Designers’ favourite food designs: from marmite to chocolate bars

Written by: Sarah Dawood
Published on: 25 May 2017

Last week, Nestlé lost an appeal to trademark the four-fingered shape of its classic chocolate bar KitKat. This got us thinking – what are some of the most distinctive, food-related designs?

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Gavin Lucas, freelance design writer and burger enthusiast © Leo Cackett Square

“One of my favourite distinctive foods is, would you believe it, a chocolate bar. I was eight years old when Cadbury’s Wispa launched in 1983 and only very recently acquainted with the magical world of Willy Wonka. While I had previously subscribed happily to Aero’s bubbly awesomeness, when Wispa entered the aerated chocolate arena my mind was blown. The crisp, mouth-pleasing texture of those signature, tiny bubbles combined with the taste of Dairy Milk was just too mind-blowingly awesome to ever go back to big-bubbled Aero. Hey wait, what if Cadbury’s were to fuse four, full-size Wispas together in a snappable, four-finger format? Drool…”


Tony Connor, creative director, Bulletproof

“My favourite, most distinctive food design? Tough to call. It could have been Heinz Baked Beans, or Lyle’s Golden Syrup. But I’ll split opinion and go with Marmite.

It’s timeless and iconic on so many levels: the satisfyingly bulbous, heavy, glass jar with a contrasting yellow lid; the distinctive, central vintage ceramic pot illustration and red brand banner. Together they build an incredibly strong memory in consumers, proven by the license the brand is afforded to experiment and entertain with limited edition offers – Ma’amite being a particular, personal favourite.

Only with such strong and distinctive assets is it possible to disrupt to this level, and still remain so undeniably Marmite. So love it or hate it, you can’t deny it – Marmite is a true icon of design. A little pot that’s packed with soul.”


Kate Galle, creative director, Design Bridge

“I have fond memories of Bird’s ‘Ice Magic’ chocolate sauce from my childhood. It was such a fun product and came in a structure that was so exciting. Its molded plastic lid replicated the product perfectly, while looking like a chocolate-coated mountain from a kid’s imagination.

So much packaging now has been homogenised to be one size fits all – generic containers that do not communicate what’s inside. If we’re going to put things in plastic pots, let’s really think about them as a tool to deliver more: more fun, more ritual, more engagement. I remember Ice Magic with fondness from 30 years ago. What brand wouldn’t kill for that emotional attachment?”


Sam Bompas, co-founder, Bompas and Parr © Ben Ottewell

“Food design extends far beyond the element that enters your digestive tract, encompassing the packaging, rituals, utensils, environmental and sensory cues and narratives that surround the food itself. For me, nothing trumps the Stella Chalice in terms of food design. Having not had a sip of Stella for years, with the glass on back-bars across the land, I found myself ordering it again and again, the liquid enchanted by the vessel. The right design can make an aficionado of anyone.”

What’s your favourite food-related design? Let us know in the comments section here.