The receipt 30.06.11

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We looked at turning the receipt from a rarely examined item typically hidden away in wallets and purses into something useful and, we hope, a little delightful. We wanted to do this without changing the print methods or technology behind it, while exploring the underused aspects of the existing technology.

It's fascinating to think that the till is a networked object: it knows where it is and is connected to larger systems of data about its locality and, indeed, the world. To continue the thinking we did with Dentsu London (see weblink below) we wanted to explore its properties as a quick, tiny, print-on-demand media surface.

The information usually needed for filing or expenses purposes has been moved to the very top of the paper. An area has been reserved specifically for stapling or clipping together, which means the relevant details are never covered and are easy to scan through.

The rest of the receipt turns the functional aspects into something fun to look at while you're waiting for your order. There's a fortune cookie aspect to it: throwaway snippets, pub facts, conversation starters – random "year facts" can be generated for prices up to £20.11. It's a kind of everyday Schott's Miscellany.

We've also added semi-useful info-visualisation of the foods ordered based on "what the till knows" – sparklines, trends – and low-tech personalisation of information that might be useful to regulars. Customers can select events or news stories they are interested in by ticking a check box.

We think the humble receipt could be something like a paper "app" and be valuable in small and playful ways.

BERG is a London design studio and product invention company. Their collaboration with Dentsu London is at

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We wanted to explore its properties as a quick, tiny, print-on-demand media surface

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