The Black & White of Artisanal Brand Identity

It’s curious that two of the most powerful colors are also the most basic. They were out in force at the Fancy Food Show at the Javitz Center in New York this past summer.  Here’s a review of artisanal products making good use of them to communicate key brand messages.

Serious Foodie. Black is serious and upscale in this line of cooking sauces and rubs. It makes a perfect stage against which to set the vibrant colors of key ingredients. It’s safe to assume that flavors won’t be lacking in these recipes.
Casablanca Market. White is the backdrop for colorful ingredients at Casablanca Market, conveying purity instead of power, and suggesting luxury in a different manner than Serious Foodie.
Paul and Pippa. Black unifies the Paul and Pippa line much as it does Serious Foodie. Here, a bright background color palette is more useful than ingredient images in distinguishing varieties within the line.
R.e.d.d. Superfood Energy Bars. And again, vibrant colors on a solid black background. Pow. Superfood.
Wicked Crisps. Black is also associated with strong emotions and moral suggestions. The halo in the Wicked Crisps logo is trying to say "it's so bad that it's good."  I'm pretty sure if you eat these, you're going to roast for eternity.
Vice Cream. Vice Cream is more direct in its message. If you're going to confessional, you might as well have a great story to tell.
Jack Daniels Coffee. No fair throwing licensed product in with the above artisanal brands. But to illustrate a point, black has its own deeply ingrained meaning in Lynchville, Tennessee. If you're into brand extension, that equity seems a perfect match for a well roasted coffee bean.
Innocent Chocolate. Here's that spiritual duality thing again. Innocent Chocolate replaces the halo in Wicked Crisps with a white pair of angel's wings. This clever tactic stopped traffic on a busy aisle.
Say Yes to No. Here black and white lose their moral character and oppose one another logically, and with a clever name that doubles as a slogan. It’s about taste versus health. These are clean ingredients not to die for, but with which to satisfy your snack cravings while doing  your body a solid.
Wella Bar. Wella Bar uses black as a foil to white, setting off this well designed packaging.
Christopher Elbow Chocolates. If you showed me this packaging and said this was the finest chocolate in the world, I would be incapable of arguing.
Bonafide Drinkable Veggies. Thanks to Mr. White, Bonefide Drinkable Veggies products are fresh and pure, with just the right amount of yummy veggie broth.
Caption FIVE Here. This is stunning graphic design and, in the BBQ category, very ownable. The label is so artisanal, it does not so much as lean on a medical or chemical heritage as it does launch from it.
MilkBoy Swiss Chocolate. This rugged illustration in black ink strongly conveys a sense of the alpine wilderness from which the MilkBoy brand emerges. What archetype does he represent? Explorer, mystic, hero or saint? Thanks to this package I not only want to taste, but to engage.


Michael Gold

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