How designers make meals manufacturers scrumptious

Whether it’s the battle of plant-based brands or the move to online shopping, designers have more opportunities than ever to tickle people’s tastebuds. We spoke with studios Robot Food and This Way Up about what it takes to create a successful food brand

Several years ago, designer and type researcher Sarah Hyndman investigated how typefaces affected people’s perception of taste – discovering that the shape of a font could have a subtle influence on how sour, salty or crispy something seemed. While the ultimate test is obviously what the food is like, design and branding undoubtedly plays a major role in tickling our tastebuds. And the relationship between the two has only become more complex in recent years, as plant-based and dairy-free products duke it out in the battleground of new brands.

“Gone are the days where you’d just whack a product on the front, and expect people to believe you,” says Pip Dale, assistant creative director at design studio This Way Up. “If we were designing yoghurts, and they were all strawberry-flavoured, every brand would put a strawberry on the front, and that’s not enough anymore. Everybody can do that. We’ve got Shutterstock images you can drag anywhere and anyone can do that, so brands have to try that much harder to be more tasty than their competitors. And the competitor set is so much bigger than it used to be – you have to be far more distinctive across the board.”

Top image: Over The Spoon branding by Robot Food; Above: Nurissh branding by This Way Up

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