Crit* La Pincée

La Pincée is a Quebec-based company established by chef Catherine de Gongre that creates - under the banner of ‘fine and fancy flavors curated with care’ - a range of sweet and salted seasonings and spices produced from 100% natural, high quality, local and imported ingredients. The range’s GAIA 2012 award winning packaging and identity solution, developed by freelance graphic designer François Maisonneuve, mixes a solid typographical selection, a flat, earthy colour palette, simple illustrative detail, two structural choices and a tactile, uncoated card sleeve to convey the product’s elemental and complimentary nature, flavour profile, usage and draw out its delicate tone and fine texture.

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Set in what looks like Typotheque's Fedra Serif, designer François has appropriately leveraged the detail of the typeface - diamond shaped tittles, a stencil like break across the b’s, a very neat ‘fi’ ligature, a unusual ampersand and a combination of serif, semi serif and sans serif characters - creating a nice sense of movement through the words - to set a very clear high quality sensibility with small creative flourishes. For the most part the characters have been well kerned - the broad spacing of ‘Gravlax’ on the sleeve is perhaps a little enthusiastic - and the generous line heights leave plenty of room for the legible display of the smaller type sizes. 

The visual identity, a logo-type built from the same typeface, is stacked and spaced well, the shape of the acute accent and the slight forward slant of the ‘cee’ has a slight sense of motion and conveys, in the subtlest of a manners, a sense of spontaneity, creativity and frivolity, ideas that reflect the quick pinch of the name. Its sentence case formatting is juxtaposed alongside the all uppercase formality of the information which together appear both professional and everyday.

A subscript, numero symbol, underline combination in the top right has been neatly resolved with an almost nautical and scientific sensibility that hint at the themes of gastronomic experimentation, the chemical like nature of salt and sugar, their provenance and the sourcing of spices across continents. 


The dotted underlines provide clear breaks between a simple hierarchical structure of information while introducing a finer detail that resonates with the texture the product, an idea enhanced by the tittle of the logo-type being utilised across the top surface of the sleeve as a granular detail as both a communicative and decorative element, conveying the complimentary and creative use of the product.

The illustrations are basic but appropriately drawn, they are clear in their presentation of flavour profile or recommended use, and, through a mix of sharp simple vector line work with a light, distressed, carved stone texture across the flames, achieves an earthy sensibility while the fish scales have a wave-like duality. The shorter jars forgo these illustrative details but retain the cut detail at the foot, adding sense of texture and a flourish much like the product itself.


The interior walls of the sleeve while not entirely visible appear to deliver instructions across a flat, bright, single colour, these are enhanced by the exterior use of earthy tones for the short jars and the black of the taller jars, a choice that works incredibly well to pull out the colour, fine texture and natural qualities of the product. A consistent two tone colour palette varying between varieties plus white and black across each product appears simple but distinctive, separating flavours and reflective of the elemental nature of salt and sugar.


The result is a simple but effective contrast of rich and bright flat colour, finer typographical and illustrative detail, a combination that works incredibly well to reflect the bold but earthy flavour profile and granular texture of the range.


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