Food Is My Muse

Designers—just like everybody else in the world—love to work with products we hold close to our hearts. Consider me more than pleased that olive oil, wine, chocolate fudge, and vodka are among the ‘food’ items we’ve had the chance to play with at our San Francisco design studio, 300FeetOut.

Many of our food clients are smaller-scale entrepreneurs who are passionate about their products; their personalities are distilled, baked, pressed, and stirred into every bite or sip. Each product has its own story, and we take our inspiration for branding and packaging design from those unique details. Take Fudge Is My Life:

When we began working with the Fudge Goddess who founded the company, we discovered that fudge literally is her life. She’s been bestowing chocolatey goodness on friends and family since the early ‘60s. She made a consoling batch of fudge the day that JFK was assassinated. Her can-do self-sufficiency impressed us; plus, she’s a real fireball, so we aimed for branding that stood apart from the confectionary competition with a bold, graphic look and a bit of a vintage feel.

Pasolivo Olive Oil gave us a wellspring of creatively inspiring elements: the natural beauty of the Paso Robles ranch; the rich hues and aromas of the fabulous oil varieties; the warm friendship and unflagging energy of our client. We did our best to pour those good vibes—and that aura of super-high quality—into the branding and packaging.

Our work with Pasolivo led us to a nearby Paso Robles winery, The Missing Leg (the wine is as luscious as the name is enigmatic).

Olive ranch led to winery, and winery to a nearby vintner-turned-vodka distiller—but I can’t say more about the vodka till it’s unveiled in a few months.

These product launches aren’t underwritten by major corporations; they’re labors of love by individuals taking big risks with lots of hard work and not all that much money. They may not have huge budgets, but our trade-off as designers is we get tremendous design freedom to work with things of great beauty—and who doesn’t want to be surrounded by beautiful things to eat and drink?

When I look fondly upon these favorite products, I realize that even I—who likes to keep a clean and neat kitchen—enjoy seeing them sitting out on the counter.

By Partner