With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…
• The Washington Post this morning notes the passing of Burkey Belser, described as "a graphic designer who created the ubiquitous nutrition facts label — a stark rectangle listing calories, fat, sodium and other content information — that adorns the packaging of nearly every digestible product in grocery stores."
He was 76, and the cause was bladder cancer.
The Post obit frames his contributions this way:
"Mr. Belser’s nutrition facts label — rendered in bold and light Helvetica type — was celebrated as a triumph of public health and graphic design when it debuted in 1994 following passage of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act.
Although some products had previously included nutritional information, there was no set standard, and the information was of little public health value in helping consumers make better food choices. The new law, drafted as obesity and other diet-related illnesses were surging, required mandatory food labels with nutrients presented in the context of a healthy 2,000-calorie-a-day diet."
According to the story, "The Food and Drug Administration chose Mr. Belser to design the nutrition label following his success creating the black and yellow energy guide label for appliances. Once dubbed the 'Steve Jobs of information design,' Mr. Belser’s fondness for exceedingly simple design perfectly suited him for a job that required stripping down nutritional facts to the bare essentials."
Here's one remarkable piece of information - Belser did the work pro bono, because the US Congress did not appropriate any funds for the design.