May 19

From global to local

Posted by Packaging Sense in Trends | Uncategorized

Having had the pleasure to design packages since 1962 when I left the Graphic Institute in Stockholm, I’ve experienced several trends, from the Carrefour white (so-called non-branded) products to the retailers’ brands, from bio-designs to super premium designs, etc.

This article is about the latest trend which is to go back in time and offer consumers products from very local producers, be it a farm, a small factory with handpacked products or multinationals’ offers from a local producer. It goes without saying that the designs are created accordingly.

What I specially like in today’s supermarkets is the variety of designs, i.e. the vast choice for the consumer. That makes shopping interesting and stimulating!

The first design I fell on straight out of school was the global TIDE bull’s eye effect package, still going strong today as it is an example of impact package design. Impact because it remains very simple, following my advice “do it BIG or stay in bed”. As this brand, i.e. global pack design, profits from millions of dollars of advertising, it can stay fairly simple.

Now, when we come to local designs, the problem is quite different as such designs, i.e. products, are not supported by any other media. Thus the pack must tell the whole story. So how do I then attract the consumer, making my design unique? There are many ways. Here they are, not necessarily in order of importance:

Oldfashioned ‘containers’ as for instance the bag/pouch/sack closed with a string or a cord, or a glass jar with a special lid.

Please note that a ‘local design’ is very often a combination of several materials which amplifies the homemade touch. This is typical for all those local Italian pasta makers.

The addition of a label, a tag or anything which is added by hand as on this mushroom salami.

A very special typography, often handwritten. Please note that when I speak of ‘local’, it can be a region as big as New Zealand or as small as your local dairy.




Most local designs show only the product, as the obligatory text can easily be added on a label or a tag!

Even national brands such as Michel et Augustin in France (or Innocent in the UK) add the local touch through typography or a specific ‘homemade style’. These packs are of course not local, but play on this emotional ground. The Innocent yearly promotion with the small knitted hats on the lid is an excellent example.


This Yorkshire product is not only using the term “locally sourced” as a sales argument, but even the farmer’s name “Anna Longthorp” to amplify the origin.

Local is a sales argument McDonald discovered many years ago. They clearly indicate on packages, as well as in their brochures, that the raw material (meat, vegetables, etc.) is local, in this case 100% Swiss.

Conclusion: The more we learn about ecology and a sustainable society, the more we look for local products. As can be seen from the above, with just a few examples, it is possible to communicate the localness, be it from the local farmer or your own country.

April 2014

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