Meditations

CrEATe: Eating, Design and Future Food


There are many well-designed books about food; a current favorite being Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson and Eric Wolfinger, which boasts some of the most sumptuous food photography and elegantly-set typography seen in the current glut of tastefully—pun intended—art directed books on the market. A book most worthy of praise….

And then, there is a design book about the subject of food.

I’m currently reading a unique and fascinating publication which has turned out to be a bit of a surprise as well as an anomaly. Published by Gestalten, Berlin and deeply researched by London-based trend forecasting consultancy, The Future Laboratory, crEATe : Eating, Design and Future Food investigates recent trends and visual developments in and around food. This book explores numerous areas about food starting with a review of how food is bought, sold and consumed in this modern and shifting world, as well as issues of how different countries are affected by climate change, food economics, obesity and how it affects their national identity.

Topics range from the issue of soaring costs of food distribution, to food activists, to how attitudes towards affordable menu items have become a necessity for restaurants who want to hang on for the long haul (via cheaper good quality cuts of meat or more comfort-style dishes that people will eventually want to cook at home themselves). With more people demanding control or at least a voice in what they eat, where they eat and where they get it from, this 2008 publication is still remarkably timely after the credit crunch has hit consumers on a global scale.

Although not as in-depth as Michael Pollan’s books (he’s often quoted, btw), this is easily a publication that captures my love of international packaging design. Viewed categorically via particular themes (messaging, illustration, typography, etc.), the vast collection of work shown readily demonstrates how countries like Japan & the UK beat the pants off of Canadian packaging, relying on distinctive visuals and materials, or unique shelf presence to entice consumers. crEATe also examines smart foods in market, wildly unique food spaces and future solutions to elicit discussion and possible change.

More than just eye candy for foodies or designers, this is a fascinating sourcebook that challenges the old notion of eating certain foods just because our parents, science or advertising told us to. What we eat and the way we do it, now has an entirely new meaning in our lives.

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