Sainsbury’s Design Studio, 1962- 1977 Free display, located on the balcony gallery
Cornflakes to Cola
Marking Sainsbury's 150-year anniversary, this playful display celebrates the work of the relatively unknown but highly successful Sainsbury’s Design Studio. From salt and vinegar crisps to cornflakes, discover how graphic design influenced consumer behaviour, both then and today.
In 1950 Sainsbury’s opened its first self-service store in Croydon. This marked a pivotal moment as it was the first time that shoppers in the UK could help themselves to products directly from the shelves. Rationing from World War II would come to an end in 1954, beginning a new era of abundance.
In self-service stores packaging design took on a new importance as the only way of communicating information about the product. Sainsbury’s was quick to understand this, and in 1963 set up its own in-house design team, led by graphic designer Peter Dixon. Although small in size, the team had a prodigious output, creating hundreds of new packaging designs each year.
Rigorously overseen by the CEO John Sainsbury, the team was also responsible for designing the company’s broader brand identity, from staff passes to delivery trucks. Every element had to communicate the company’s messaging. In retrospect however, they also reveal the energy and optimism of the period, where even a packet of cornflakes could be playful and modern.’
This is a free display.
Open daily 10:00 – 18:00 (last admission 17:00).
All images copyright: The Sainsbury Archive, Museum of London Docklands.