Sainsbury’s design heaven

One of my Christmas presents this year was a copy of “Own Label”, a lovely book that showcases the work of Sainsbury’s design studio from 1962 to 1977.

Sainsbury’s Lemon Pie Mix

Back in 1962, Peter Dixon joined the Sainsbury’s Design Studio and oversaw a revolution in packaging design. Not only did Peter’s commitment to modernist design influence the way people shopped, it helped to make Sainsbury’s into a mega brand.

As a kid I don’t remember my folks ever shopping at Sainsbury’s. Living in Marple our weekly shop was done in the local Spar and Co-op. I think even in the early seventies Sainsbury’s was considered quite a posh place to shop.

What I do remember about being pushed or occasionally dragged around supermarkets is the excitement that came from gazing at the isles of exotically packaged goods. Vesta curries, cereal packets featuring the current Doctor Who and multipacks of twirly salt and vinegar flavoured snacks, yes, we were certainly a sophisticated lot back then!

Looking through “Own Label’ brings some of those vivd childhood memories back into focus.

What is interesting is that the design work still looks modern and fresh, even by today’s standards. Lots of bold typography, vibrant colours, geometric shapes and illustrations. It’s clear that this work inspired a generation of designers.

“Own Label” was lovingly put together by Fuel Design Studio in collaboration with the Sainsbury family and The Sainsbury Archive.

It’s a really interesting book, difficult to put down, slightly odd (especially when you find yourself cooing over frozen Cod packaging) but well worth investigating.

You can read more about “Own Label” on the Fuel Design Website.