Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hormel and Hillshire Farm deli meats

There are aspects of this design that I don’t entirely agree with. But the overall effect gives this product a classier, more premium look than most of the other deli meats next to it.

What’s sad about this is that with a few very minor changes, it could look pretty good. It just falls into the same traps so much packaging design does: borders upon borders, gradients, and no apparent underlying grid. And the who the heck makes sandwiches that piled high with cheap cold cuts?

What’s even sadder is that Hillshire Farm has some of the most wonderfully bizarre and enjoyable commercials on TV right now. But they’ve carried none of that character into the grocery store with them.


  1. I agree with you that the Hormel product packaging is more aesthetically pleasing, however, I challenge you to look at the two cooler images you provided and tell me which one communicates brand and product variety better from a distance.

    Personally, it took a while for me to identify the Hormel logo on the prtty packaging and the product variety and callouts are so small that I still have no idea what I am looking at. Add to that deli meats, with the exception of roast beef, all tend to be the same color, from ham to chicken and all the turkey in between, that can be a challenge for your typical grocery store shopper with a short attention span due to the two small children they have one eye on.

    In fact, I think the packaging at the top ultimately appeals to a different customer profile - the customer willing to pay an extra $50 to a dollar for the words premium or upscale while the Hillshire Farms product appeals to the bargain hunter who is not willing to completely sacrifice quality for the lowest price. I know it sounds like a small distinction, but these groups of people can be very different shoppers.

    Just my two cents, but I do agree with you that the Hormel product is prttier.

  2. I appreciate your input Anony. And I agree to a certain degree... the Hormel packaging is targeted to a less thrifty demographic.

    But I also take issue with the idea that to make it appeal to poor, busy women with kids in tow that it has to look like shit. Shitty design should not be employed to give a product mass appeal... that's simply wrong-headed.

    My point with this post, and any other here, is not to say the Sh*tty example should look like the Pr*tty in order to be better. Rather, it is to point out that there is thought, care, and sound design principles at work in the Pr*tty that could just as easily be used for the Sh*tty and still allow it to have brand distinction and appropriate appeal to the target demographic.

  3. What is the point of all that crazy, curly meat on those sandwiches? Has anyone ever made a sandwich like that?

  4. Seen the redesign of Hillshire Farm?,...