Books, Art, & Visual Culture


Writing and design by Melissa Hill, graphic designer.

Inspired by this week...

This is just a little post to remark on how you can find inspiration anywhere, even when you’re doing the groceries. And as distracting as I can find the packaging designs in the supermarket (my husband usually has to put up with me getting completely sidetracked with questions like “Hey, is this packaging different? I’m pretty sure they’ve redesigned the branding, what did it look like before?), it’s not quite as entertaining as the European deli. Perhaps it’s simply the exotic feeling of these products and brands that you don’t see in every store, or perhaps it’s the cultural difference in design sensibility that makes it quite an adventure poking through the deli aisles. Shout out to our deli of choice: Portman Continental Butchers in Oakleigh (Melbourne, Australia).


This brand of tinned fish grabbed my attention: the big flat areas of warm colour really appeal to me. The decorative serif is probably not something I would choose myself if I were designing tins of sardines, but it does add a certain whimsical touch that you just won’t find on a tin of John West.


Why do I love the Podravka packaging? Is it the bright yellow background? Is it the stern Eastern European vibe of the Podravka logo itself? Is it the juxtaposition of primary colours vibrating together? I think it’s all of the above, plus that cheesy looking cow.


You probably don’t need any introduction to Bonne Maman jams… they actually are available in most supermarkets and provide just the right amount of rustic charm to any self respecting B&B table. I haven’t seen their quince jelly before though, which seems to have the distinction of a blue checkered lid instead of a red one. Love that “hand-written” label.


OK, so this paprika is Hungarian, but how Russian Contructivist does the packaging design look? If it didn’t say paprika right there on the bag, I would have imagined that the packages contained coffee… very very strong coffee that will keep you awake for a week.


I just thought this one looked like a lot of fun. I actually can’t stand anchovies, but there’s a certain rustic charm in those little fillets against red metal lid. The sunset gradient on the label and the cheesy bubble type evoke a summer holiday feel and I can’t get enough of that.

Next time you’re in your local deli, have a look around and see what you can find. I’d love to see what you come up with!