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Online packaging archive is a design delight

For readers of a certain age, the innovative packaging designs (opens in new tab) found in the Sainsbury's Supermarket Packaging Archive are sure to bring on a wave of nostalgia. Previously published in a now out of print book, the archive has recently been made available for you to browse at your leisure online (opens in new tab).

Even if you missed Sainsbury's Own Label masterpieces when they were on the shelves the first time round, there's still plenty of design goodness to enjoy in this archive. Fondly remembered for its strikingly modern aesthetic, which pushed boundaries with strikingly modern colours, shapes and typography, Sainsbury's boxes, tubs and tins redefined the packaging design landscape back in the '60s and '70s.

Box of corn flakes

Items like corn flake boxes have been lovingly archived

Developed by Peter Dixon and Sainsbury's Design Studio, these revolutionary designs were a paradigm shift from what had gone before. They were optimistic, creative, and they put Sainsbury's on the map as a brand to be reckoned with. It's no wonder that the original book celebrating these designs can fetch upwards of a thousand pounds on Amazon (opens in new tab).

Not everyone's pockets are that deep though, so to bring the designs to a wider audience, the collection has been uploaded to Sainsbury's new digital archive. There's also a Sainsbury Archive Twitter account (opens in new tab) which regularly posts beautiful blasts from the past.

Box of mandarin oranges

Does this mandarin oranges label take you back?

And considering that Dixon was tasked with redesigning upwards of a thousand products, there's plenty of packaging to pore over in the archive, which is laid out a bit like a Pinterest board, and can be filtered by year or product name. Each item is named and dated, and some are even accompanied by a press clipping from when they were released. Visitors are also invited to share their memories of using these wonderfully designed products.

As well as celebrating good design, the astonishingly comprehensive archive is a fascinating glimpse into how people shopped and lived at the time. So whether you want to take a trip down memory lane or explore some design classics for the first time, be sure to take a look at this collection.

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Dom Carter is a freelance writer who specialises in art and design. Formerly a staff writer for Creative Bloq, his work has also appeared on Creative Boom and in the pages of ImagineFX, Computer Arts, 3D World, and .net. He has been a D&AD New Blood judge, and has a particular interest in picture books.