If disco-glitz supermarket Super Tamade is my favourite place to grocery-shop at midnight…
…a 5am shopping hop is more likely to see me at Oda — a catering-oriented cash-and-carry vast, empty and satisfyingly austere — in the Kizu market.
What I like at Oda is the austerity not only of the aisles themselves, but also the look of the generic catering cans containing lotus, chestnut, crabs, green leaves.
There’s a whole world of packaging design parallel to the consumer one, aimed at caterers.
Rather than the mammary Mammon of brand (which is all about repetition, recognition, irrational worship, synergy with advertising), catering design aims to communicate as quickly and clearly as possible what’s inside the can.
Catering design therefore strikes me as much more sane design — design from a parallel world we might one day inhabit, but currently don’t.
It’s the no-frills world of wholesale, not retail. It’s for “experts” (restauranteurs, people who get up early to get fresh produce at the nearby fish, bean and tofu market), and yet these “experts” require the simplest imagery imaginable: a picture of a leaf, a white background, the absolute minimum of text…
…the cheapest price possible, bulk sizes, and no relaunches, no competitions, adverts, fancy printing, free gifts, jingles, extra packing or wrapping. It’s plain as dawn, wholesale is halfway to communism.