Crit* Hamish Ingham's Sauces

Hamish Ingham is a chef and restauranteur who co-owns Sydney-based Bar H, Little H and fine dining, wood-fired experience The Woods. He commissioned multidisciplinary design agency Frost to develop a packaging and visual identity solution for his new range of gourmet sauces, oils, dressings and relishes. Taking its cues from the interior of restaurant Bar H, its philosophy of preparing fresh, seasonal and local produce cooked with integrity and Hamish’s ‘edgy, hip and rock n' roll’ personality, the agency created a striking but simple typographical solution, letter-pressed across a substantial, tactile, cotton-made material surface that has been secured with a bright rubber band.

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Inspired by the woodblock letterpress type interior features, the combination of slab serifs and sans-serifs of the label - dividing relish and sauce - deliver a distinctive headline and poster-like quality with subtle agricultural, local industry undertones and a non-format H draws out the initial of the restaurant brand and Chef. Both choices appear individually expressive and authoritative but collectively cohesive with an honesty and integrity you would hope to associate with the press and a confident but simple cooking style. Their oversized delivery and significant weight, confidently executed across the full surface of the label, is bold and unapologetic, drawing on and placing great emphasis on the presentation of distinctive characterand flavour profiles.

The tall sans-serif works incredibly well across the height and slender nature of the sauce bottles - creating a nice vertical motion - while the squat and wide structural choice of the relish takes full advantage of the horizontal motion created by the slab-serifs. Both benefit from decent letter and line spacing, and the alignment of characters. The deterioration of the ink - whether a genuine print occurance or designed in detail - is perhaps a little expected but gives the type a slightly weathered and aged authenticity that leverages the care associated with letter-pressed print finishes.


A heavy, tactile and uncoated substrate - described as having the look of handmade art paper with a soft touch - along with the letter-pressed surface treatment and rubber band, a neat economical replacement for an adhesive - create a sense of traditional craft and shares the robust visual aesthetic of the type and builds on the themes of hearty food and batch-produced quality. It has a home-brew sensibility but delivered with a professionalism and consistent, contemporary care.

A monochromatic colour palette - black print enhanced by the ‘fluorescent’ white specifications of the substrate - achieves a honest black and white simplicity much like the typographical direction and works incredibly well to draw out the richer colour and finer texture of the sauces and relishes. The bright neon of the rubber band adds a creative and more contemporary edge alongside the more traditional qualities of the print treatment and material choice.


It is a solution that presents bold flavours, perhaps traditional recipe inspiration, craft-cooking, regional ingredients and a sense of local industry with a visual simplicity and material/print competence that really emphasises - through contrast - the texture and rich colour of the products and the quality and honesty of the brand.


Richard Baird

Richard is a British freelance design consultant and writer who specialises in logos, branding and packaging. He has written for Brand New and Design Week, featured in Computer Arts magazine, Logology, Los Logos, Logolounge, The Big Book of Packaging and runs the blogs BP&O and Design Survival.


Blog: BP&O