The aesthetics of a label sells but does not ensure the quality of a product

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The aesthetics of a label sells but does not ensure the quality of a product

Grocery > gave an overview of this trend where painters, illustrators and graphic designers embellish the packaging of many products such as beer, wine, coffee or chocolate.

At the “L'état de choc” chocolate factory, the packaging of fine chocolates is licked closer together than others.

When we shop for groceries, we are exposed to over 30,000 different products. However, 85% of new products do not survive on the shelves for more than a year.

It's a relationship of seduction, explains Sylvain Allard, professor and director of the graphic design program at UQAM. Packaging and graphics make the first sale. And that, the food companies have understood: they work hard to seduce us with their increasingly neat labels.

Labels play a big role in the perception of the quality of a product. It is also a way for companies to express the artisanal side of their production. By developing a culture of local food, we wanted to speak to our people with a language of proximity, with the language of Quebec, for example. This gives a lot of diversity in the products compared to a time when we had products that all looked a little alike with a suggested presentation, notes the graphic design professor.

In a context where microbreweries are multiplying and where competition is increasingly fierce, they use creativity to attract the attention of consumers. Pierre-Luc Gagnon, beer advisor and manager of the microbrewery section at Dépanneur Peluso Rachel, where nearly 2,000 beers are on display, saw this.

“The world of beer is among the most fragmented in terms of labeling. »

— Pierre-Luc Gagnon, beer advisor and manager of the microbrewery section at Dépanneur Peluso Rachel

There's something for everyone: from very refined cans to humorous illustrations and color mosaics. I've been working at Peluso for 12 years and I see it. When there's something special on a can, people pay attention to it. It's really what's on the packaging that will get people talking more than what's in the can, adds the beer expert.

At the Peluso convenience store, on Rachel Street, in Montreal, nearly 2,000 beers are trying to attract customers with their labels colorful, illustrated or sophisticated.

From the 1980s and 1990s, breweries like Boréale or Unibroue rejected traditional packaging, with their classic coats of arms or their aesthetics linked to the world of sport, in favor of more original labels. They started wanting to tell stories. We want to tell stories and attach a story to our product, explains Sylvain Allard.

A few years ago, it always felt like brewers were doing business with their Photoshop-savvy cousins. It gave the impression that they were brewing their beer in the basement, notes Pierre-Luc Gagnon.

However, today, many artists have emerged thanks to Quebec alcohols and live from their art on the products. Pierre-Luc Gagnon notes that beer lovers are increasingly familiar with and recognize certain illustrators, while several microbreweries even indicate the information on their cans.

After beer, ciders, spirits and wines have also turned to artists for their new clothes.

Louis-Philippe Mercier, co-owner of La Boîte à Vins, works with a hundred winegrowers from all over Quebec. In the last five years, with the arrival of natural wines, almost everyone has changed their labels to adjust to the market, he explains.

Winegrowers, whether in Quebec or elsewhere, are increasingly calling on artists or to marketing agencies to embellish their labels.

Traditional labels with castles to designate a winery are now outdated. “We're trying to get away from that, to have something a little bit more funky, more colorful. We often hire artists or marketing firms to have something out of the ordinary,” says Louis-Philippe Mercier.

Pinard et Filles wines have done a lot talk about their beginnings when they teamed up with the painter Marc Séguin to illustrate their bottles. The label created a craze for a wine that the public had not yet tasted.

Pinard et Filles wines have partnered with the painter Marc Séguin to illustrate their bottles.

Pinard et Filles is perhaps still the wine that is most in demand on the market today. They really exploded on social media. Back then, five or six years ago, we didn't really sell on Instagram and such. There was a strategy on appearance which was very, very strong, explains Louis-Philippe Mercier.

“Do we is made to buy for the look? It sure helps. But the important thing is the content and not the container. »

—Louis-Philippe Mercier, co-owner, The Wine Box

Professor Sylvain Allard agrees. Packaging can make a first sale, but it doesn't necessarily guarantee that the consumer will come back. There is all the same a loyalty that can be done through the image, which is also a pleasure of the object. The object is not only functional but also aesthetic.

Far from brown paper bags, the trend for beautiful packaging is also well established among micro-roasters. For example, the products of Café Traffic, a Montreal micro-roaster, are packaged in colorful bags and adorned with original illustrations that often refer to popular culture.

At Café Traffic, we rely on colorful packaging and almost all the graphic design is done in-house.

Jesse Lewin, co-founder of Café Traffic, says no one took him seriously when he offered to wrap his coffees in wrappers resembling bags of candy. Five years ago, no one saw the coffee bag as an object but simply as a container of coffee, adds his colleague Simon-Pierre Giguère, production director and co-director of design.

At Café Traffic, almost all graphic design is done in-house. We are very proud of the coffee we choose and the beans we roast. We want this quality to be reflected in our branding. We also want to communicate the personality of the employees, explains Simon-Pierre Giguère.

Spreads, sauces, chocolates… Food art is now on display across Canada. In Anglo-Saxon countries, where the notion of marketing is very present, we feel this kind of energy which continues and which seems to have no borders. When you're done with pink coffee wrappers, it seems like anything is possible. And why not? concludes Sylvain Allard.

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