Cow&Co Chop Board

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Cow&Co is an independent, international, on-line design superstore, with a shop located on Liverpool’s Cleveland Square, that sells new and vintage furniture, jewellery, gift items and home-ware. As well as creating the store’s website and visual identity, design and brand consultancy SB Studio recently developed a simple tag, sleeve and string packaging solution for Cow&Co’s sustainable mango wood chopping board reflecting the crafted nature of an everyday product. 

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“We are passionate about well-designed wares and beautiful contemporary crafts. We place particular emphasis on supporting emerging designers, that’s why our online store is filled with original pieces designed and made by the artisans themselves.”

- Cow&Co

“We have recently created the packaging for a new range of Cow&Co products, our packaging for the sustainable mango wood chop boards aims to reflects their simplistic design. The grain of mango wood can come in many shades from light to dark, we chose a colour and style that would suit any shade whilst also showing of the unique grain.”

- SB Studio

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While this is perhaps a little more elemental than the usual Crit feature it is a great example of packaging materials being appropriately reduced to a point where they simply frame rather than contain a product and celebrate its quality without the need for superlatives. In this instance the very visual, tactile and perhaps aromatic richness of the wood and leather appropriately leads communication and is complimented by an uncoated mixed fibre paper sleeve and tag choice which shares similar earthy and practical characteristics of the board. The light pastel blue across the unbleached substrate and string tied detail deliver a more contemporary but restrained sense of hand-craft, while a broadly spaced, outlined, stacked and curved typographic resolution is reminiscent of traditional shop signs and implies locality and regional sources.

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What makes this project particularly interesting is the mechanical and utilitarian contrast the blind emboss, geometric characters, hole punch, straight cuts and slab serif deliver within the context of the organic qualities of the board, the fine detail of the paper and the traditional sensibilities of the graphic design. Together these achieve a careful and communicative balance between machined precision and craft finish, avoids embellishing a product designed for practical purposes, reflects its sustainable credentials through regional cues and perhaps hints at an interest in the early 20th century aspirations of uniting art and industry.

Opinion by Richard Baird - Twitter @richbaird