&Smith enlists 14 illustrators for new Liberty London British food range designs

Luxurious London department store Liberty London has launched its first British food range, with the identity and packaging designs created by &Smith.

Hani Abusamra illustrations for Liberty packaging, designed by &Smith.

The branding agency worked with 14 illustrators – Billy Clark, Caroline Magnère, Dave Anderson, Guy Catling, Hani Abusamra, Jordan Andrew Carter, Louise Lockhart, Margaux Carpentier, Mr Gordo, Rob Bailey, Rob Lowe a.k.a Supermundane, Sarah Arnett, Sarah Wickings and Valero Doval – to create packaging designs across more than 50 products, which include Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company’s Laver Seaweed from Wales; Liberty London Blend Tea from the Tregothnan estate in Cornwall; Dark Woods Coffee, roasted in West Yorkshire; and Old Tom Gin from Jensen’s, distilled in Bermondsey, London.

According to &Smith, it wanted to eschew the “standard approach” to own brand packaging and create designs that focused on the suppliers and makers behind each product. Illustrators were commissioned specifically for individual product lines, whose work the agency also felt worked with the range overall.

“The idea was to really promote the suppliers,” says &Smith creative partner Dan Bernstein.  “Each illustrator was allocated their own supplier and we told them to look at the stories behind the brands, their individual products or flavours and any interesting techniques that might make that particular item stand out. We were keen to make sure that each illustration had a bit of ‘weird and wonderful’ running through it to give it that Liberty feel.”

Chocolates by Jordan Andrew Carter
Dave Anderson, illustrations for Liberty Manfood packaging, designed by &Smith.

According to Dave Anderson, the illustrator behind the Manfood range, he looked to use a “hand-drawn style that’s instinctively appealing and hopefully, a cheekier feel than the usual designs for the butch end of the cupboard.” Naturally, this meant that a drawing of a hirsute man cutting bread with a chainsaw appears on a jar of Bread & Butter Pickles; while a man who’s apparently fallen asleep in his pint is shown on the Ale Chutney.

Jams by Guy Catling
Louise Lockhart illustrations for Liberty packaging, designed by &Smith.

Other illustrators took a more traditional approach: Louise Lockhart’s illustrators for fudge, peanut brittle and other sugary goodies have a retro, Louise Fili-esque feel to them;  and Billy Clark plumped for some slick, smart trompe l’oeil designs for a range of ground coffee.

An exhibition of the original artworks and prints by the illustrators who worked on the range will be on show at the fourth floor Liberty Disappearing Store from 6 – 22 September 2017.

Billy Clark, illustrations for Liberty packaging, designed by &Smith.
Sea Salt Caramel Truffles by Valero Doval
Old Tom Gin by Sarah Arnett