04 July 2014

10 Iconic Examples of British Packaging Designs

Packaging has the power to make or break a product. And it's a well-known fact that consumers will judge a product by it's packaging.

Both power house brands and start-ups know that they need to dress their item in something special in order to sell, but the packaging (not just the product) can make a lasting impression on culture, and find its way into the consumer's heart.

Maybe it's something you opened at Christmas when you were twelve and played with for well over a month, ot maybe it's a jar you've opened every morning for as long as you can remember. Here are ten examples of iconic packaging designs from brands that have stood the test of time.

1. OXO Cubes

Although no longer packaged in the classic tin box design, you'll still find a box of OXO cubes in almost every kitchen cupboard in Britain. And inside that little box, wrapped in silver foil is as flavour that unifies Sunday roasts up and down the UK. And we all tried to eat it raw at some point in our lives.


2. Action Man box

Which one did you have?

Everyone remembers their first action man, the British counterpart to G.I. Joe in the USA. Compelling artwork was a staple in toy packaging before blister packs came about. Packaging design like this fuels the imagination and brings the toy inside to life right out of the box.


3. Sex Pistols album sleeve

Their fashion was garish, their lyrics were provocative and their album sleeve design was just as brash.

The collage and fluorescent styling of The Sex Pistol’s ubiquitous “God Save the Queen” and “Never Mind the Bollocks” albums are perhaps two of the most iconic images from the punk movement. You can still see the designs pasted all around Camden market, on t-shirts, and mimicked on the majority of punk rock compilation CDs.


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4. Marmite jars

Whether you love it or hate it, you’d definitely recognise it in an instant. The fundamentally ugly black and yellow packaging is so distinctive that you can almost taste the contents, which is sometimes unfortunate. Many other brands such as Innocent (smoothies), Walkers, and even Vaseline, have teamed up with marmite to make collaborative products, with packaging that is just as striking as the original.


5. Airfix boxes

Airfix have been producing scale model kits since 1952, and are still going strong today. Walking into a shop that stocks Airfix is like walking into an art gallery. Many artists have produced box art for Airfix throughout the years, and British artist Roy Cross has produced arguably the most distinctive packaging of all time; as vivid in the minds of modellers as they were all those years ago, the nostalgia can be overwhelming.



6. Guinness bottle

The most iconic beer of Britain; recognised internationally (along with the annual excuse for everyone to drink lots of it) as Ireland’s gift to mankind. The Guinness bottle is an indisputable contender and hasn’t changed much since the first label was printed.



7. The Quality Street tin

Merry Christmas! This one is from Aunt Denise and it’s the only octagonal present under the tree. How long do the Quality Street chocolates last in your house?



8. HP Sauce labels

Proudly sporting the image of Big Ben and the words ‘The Original’ on the label,the instantly recognisable red, white and blue colour palette is a subtle homage to the union jack.

HP Sauce’s packaging is a symbol of Britain and a national favourite flavour.


9. Tea tins

We can’t choose just one tea tin. They’re all great, from the picturesque landscapes of Yorkshire to the modern design of PG Tips, and countless novelty tins in the shapes of London buses and telephone boxes. Put the kettle on and admire this beauty.


10. Paul Smith shopping bag

Paul Smith’s definitive stripes were originally made up of 28 different colours, which have now been downsized to just 14.

Although somewhat hypnotic (and perhaps not to everyone’s taste) the stripes have been featured on shirts, saddles, ski’s and many other objects that sadly don’t begin with the letter “s”.


If you’re looking to create bespoke packaging to rival the likes of these iconic styles, get in touch – we love discussing new ideas and concepts!