It is easy to underestimate the importance of packaging.
Electronic manufacturers spend millions of dollars in design and manufacturing to package their gadgets. We wrap birthday presents, wax our car’s exteriors and dress our best for interviews. Authors have book covers designed, while musicians fuss over album art.
But there is more. In the era of HDTV, we go to stadiums to watch games without the benefit of TV replays and despite the action being so far away. We attend classical music concerts despite digital mediums creating better aural experiences in our living rooms. We watch movies and read books set in the places we visit on vacation.
All of these decisions do not make rational sense if we were to neglect the form and focus on the substance of those experiences. But substance is not everything. In fact, in most cases, substance is nothing without the right packaging.
While our minds understand and interpret substance, our brains comprehend both the tangible substance and the intangible form it takes.
We are told not to judge a book by its cover. But the moment we look at a book, we cannot help but do just that.