POST: B The Plain Tobacco Packaging Design Initiative of Australia

The Tobacco Plain Packaging act 2011 was a top-down initiative which was funded and created by the Australian government to minimise the tobacco usage in Australia. I chose to talk about this design imitative because in my opinion is the best design related initiative to tobacco control to this date, other than some very graphic and intensely emotional TV commercials tied in with the plain packaging initiative. Another reason why I believe it was so successful and interesting to me is because it goes against basic design ethics, this is a product they have redesigned to make consumers NOT want to buy the product, which to me as a product designer is very interesting and creative to say the least.

The new re-design of the packaging is very basic but also very powerful. Some key features of the new redesign in 2012 are:

  • Bright yellow and black health warning sign.
  • Very unappealing dark green colour.
  • No brand logo.
  • Large white descriptive text (slogans).
  • Graphic images of health risks related to tobacco usage.
Australia’s Plan Tobacco Package Design (2012)

It was hard to find some legitimate evidence to the effectiveness of this initiative other then some statistics dated up to 2016 from the Department of health ‘Smoking prevalence rates’ page. But with some primary research and observations over the years I have discovered that the packaging has stopped people from starting up smoking because of the intense imagery when looking at the package. I have also seen it stop a number of people from smoking because of the social impact caring the disgusting packaging everywhere has on them.

Some issues and challenges the Australian Government encountered in 2012 during the implementation of this act was a lawsuit from the tobacco companies which the Australian Government won. This was actually great lawsuit for the world because other countries continued in Australia’s footsteps because of the fact that Australia won, in which I do hope the Indonesian government does also follow. Other initiatives not design related (seen in the Tobacco Control Timeline) that were tied in with this act that also really helped Australia become less inclined to use tobacco are, increased tobacco taxes, and a lot of non-smoking areas and making it illegal to smoke within 4 to 10 meters from a restaurant. All of these Australian initiatives design related or not are all very important and should be followed or beaten by all other counties of the world.


The Department of health, Tobacco Control Timeline, viewed 10 January 2019,


Liberty works, WTO plain packaging verdict is an assault on liberty, viewed 10 January 2019,


University of Melbourne 2018, Big Tobacco vs Australia’s Plain Packing, viewed 11 January 2019


The Department of health, Tobacco Plain Packaging Evaluation, Viewed 11January 2019,


The Department of health, Smoking Prevalence Rates, Viewed 11January 2019,


One thought on “POST: B The Plain Tobacco Packaging Design Initiative of Australia

  1. Nice read up of our Australian plain packaging initiative. We have all seen these packages and seen the extremely graphic ads on T.V., and I agree that it has had a great impact on our youth and their perception towards tobacco use. This graphic campaign approach is something that should definitely be used by many countries as well.

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