Growing Underground retail packaging Asian salad mix

Growing Underground | Retail Packaging

We love working with Growing Underground and are delighted that our design is finally finding its way into people’s homes.

We’ve been working with the good folk at Growing Underground since the beginning; back when their hopes for the future of sustainable food production were little* more than a pink glow coming from behind a white sheet at the end of a very long tunnel, a great many steps** below Clapham. Very Stephen King.

Although retail packaging was on the cards from the start, it always seemed a long way off so it was rather exciting when, last week, the first stories broke of their deal with Ocado, along with images of our shiny new packaging.

There’s no point making up any meaningless design drivel about the concept – it is what it is, and it took a fair bit of work. The one cool thing is that the colours are taken from the London Underground tube lines:

  • Central for English
  • Metropolitan for Asian
  • Circle for Indian (everyone loves the Circle Line)
  • District for Italian
  • Waterloo & City for Japanese

It’s a nice connection to the farm’s history – Transport for London own the tunnels, and after they were built as air-raid shelters during WWII they were meant to be used as express tube lines.

Also, trying to get a bunch of people to agree on a set of colours is hard, so it made that part of the process a whole lot more straightforward.

Growing Underground retail packaging English and Indian salad mixes
Growing Underground retail packaging Italian and Japanese salad mixes

The packaging has naturally gone through various iterations – a maturation process, perhaps, much like a good whiskey. We designed the first set of black-on-brown card wraps to feature in the business plan, along with ideas for salad cup sleeves and living punnets. People thought they were ace, but by the time Microsoft went down to make their Earth Day 2016 film they’d moved on to more wholesale-friendly black and white stickers. We hand-made a very short run of new wraps for the film, which were updated to fit in with the direction that the rest of their brand was taking. 

Growing Underground original retail packaging concept

The original retail range concept

Growing Undeground Garlic Chives wholesale packaging

Simple wholesale labels

Growing Underground packaging range for Microsoft

The updated wraps for the Microsoft film

Then, a few months before Christmas, we got the call to say that a retail deal was on the horizon and the wraps needed to become a reality. The main feedback was that, although the brown was great, there needed to be colour to differentiate the mixes. The cost of printing white on to the kraft stock would blow the budget, and we didn’t want to print a kraft effect onto a white stock; it made no sense to pretend.

Rejected retail concept for Growing Underground

A rejected concept for the current range

So we went back to the drawing board and came out with what you see now on shelves in Planet Organic stores in London, at Ted’s Veg in Borough Market, and in your Farmdrop and Ocado deliveries.

Job done!

* We say ‘little’ – it was very impressive then and it’s even better now.

** Long before the lift…