Burkey Belser, who designed the FDA's original Nutrition Facts label, explains why some of the label's proposed changes are problematic. No appetite for changes to the FDA’s Nutrition Facts label
"Nutrition Facts" may not look like a logo, but it is. Over the past 20 years, it has become a powerful brand. Although manufacturers make claims about nutrition on the front of their packages, the facts on the back become an island of trust among self-promotional claims elsewhere.
Very bold and light type — as well as bold and light rules — help organize the information for the consumer.
A bounding box secured our space on each package, protecting it from incursion.
The FDA's proposed new label
"Servings per container" competes for your attention with "Nutrition Facts."
The word "calories" and the number of them are shouting at you. The "amount per 2/3 cup" gets lost when tucked above "calories."
The body of the label has dissolved into chaos: It's no longer right-justified and balanced.
"% Daily Value" is tough to understand even without being abbreviated and buried in the footnote. The %DV values are squeezed and separated by a vertical rule that stops the eye from scanning right and forces it to read down.
A better label
Calories and the calorie count are the same size and a bit smaller than the riotous shout-out proposed by the FDA.
Serving size is moved below the number of calories so it reads like a sentence, more clearly relating calories to serving size. As a measurement, the gram is still a mystery to most Americans.
% Daily Value is moved to its original position. The label "% Daily Value" is larger, and the line separating it from the values themselves has been removed. Balance and harmony have been restored.
Nutrients might appear in a different order because we have learned that fat does not affect obesity as much as calories and sugar do.
SOURCE: Burkey Belser. GRAPHIC: The Washington Post. Published April 25, 2014.