Caught by the River

Own Label

18th November 2011

Own Label: Sainsbury’s Own Label Packaging 1962 – 1977.
A book by Jonny Trunk.

Jonny says: It all started in the mid 1970s, when I used to go shopping with my mother, in the local Sainsbury’s. I remember all sorts about it, the hard brown tiled floor I used to crawl around on, the spilt sugar I used to stick my wet fingers into, and the own label packaging.

The most memorable of all packets, to me anyway, was the Cornflake packet. A simple design of golden circles all in a row, this fine piece of design has stayed with me. So much so, that in 2007 I phoned up Sainsbury’s head office and asked if anyone there had a picture of it I could see again. I just wanted to see if it was as good, as simple and as strong as I remember. I was kindly directed towards the Sainsbury’s Archive and a week or so later paid a visit to the reading room. I sat at a desk and Claire, the head archivist, brought out a trolley with three archive boxes on the top. Left alone with the boxes I poured through layers of 60s and 70s cereal packets in pristine condition. The other boxes contained labels from tinned fish and fruit. The packaging was simple, paired back, with unexpected colourways, good type and weird nostalgic pangs. I left the archive with more information and went to Fuel, the art book publishers. I suggested they came to see some of the archive material soon, as I believed a strange and unexpected book may well be on the cards. A week or so later they came to the archive with me, investigated a few labels, boxes and photos, and agreed with me. I won’t go into the next four years of negotiating, visits to Lord Sainsbury’s office or any of the other bits and bobs, but the good news the book is finished, looks fabulous and is unbelievably exciting for lots of reasons (one being the trifle sponge packet). It contains hundreds of beautiful Sainsbury’s Own Label Designs from the period 1962 to 1977, and its influence will no doubt seep slowly into the modern designs we see about us everywhere now. Well that’s what I think and I’m sticking to it.

Own Label is available from our shop, priced £16.95