Irrationality & Design

I am often derided for being too logical. Indeed, a recent personality test I took at work identified me as an INTP, the hallmark of which is apparently logic. On the other hand, the following personal anecdote would seem to be anything but logical:

The Flavia coffee machine at work takes a small packet and magically produces a much-needed, caffeine-laden cup of coffee. These sachets are held in labelled drawers which sit next to the machine.

A couple of weeks ago, Flavia updated their sachet designs as shown in the image below. For a week or two afterwards, one drawer of Intense Dark Roast would tend to have the old designs in it, and the new designs would be in the other drawer.

On more than one occasion I would open a drawer, pick up one of the sachets in it, and upon realising it was the old design place it back in the drawer to hunt for one of the new designs in another drawer. This process was not entirely conscious, as it took me about a week to become aware of what I had been doing.

Old style (left), and new style (right) of sachet designs. Old style (left), and new style (right) of sachet designs

Its possible that some logic behind my actions could be found. Perhaps I thought they had also updated the flavour, although I would like to think I am not that gullible; or maybe I thought the new design would be "fresher" coffee. Whilst there may be some truth in that, I still feel that if I didn't know which design was the newest, or the freshest, I would choose the one on the right every time.

What I am trying to say, is that design matters. There I was, subconsciously choosing one packet over another based on its design, and its near enough the same product. Now imagine that these were two competing coffees, vying for a lucrative deal with my office based on which was picked off the shelf more—I struggle to believe that there would be enough of a taste difference between the two to overcome the fact that people will probably choose their coffee based on how the packaging looks.

Admittedly there is little new in what I am saying, if anything at all. However, its seems that some people could do with hearing it some more.