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Momofuku's Packaging Labels Inspired By Professional Kitchens

by Rudy Sanchez on 09/17/2021 | 3 Minute Read

In 2004, American Chef David Chang opened his first restaurant, Momofuku Noodle Bar, in NYC. Chang’s first outlet would see continued success, resulting in a Momofuku empire that has included several more restaurants, a cookbook, a magazine, and a line of spices, sauces, and noodles for home. Inspired and offering the same devotion to quality and flavor, Momofuku’s line of products for the home chef not only carries the same spirit as other Momofuku enterprises inside but in the packaging as well, developed with Andy Baron and the Momofuku design team.

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The latest line of liquids and noodles finds inspiration in the Back Of House (BOH), the engine area of a restaurant that includes the kitchen, walk-ins, and pantries. The liquids, soy sauce, tamari, and toasted sesame oil, are packaged in stout amber bottles, reminiscent of concoctions prepared in-house with passion and craft. Adding to the theme is a masking tape-like label with a specially-designed font that appears handwritten. Finally, the Momofuku peach logo gets applied to the front, and the bottles come topped with a convenient flip cap.

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“These products are driven by the Momofuku restaurant kitchens, and it was crucial to reflect that,” says Brendan Newell, director of design at Momofuku. “Masking tape as a labeling device is a constant in all of our kitchens and every kitchen I've ever worked in. We've been using tape on and off as a design element for years, and Andy Baron had the great idea to make it a focal point of packaging when we tapped him to design the liquids. Folks that work in kitchens will likely recognize the reference immediately, and those who haven't will still hopefully get a sense of the care put into the product.”

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The same masking tape label gets applied to the bags of dry noodles, but unlike the bottles, the labels don’t have the same masking tape label. A photograph of prepared and served noodles is front-and-center but does not dominate the front of the bag. A full Momofuku logo is across the top, and the masking tape denoting the flavor in the middle.

“The process [to create the labels] was quite simple—write out the text in sharpie over and over until there's a version of each word (or letter at least) that strikes the right balance between legibility and natural handwriting. Then scan and place,” said Newell.

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“We're able to use a great felt stock on the liquids that have a grain-like masking tape. For the noodles, we didn't want to add superfluous material for the sake of decoration, so the tape gets torn, scanned, and printed CMYK,” he added.

The passion for quality, great-tasting food that drives Momofuku’s businesses are expressed visually in the packaging for the brand’s home offerings by incorporating those BOH elements, even though Newell says some pros with a keen eye might feel slightly irked by the masking tape label.

“The deckle edge might make some cooks cringe. Some kitchens use a dispenser that gives a neater tear, or cut with labels with a tape-only knife, so the edge is straight.”

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