M&S beefeaters do a stalwart job
Here is a box of party sweets from M&S, part of the slew of patriotic packaging for our summer of jubilee celebrations and sport. Amongst a busy crowd of red, white and blue I think it stands out as both appealing and smart. It’s one of a set of products in store, all in a similar retro style.
Part of the smartness lies in its instant nostalgia, triggered by a style owing much to Czech illustrator Miroslav Sasek’s children’s books from the 50s. It charms.
In a more general sense, the design recalls the way Union Jacks and suchlike were used in the whole 60′s Carnaby Street “I was Lord Kitchener’s Valet” style that was itself playfully nostalgic way back then. So it’s kind of a nod to a nod to a nod. Certainly the copper and kid on another pack in the range recall an era before youths rioted for leisurewear.
But the real smartness comes from the pack exploiting own label’s advantage: without a brand to proclaim, the design can be very pure. It’s an incredibly single minded piece of work, its whole point resting on the appeal of the illustration, uncluttered even by so much as a boldly stated product descriptor.
Being so pure it works fantastically as a row and from the side. The neatest touch is that the sweetie packs are dispensed from a window in the beefeater’s belly.
One might argue that the pack is just a pastiche. But as pastiches go, it’s a rather good one and adds to the gaiety of our nation, I think.