Marks and Spencer you clever buggers!
On a number of occasions I have heard that when a recession hits or a company faces hard times one of the first areas of a business or economy to take cuts is the creativity and arts based sector. Yet that idea is completely counter-intuitive, creative people have the ability to think outside of the box and if a company needs to diversify or re-think their approach, who better than those who are used to facing that challenge everyday? So what does that have to do with Marks & Spencer?? WELL… on a recent trip to M&S with my mum (lets have summert special for tea) I came across the most amazing pieces of creativity in the most surprising department of the store: M&S food.
Of course its not unusual to see a bit of nice graphic design on an odd piece of packaging but it is the overall completeness of the food packaging that makes me drool nearly as much as the goodies inside. The humble chocolate bars in the funkiest wrappers with patterns that would look amazing as fabrics and wallpapers, I would struggle to throw the wrapper into the recycling bin.
Simple small tins are treated to simple clever abstract characters with eyes as big as the kids bellies when they spy the toffee tins. Bright and colourful Christmas tins make for great decorations and with a piece of ribbon trapped in the lid, they would make perfect hanging decorations for the tree.
The most special looking packaging that Marks and Spencer have produced specially for Christmas is their tins, whether that is sweets or biscuits the tins have the most wonderful shapes and vintage style prints which are cute, humorous and very good quality.
The mouldings of the tin make the tins of biscuits like small sculptures as they sit on the shelves of the supermarket. If you think I’m being a bit over-zealous about some food packaging, just think, when was the last time you stopped in Asda, Sainsburys or Tesco just to appreciate the packaging of some biscuits?? Well it beats stopping in your tracks because you can’t believe your eyes when you see that fat lass in leggings.
The classical stylings are done with equal competence and just as much character, fun flirty mice in georgian styled lozenges will have grandma smiling gleefully. My absolute favourite piece was the double decker bus of Scottish shortbread, firstly I don’t like shortbread, I’m more of an all butter choc chip cookie man, secondly Shortbread is so old fashioned. That won’t stop me gushing about the Kenneth Townsend style illustrations of the British stereotype characters that are packed into the 2 floors of the bus, its a bit London centric but its a good old fashioned British design from a good old fashioned British store. This is not just a biscuit tin…. its an M&S biscuit tin.