Crit* Tideford Organics

by Richard Baird on 05/06/2013 | 5 Minute Read

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Tideford Organics is an independent, family-run organic food manufacturer founded in 1996 and located in the UK town of Totnes, South Devon. They produce soups, sauces, pestos, rice desserts and porridges for the retail and catering markets and describe their production process as ‘cooking like you would at home’.

Developed by multidisciplinary design agency Boat, the packaging and identity for Tideford Organics’ range unites and contrasts an expressive script and formal serif, the rich illustrative work of Andy Touhy juxtaposed alongside a kitchen white and a simple frank detail to convey passion, provenance and high quality.

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“Tideford Organics is one of those companies that are difficult not to fall in love with. They value the important things, good organic food, that’s good for you, made the slow, traditional way, as many of us would in our own kitchens. We loved the brand so much we sent them a letter when we first started the studio to tell them, and a few years later we were thrilled when they asked us to revisit their branding and packaging. Working with the illustrator Andy Tuohy, renowned for his beautiful interpretations of the british vintage railway poster aesthetic, we crated a fresh, warm and aspirational new face for the Totnes Brand.”

- Boat

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Rolling hills, winding rivers and sprawling landscapes are common design devices within the small farm and organic produce category, but rarely have they been rendered so well and executed in a more appropriate manner than a panorama around the circumference of a pot that encourages consumers to look at all the information.

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The outsourcing of the illustrative work has clearly paid dividends. Andy Touhy’s mix of green pastures, ploughed fields, and seaside vista, his use of depth and direction in the twisting of the river, tree lines, hedge rows, roads and coastline, the use of light and shadow, fine and elemental detail, blocks of solid colour and subtle gradients deliver an untouched simplicity, honesty and authenticity that conveys a provenance anchored in reality rather than the generic, and captures the wholesome organic quality of the range.

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The deep and vivid greens of wooded patches and open fields, the light fresh tones of blue sky and fresh water, the vibrant orange and pale yellow of drying crops and the sharp highlights of purple beetroot and tomato red neatly reflects both the sharp and earthy blend of ingredients and the natural environment they were farmed from. These are neatly enhanced by what could be describe as a ‘professional kitchen white’ - a device typically associated with the restraint of premium products - which cuts through the near centre of the pots and pulls out the tones and fine textures of the soups.

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Provenance is reinforced by the frank-like qualities of the Devon stamp. Its traditional, long-serving sensibilities given a contemporary single line weight twist, plenty of internal space that allows it to sit well over the illustrative work, and utilised as a hand stamp, a common craft cue with a subtle batch produced sensibility that is shared by the basic utility of a basic structural choice.

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The lowercase informality, enthusiastic fluidity and humanistic, proprietary flourish of extended tails and terminals throughout the Tideford logo-type separate it from common off-the-shelf scripts whilst continuing to introduce a friendly, personal dimensionality that speaks of pride in quality and the small-scale family nature of the business. A well-spaced serif balances the informality with a more conventional sense of good, traditional quality.

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Boat’s solution confidently embraces a familiar illustrative device. Where frequently leveraged disingenuously, here it has been appropriately outsourced to achieve distinction and regional authenticity, cleverly enhancing its impact and furthering communication through its application across the surface of the pot and the restraint of white, unprinted space.

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Richard Baird

Richard is a British freelance design consultant and writer who specialises in logos, branding and packaging. He has written for Brand New and Design Week, featured in Computer Arts magazine, Logology, Los Logos, Logolounge, The Big Book of Packaging and runs the blogs BP&O and Design Survival.


Blog: BP&O


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