Product: Packaging: Shipping
Product Size Identification Rectangle   (+5)  [vote for, against]
Rectangles of a given size printed on the front of a commercial package, so you can see how large it is in ads.

Often one sees a wonderful-looking product in a commercial or billboard, packaged in a shiny-looking cardboard box. Too often, when the package comes in the mail, it is revealed that instead of being the formidable size that it appeared to be, the toaster that you ordered is actually only three inches wide.

To combat this problem, bright-colored rectangles of a predetermined, regulated size should be printed prominently on the front of every commercial package. The rectangles must be clearly visible in all advertisements. This way, you can use the rectangle as a comparison in the ad to determine how big the package is, so you don't buy something that's too big or too small. Different colors could show different sizes; red=three inches, blue=one foot. Or for you metric folks, six centimeters and half a meter. Whatever.
-- DrWorm, Dec 14 2009

Would be nice if rectangles actually conformed to some sort of regimentation. Unfortunately the buggers seem to collapse to this pq rectangle where p and q are both prime, with sides xp and yq ending up as describing all rectangkes. Farkin' englorious besterds!
-- 4whom, Dec 14 2009

I like this idea - even though I don't think it's necessary, it would be useful. To prevent the rectangles becoming confused with the actual package design, you'd have to regulate specific placement within the design - only one such rectangle, placed in the lower left or some such, no obscuring text, that sort of thing.
-- tatterdemalion, Dec 14 2009

Actually, Quest, I don't know how big a ruler is. Is this hypothetical "ruler" metric or imperial? Assuming the latter, some rulers range from 6 inches to 18 inches in length, And that's saying nothing about the ruler's thickness, or it's width...

In all seriousness, though, this isn't a rant, just as your "Canon Cans" idea wasn't, either. It's just a helpful way to solve a common problem.
-- DrWorm, Dec 15 2009

[21 Quest] that's good of you to come to the defense of those nefarious and dishonest advertisers who try to fool people about their products, but in fact you've further defined a problem this idea solves.
-- tatterdemalion, Dec 15 2009

sp. "rectangular prism"
-- FlyingToaster, Dec 15 2009

You might need a branded item for the sake of recognition.

Maybe an standard-sized plasticine person might do the job as such a figure could be seen doing advert appropriate activities.
-- Aristotle, Dec 15 2009

Rectangles are all well and good but will doubtless cause problems for designers of packaging and advertising. What is needed, then, is an element that can be added to the composition of said materials in such a way as to (a) allow for attractive packaging etc and (b) quickly convey relative size. So, rather than develop standardised rectangles, develop a standardised child, to be pictured grasping or coveting the object in question. If it isn't possible to standardise the child, use a another humanoid form, such as Lord Charles.

Ach, shit, Aristotle beat me to it.
-- calum, Dec 15 2009

Yes, anthropomorphic or xenomorphic is certainly more expressive, and ad friendly, than a rectangle.
-- Aristotle, Dec 16 2009

I for one think rectangles can be pretty cute.
-- DrWorm, Dec 16 2009

It's already pretty standard to use a standard human as a reference point. For example, in car advertising:

Children are a bit too variable in size, so use an adult. Women and men are different average heights; there are more women than men so standardise on women. To maximise clarity, the measuring person needs to be completely visible, so they need to be at the front of the car, ie. on the bonnet, and not have too many obscuring clothes.
At least, I suppose that is their thought-process.
-- Loris, Dec 16 2009

random, halfbakery