work blog about search
 
 

Nick Asbury on Tunnocks

~ While Alistair is away cycling the length of Great Britain, we've invited twenty disgustingly talented people to each write a post for our blog. Today's post is from really-rather-good freelance copywriter Nick Asbury. ~

This is a post about one of the great designers of the last century, whose work helped build one of the best-loved confectionery brands in the world: Tunnock’s.

First, some background.

Tunnock’s have played a big part in my life this year.

It started when someone tweeted about a poem Ted Hughes wrote on a Tunnock’s wrapper back in 1986. It’s now on display in the University of St Andrews, home of the Tunnock’s Appreciation Society (yes, there is one).

This led me to set up an online project called WrapperRhymes, full of poems written on wrappers. Greig Anderson of Effektive Studio created the identity and website. We’re open for submissions if you’re interested.

Later, I stumbled across another example of Tunnock’s-inspired art, this time of the visual kind. It’s an exhibition that took place in Glasgow last year, and it’s quite lovely:

Above: Greyfriar's Bobby, by Joy Bain

Above: Mr Tunnock, by Callum Thom

Above: More cake? by Fiona Watson

What’s fascinating about all this is that the art takes its cue from the Tunnock’s packaging, rather than the product itself.

Largely unchanged since the 1950s, the wrappers have been key to the brand’s success. It’s not just that they’ve gained a retro appeal over the years. The point is that they were beautiful in the first place, and no one has messed around or ‘refreshed’ them since.

So who designed the Tunnock’s packaging? The packaging that has inspired great art and poems by Poet Laureates? Once again, it’s the work of the most prolific designer in the business – Anonymous.

It’s strange how a lot of the best design work slips out there unattributed and unheralded and is only properly appreciated years later. I’ve read just about every article I can find on Tunnock’s and there’s no mention of any name.

Pause a while and think on that when you’re designing your next logo.

Then have a teacake to cheer yourself up.

[Images from Glasgow Art Exhibition are copyright Glasgow Print Studio]

 

~ Alistair is raising money for Cancer Research UK during his ride - please wander over to his Just Giving page and donate a little cash. ~

posted: 12 September 2011
categories: Art | Graphics
 
recommended reading

Ace Jet 170
One of the finest individual design blogs (it’s been going as long as we have!) from Irish designer Richard Weston. Covering found type, print and stuff.

Casual Optimist
If you want to know what’s happening in the world of book cover design, keep an eye on this excellent blog by Dan Wagstaff.

Creative Review
Covering design and advertising, CR has been running since 1981, under the editorship of Patrick Burgoyne since 1999. Essential reading.

Daniel Gray
Dan writes a column in Creative Review, and this is his consistently entertaining blog about design and suchlike.

Eye Magazine
The best graphic design magazine out there, from editor John L. Walters and art director Simon Esterson.

Flat File
A fantastic collection of online publications based on pieces from the Herb Lubalin Study Centre.

Grafik
Grafik is the brilliant online magazine about all things graphic design, from writers Caroline Roberts and Angharad Lewis.

Justin’s Amazing World
Justin Hobson, of Fenner Paper, is a bona fide expert on paper & print, and a charming chap to boot. His blog features in-depth analysis of the projects he’s worked on, including a few of our own.

Kottke.org
One of the oldest blogs on the web. And one of the best.

Lecture in Progress
An invaluable collection of wisdom from a range of graphic designers, illustrators, photographers et al. From the team that brought you It’s Nice That.

Spitalfields Life
The anonymous Gentle Author of this wonderful blog has promised to write 10,000 stories about the life & culture of Spitalfields in east London, writing one story each and every day.

St Bride Library
The St Bride Library houses one of the world’s finest collection of books (& related objects) about printing and design. It also hosts unmissable design talks and events.

Styling and Salvage
Rupert Blanchard is a mate of ours, and makes great furniture. This blog covers his projects, interests, and life in Margate.

Subtraction.com
Brooklyn-based designer Khoi Vinh has been writing insightfully about design, technology and culture since the turn of the millennium.

The Ride Journal
A glorious mix of the very best writing and illustration about all types of cycling. On an indefinite break now, but you can download past issues for free.