Spaghetti Pack DesignPosted by in Design
While some foods and drinks are global such as pizzas, hamburgers, ice cream, and sugar-loaded soft drinks, most of it is local and rather traditional. We eat and drink the way our parents already were used to.
When it comes to the package design of various food categories, most designs have today become quite global, as the rule of the game is to build strong international brands to achieve economy of scale.
However, certain countries have developed interesting and unique designs in categories which are typical for their local culture. If a young pack designer wants to learn more about cheese packaging, go to France, about breakfast cereal packaging, go to UK, about wine label design, go to Australia, about countline chocolate, go to UK and about spaghetti packaging, go to Italy! That is what I did and here is what I found:
Apart from the global brand Barilla and to a certain extent Buitoni, spaghetti wrappers or cartons are all designed to express tradition, either through typography, the brand icon or material. This means that there is a numerous amount of producers (as the beer market in Germany) where each of them wants to be unique, but within the category design standards, just as a
Bordeaux wine label. What I like with Italian spaghetti pack designs is the creativity within given rules
- a window is a must (well, here Barilla is different for various reasons as for instance the big exported quantities and when you are No 1, it’s all about branding);
- the type of spaghettis, i.e. No 104, No 7, No 5, etc.;
- cooking time (mostly 6-10 min.);
- ‘old is good’, i.e. factories from 1848, 1824, 1886, etc.
- memorable brand icons (la nonna, the ship, the casa, the seal, etc.)
In a world with more and more boring typography (as much is today computer-generated and not handcrafted), I like to see so much italic scripts on Italian pasta packages! I also like the decorative elements which are added to give the pack a less industrial look. I once wrote an article that reads: First you design (focus and simplify), then you decorate (give life to the design). This is what most Italian spaghetti, well all pasta, packages are all about. I also like the variety of materials from plain plastic as De Cecco to a combination of plastic and paper with metal eyelets to close the pack which is a way of saying handpacked.
Apart from Buitoni, it is interesting to see that most packages are blue and white. Unfortunately, the back panels are less inspiring! Only Barilla are constantly looking to improve them, but even they have too much information. I am not speaking of the cooking instructions in 5-6 languages which is a must, as these products are widely distributed.
Most of the illegible text (too small as it is too much) could today be given through the website! I would love to once sit with an Italian producer to select essential information for the consumer, drop the rest and render the back of the pack as interesting as the daily free journal I pick up in the morning… One could write bigger texts, giving tips and stress the cooking time (too often difficult to find and printed with too small fonts) in order to get the spaghetti AL DENTE.
Dear Italian design friends, don’t lose this unique design style! I call it packaging art! It is our role as designers to heighten consumers’ taste and not to give in to so-called modern design. Have a look at the Coca-Cola logotype. It dates back to the 19th century and is still going strong!