Celebrating mass-produced, frugal, aesthetic design from india

The common man’s cigarette comes in a well thought packaging


A beedi (from hindi : बीड़ी; also spelled bidi or biri) is a thin, South Asian cigarette filled with tobacco flake and wrapped in a tendu leaf tied with a string at one end. The word comes from beeda,  Marwari for a leaf wrapped in betel nuts, herbs, and condiments.

Read more about it in our special post on beedi packaging from November :http://designmela.org/2012/11/08/beedi/

What makes it so special ?

What captures our imagination is the vibrant yet simple beedi packaging. In a market flooded with competition brands each beedi brand strives to create a mental space in the mind of the consumer. This is done through a iconic packaging using simple objects as icons. The makers are intelligent and use a strong mnemonic by using recall value as the biggest brand equity. Catchy nouns like camel ,kailash, kadak which induce a subtle humour for the first time consumer to high recall the next time , are made brand names.


The colour pallete (neon pinks ,yellows , red )is intentionally strong and successfully overcomes cognitive disssonance. The values of fun, playfulness get associated through colour with a potentially fatal product. However today,  this pallette is internalised in the mind of an Indian consumer and screams affordability.The momchromatic/dual colours also is a cost effective way of printing at a large scale.


The choice of materials also is simple :paper wrapped and stuck lightly with glue so as to not waste time of the user in opening and still keep the cost effectiveness which makes the product so lucrative.

A traditional method of tobacco use throughout South Asia and parts of the Middle East, today beedies are popular and inexpensive in  India There, beedi consumption outpaces that of conventional cigarettes although these tobacco-filled leaves deliver more nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar  and carry a greater risk of oral cancers.

Beedies accounted for 48% of Indian tobacco consumption in 2008.

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