal! And if your label boasts blinding neon colors, beveled text, and drop shadows, I’ll be equally unimpressed. Closing your eyes, opening Photoshop, smashing your fists against the keyboard and blindly clicking does not a beautiful design make. So you don’t have the budget to hire a graphic designer? Fine! Just keep it simple! Use a nice, unobjectionable sans serif font (Helvetica is popular for a reason) and a tasteful color combination. Nobody will object to that! Nobody!
If you can’t tell, I get a little passionate about this stuff. I’m not shallow when it comes to people, but I’ll admit to being quite judgmental about graphic design. So when I recently needed to replenish my lip balm stock and decided to do it via Etsy, I found myself in quite a quandary. See, I love Etsy. I love supporting people who use their talents to make a living and who share their fun, handmade products with the world. I especially love supporting people who do this using cruelty-free ingredients. But I’m not gonna lie – some Etsy products are just plain ugly. When I searched for vegan lip balms, I saw so many ugly labels and hideous fonts that I felt like giving up the search entirely. I persevered, however, and eventually settled on two tubes from DressGreen, which feature simple, modern, and attractive labels.*
They arrived a few days later, in all their tastefully-labeled glory. I chose vanilla and grapefruit, and both are perfectly scented – recognizable, but not too strong. I have to use a gentle touch with them, however, because if I apply them too thickly, they occasionally leave a bit of white residue. Other than that minor downside, I’m perfectly happy with my purchase. These are free of animal products and unpleasant chemicals, and I definitely recommend them next time your sweet vegan lips feel a bit chapped.
Score one for being shallow and judging things by their labels.
P.S. Check out the links in this post. They’re funny, I promise.
* I just noticed that a couple of DressGreen’s other products have Papyrus on the labels. Um. I’ll just pretend I didn’t see that, because the rest of their labels are quite pleasing to my eyes!