Hooray! Its the retro packaging aesthetic round-up!

Following the stratospherically popular “Its the faded parchment screen print agitprop aesthetic YouTube round-up“, I now present images of a couple of packages that are currently sitting my kitchen work surface.  In both cases, the aesthetic is characterised by bold primary colours and muddle of typefaces.  Its reminiscent of early mass produced packages, the sort of thing you might find in a corner shop or rural out-post.  Its a reaction, I think, against the idea of companies as ‘brands’ that diversify into all manner of products.  This aesthetic hints that there’s a good old traditional supply chain here, with a farm and a factory, that is bringing tangible produce to your local independent grocer’s store.  Quite misleading, of course, but also delightful.

Quaker JUMBO oats make a lovely porridge
Quaker JUMBO oats make a lovely porridge

Red Bush tea
Red Bush tea

One designer has taken this sentiment a stage further, and created some budget greetings cards, done in the style of the supermarkets’ own brand packaging. The ‘Cost Cutters Condolence Card’ is pretty brutal.
I’m sure I could have crow-barred a reference to Warhol in there somewhere, but we’ve all seen his Marylins, and are familiar with the mass produced nature of our culture. What interests me now is the way in which the very aesthetics of early mass production are being co-opted. Even our nostalgia is for the mass-produced era now!
If I thought people were more culturally and visually aware, I would say that this has something to do with us now living in the Age of the Remix, where no two people experience the same thing in the same way… But I think that’s a conceptual link too far for the moment (ask me again in 10 years).


Now I think of it, that Obama poster had a similar feel, no?

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