Friday, June 03, 2011

A Decent Graphic? From the Government? (Unbelievable but True.)

Here’s my two cents. The new plate icon for the US Department of Agriculture’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is pretty good. I suspect that there’s going to be flack from some quarters over the new dietary representation. The USDA press release said:

MyPlate is a new generation icon with the intent to prompt consumers to think about building a healthy plate at meal times and to seek more information to help them do that by going to

In fact, I have included the url in the ‘graph above so you can explore what’s going on for yourself. The plate is (IMO) better than the old 1992 nutrition pyramid; bushels and pecks better than MyPyramid, the most recent 2005 iteration of that shape.

There are already disgruntlers; the “literalists,” for example, are represented by Andrew Weil on The Huffington Post. I suggest that the new MyPlate icon is intuitive and straightforward. It’s fresh and it’s got a budget!

According to William Neuman in his New York Times article, the USDA funded the new effort to the tune of $2 million. That covers developing the graphics, plus research and focus groups; and marketing efforts, including the web site and going-forward promotions.

The introduction is fresh so it will be a long time before anybody knows if the icon really works. Literalists aside, I call it a well-focused effort, info-graphical enough to deliver messages but not on the bleeding edge of design. Way to go, Ag.


Edith Fusillo said...

It LOOKS good, but it completely leaves out the four REAL basic food groups: Fat, Sugar, Caffeine, and Alcohol.

S Reeves said...

I love the first bullet point: Enjoy your food, but eat less.

Yet the "plate" is choc-full.