Offline Design Inspiration, Part 3: Food Packaging

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Whether it’s a combination of colors, interesting logos or the promise of what lies inside, food packaging is something the vast majority of us look at every day. If we haven’t tried, or seen a product before, the packaging is what’s going to draw us in, make us pick the box up and read more about it.

As a simple example, let’s take cornflakes in the supermarket. If I came across either of these for the first time, to me, the Kellogg’s pack looks infinitely superior and more appealing. Although both show similar information — a logo, an image, both have white space – it is the use of strong colors, a larger bolder image and the nutritional information on the pack on the left which conveys a richness. The value corn flakes are cheaper to buy, but they look cheap, too.

Corn-Flakes-Corn-Flake-pa-005 tesco-value

How is this related to web design? Well, good design is good design, and many of the concepts will be the same regardless of where the design is used. In general terms, the packaging design should attract attention, it should make the product appealing, and it can impress us with creativity. Just like a website.

So below I’ve picked out some creative, some innovative, and hopefully inspiring food packaging. If you’re hungry, look away now because here are fifteen examples of cool food packaging design.

1. There’s a lovely retro feel to this Cookies and Cream cake mix. The retro look is achieved using an old style font with simple flat illustration.

cake-mix

2. The brightly colored and illustrated packaging is obviously aimed at the kid’s market.

chicken-nuggets

3. Clean and cool, it’s the Chilly Billy.

4. A fairly trendy type-based design for these free range eggs.

fromourfarms-eggs

5. The always cool, Ben and Jerry’s packaging is very recognizable with its cartoon style illustration and fonts.

benandjerry

6. Nice use of white space and potato image on these packets of Darling Spuds crisps.

darlindspuds1

darlindspuds2

7. Elegant typography and label design on Sarabeth’s jam.

jamjars

8. The Little Dish company have a range of food aimed at children. Each package has its own beautiful illustrated character.

LittleDish

9. If I could actually stomach the thoughts of eating sardines, then I would buy this pack for the design alone.

sardines

10. The labels on these Via Roma food jars feature humorous black and white photography, combined with an elegant modern typeface.

spaghetti

11. Clear honey, clear label with a cute logo from Waitrose.

waitrosehoney

12. Not for human consumption, but it is appealing! Simple icons on a range of colored labels make an attractive design on these puppy snacks.

yuppy-puppy-dogbiscuits

13. A very clean modern design for yoghurt.

yoghurt

14. Popfish is a Japanese restaurant in Brazil and this is their brightly colored packaging.

popfish

15. And, finally, my own personal favorite. Not quite food, but a very cool strawberry batman milk cocktail.

batman

Where to find more sites about packaging design:

Dzinebites

The Dieline

Graphic Exchange

And of course this is supposed to be about offline inspiration, so keep your eyes peeled in your local shop, restaurant, café! Take pictures of the designs you like and keep them for inspiration further down the line.

What did you think of these designs? Have you seen any other food packaging that made you think “wow” recently?

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  • http://www.clearwind.nl peach

    Dude, great post! (yes I know you’re a girl)
    I love how food packaging can look the same as a website design. Not exactly, but the ambience and communication in some of these food designs are perfectly suitable for websites and I’ve never though about food packaging that way.

    I think the ten top egg box typography and colors would look awesome on a weblog.

  • http://www.magain.com/ Matthew Magain

    Now I’m hungry.

  • Fredrik

    One problem I see when adapting offline design to web design is that you often tend to focus on what looks good to read and miss the interactive aspect you often need when it comes to the web. But of course, read-only information can surely be inspired by food packages but don’t miss out on the interactive aspect.

  • http://www.historycommons.org/ Black Max

    Nice post, Jennifer. One thing that makes for successful packaging–whether it be cornflakes or Web sites–is a design that appeals to your target audience. It’s clear which products in your lineup appeals to an upscale market (i.e. younger buyers with more high-end tastes), which is trying to appeal to older buyers, kids, etc. The Batman “milk cocktail” is brilliant. I’d buy one just to pour out the contents, wash the package, and put it on a shelf somewhere.

  • http://www.laughingliondesign.net Jennifer Farley

    Thanks Peach, and that’s Miss Dude to you ;-)

    Fredrik, you’re right, obviously for the web we have the interactive aspect to consider, but ultimately regardless of the medium, clear communication with your audience is the key. Some websites get carried away with the bells and whistle and forget about the simple stuff.

    Thanks Blackmax. If you put the empty batman carton on your shelf, keep a little bit of pink milk to spill at the front. Very cool, isn’t it?

  • ArticleScholar

    Number 6 is plain genius! :)

  • http://www.crearedesign.co.uk TomBradshaw

    I agree, good design is good design. It can be a struggle to come up with new ideas – taking inspiration from the ‘offline world’ is really important.