Hardneck Cleveland

A jar label design for a Cleveland-based creator of a new spicy garlic harissa paste to sell in farmers’ markets.
July 2021

Hardneck Cleveland

A jar label design for a Cleveland-based creator of a new spicy garlic harissa paste to sell in farmers’ markets.

Project Background

Hardneck Cleveland, as the name denotes, is a Cleveland-based creator of pastes and other food items using hardneck garlic. Ahead of the Fall 2021 farmers’ market season, Hardneck Cleveland’s owner, Dave Berneike, reached out to Spark Creative to design a jar label for his Hardneck Harissa Garlic Chili Paste. Dave came as a referral from Kim Horvath, owner of Southern Heat, one of Spark’s previous clients.

Our Approach

At the beginning of the project, Dave provided a rough concept of his initial ideas for the jar label (below). His illustration helped jumpstart our discussions about brand colors, typography, and the actual design of the jar label. Dave wished to highlight the boldness of the harissa paste’s color and taste and wanted to feature the Cleveland skyline in a prominent location to represent his hometown.

the client-provided mockup of a hardneck harissa jar label

Just like our work on Southern Heat’s labels, we also needed to strategize the placement of assets and information to conform to the FDA’s stringent guidelines. However, the FDA revised some of its standards ahead of this project, lending more room for creativity with the Hardneck Harissa jar label design.

Our Work

The first portion of this project centered on the product identity for the Hardneck Harissa Garlic Chili Paste. In consultation with Dave, we utilized a primarily monochromatic color palette within the red family to align with the product’s very bold red-orange color. The palette also included accent rustic brown and slate white colors for contrast on the label. We also worked with Dave to decide on typography for the label, opting to use two modern serif fonts to continue with the jar’s rustic look.

After finalizing the label’s colors and typography, we worked to design the label. The final design (below) uses a gradient of the product’s three red colors as the background, with the accent brown serving as the fill color for the Cleveland skyline. We applied the slate white color to the text on the label for contrast, along with the callout box where Dave wrote an overview blurb with some special instructions. Due to the FDA’s new nutrition label guidelines, we did not need to use a nutrition panel with a white background. To comply with the FDA’s requirements for labels with less than 3″ of vertical space, we used the “linear” style, which does not mandate the use of a white background. This makes the jar label look much cleaner while still presenting all the necessary information.

final jar label design for the hardneck harissa garlic chili paste

Our Impact

The jar label for Hardneck Cleveland’s new Hardneck Harissa Garlic Chili Paste helped Dave sell his product in farmers’ markets beginning in the fall of 2021.

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