A Christmas Feast for the Senses From Fortnum & Mason

Fortnum & Mason Christmas-01A festive feast for the senses: Iconic British retailer Fortnum & Mason commissioned agency Design Bridge to create new packaging for their private brand Christmas line of 107 products. The challenge was to capture the magic and wonder of the festive season, and reflect Fortnum & Mason’s position as the ultimate Christmas destination for Londoners and visitors alike. Partnering with illustrator Kristjana S. Williams, the line is a series of beautifully illustrated frames for the packaging which unite all items in the range and which have inspired in-store decorations that help unify this year’s Fortnum & Mason Christmas experience.

Fortnum & Mason Christmas-02Chloe Templeman, Design Director at Design Bridge explained, “We wanted to conjure all of the sumptuous tastes, smells and colorful sights of a bountiful Christmas feast with all the trimmings. Our designs center around a square frame, like a Christmas table at home, with an array of vibrant and intricate illustrations bursting from within. Each frame is a lively assortment of illustrations including some of Fortnum’s favorite seasonal delicacies, fruits, berries and signature candlesticks and toy soldiers, that together create a mood of joyful celebration and festive cheerfulness.”

The designs also weave symbols from the Christmas carol ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ into the design, as well as exotic birds, butterflies and woodland animals that add a sense of charm and eclecticism to the nostalgia of a traditional Fortnum & Mason Christmas. The team commissioned renowned illustrator Kristjana S. Williams to create each individual item before layering her beautiful illustrations to make the frames for the packaging. Design Bridge created a total of five frames for use across the range, each one containing a number of interchangeable illustrations to ensure that no two frames are the same across the 107 products. One of the challenges was coming up with a flexible design that could be used on everything from tins of biscuits and jars of cranberry sauce, to boxes of mince pies and Christmas crackers. The frames not only look beautiful and reflect the wonder and awe of the perfect Fortnum & Mason’s Christmas feast, they also visually unite the range as one.Fortnum & Mason Christmas-04

The line also includes new Christmas color palette for the range that includes a deep red, rose gold and a richer tone of the ‘Eau de Nil’ color. On some of the items they also turned the square frame of the label into a transparent window to showcase the superior quality of the product within. Design Bridge also created the tone of voice and copywriting for the range, as Holly Kielty, Creative Director, Brand Language, explains, “I had the enviable job of doing taste-testing to ensure that our idea of the ultimate Christmas feast was carried forward into the copywriting and matched the beauty and level of detail of the illustrated frames. To capture the sense of vibrant culinary celebration and appeal to the senses, we developed descriptors such as “A feast of fruity festivity” and “A scrumptious side for everything festive.” Elsewhere the copywriting hints at seasonal food pairings and Christmas traditions.” Zia Zareem-Slade, Customer Experience Director at Fortnum & Mason commented, “Fortnum’s is the home of Christmas. We’ve been making Christmas merrier for people for over 300 years and people expect nothing but the best from us. It was important to create a design that combines a sense of tradition with the contemporary but also has the stylish, wit and elegant charm synonymous with Fortnum’s. We feel this has been beautifully realized through working with Design Bridge & Kristjana – the end result is remarkable – a gorgeous gift for the foodies in your life and beautiful enough to present on your table.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.