Established in 1896 in the coastal, Catalan town of Vilassar de Mar near Barcelona, Spain, Espinaler is a wholesale seller of canned seafood for traditional tapas with over 300 products, including their own spicy salsa, a line of Vermouth, and plenty of other gourmet offerings too good to read about before lunch time. Family-owned to this day, Espinaler also owns three popular taverns and gourmet shops that look and feel like this. Last year, Espinaler introduced a new logo and packaging designed by Barcelona-based Verdelimón.
The infamous fish bone mascot, symbol of the brand since the 70s, has been rejuvenated with the collaboration of the original fish bone illustrator.
The portfolio has been segmented into three families (traditional, classic and premium) creating a packaging architecture that cross them all. The traditional range, that covers basic products, pays tribute to the original brand colors. The classic range experience a qualitative upgrade, getting into gourmet markets and specialized stores. The Premium range becomes a luxury product with a packaging evoking the world of jewelry or exclusive cosmetics.
The design of the new corporate website and the review of more than 50 offline touchpoints complete the integral brand restyling project.
Because nothing says tapas like a very old fish with a cane showing its skeleton, the old (and classic) logo features a very old fish with a cane showing its skeleton. If I’m right in this assumption, this comes from the name of the company: “Espina” in Spanish is how you refer to fish bones, so someone must have thought it made for a good connection. Having never seen this brand before, I would say the old logo was super weird. I mean, look at the hair on the fish. And god knows where that cane has been. Obviously, classic-ness trumps common sense and I’m sure that logo is as iconic as the Coca-Cola script to Espinaler’s audience.
The new logo serves as a kind of nice metaphor for a family-owned business, letting go off the older generation and embracing the younger generation at the helm of the business. The new fish is youthful, optimistic, and with a full head of hair. I like that the drawing is an evolution that takes it from a 1920s drawing style to a 1960s, 1970s caricature style… like, it could almost be a sketch of a Looney Tunes character, as opposed to being a more overwrought illustration like, say, Mr. Clean. The typography is okay, it also feels like it’s old by two decades, perhaps not in the same charming way as the icon, but it works and is readable.
The best improvement comes in the update to the classic packaging. Again, I’m sure, there are those who love the old packaging and it has its charms but, for a company looking to expand its distribution and markets, it doesn’t convey the freshest of brands. Again, look at the hair on the old fish. The new packaging keeps the blue and wavy background but now is much more sophisticated, appealing, and works to highlight the product imagery. The new hand gesture of the fish works perfectly in the packaging, as if it’s saying “tah-dah!”. The typography, again, could be a little better somehow; it doesn’t feel quite integrated. The colorful labels to denote whether the product is in water, oil, or natural, feel forced, although they certainly stand out. Still, the overall effect of the packaging is quite good.
The premium line looks great, with the off-white color background and the big product images.
For so many different products, the identity manages to spread evenly and properly across everything, from chips to salsa to olives.
This isn’t the easiest of identity and packaging projects as the product line is so diverse and the identity also has to operate at a corporate level, as seen on the last few applications above. It’s also difficult in that it has to update a classic look but, as an outsider, it feels like a proper update that maintains the quirky vibe of the original with a much more marketable aesthetic.