On the backstreets of Notting Hill, between the trendy eateries, fabulous boutiques and quaint vintage shops, stands the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising – a place that induces an unusual feeling of nostalgia with its collections of food packaging, furniture, toys and collectibles from a time gone by. A visit to this museum is like stepping into a time machine and journeying through different periods in history each defined by the consumerist trends of the era.
As I walked the maze of glass cabinets filled with products and memorabilia from as far back as the 1850’s all the way up until present day, I couldn’t help but think how important branding and brand identity has become.
In the past packaging seems to have been purely functional, each brand used similar materials, fonts and colours so they all sort of to blurred into one in my mind. I was excited to progress through the exhibition and see how and when this started to change.
Arriving at the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and peering through the glass at shelves and shelves of old sweet wrappers, drinks bottles, beauty products and house favourites like OXO it became clear when branding was given a new lease of life. Perhaps due to political and social changes, brands were now targeting a new type of consumer and making themselves signifiers a certain type of lifestyle. In this case, it makes sense that brands saw fit to differentiate themselves from one another in order to create stand out in the minds of their target customer as well as on the supermarket shelves.
The final exhibits showed the evolution of individual brands, some of which have developed subtly over the years while others have undergone major aesthetic changes. I really enjoyed this part of the exhibition; it was nice to see where the brands I know and love started out and how they have moved forward.