What is that “K” Symbol and How You Can Use it on Food Packaging

By: Dina Fraenkel

Did you know there’s one small symbol that you can put on your product that will open you up to a whole new market? A recognizable and reliable kosher certification logo on your product means that hundreds of thousands of kosher consumers will now consider your offering. Certainly, going kosher is much more than putting a symbol on your packaging, but the finer points of certification is a discussion unto itself. Today, let’s dive into the need to print the actual logo on your product. After all, the most important information is only useful if people actually know about it!

Increasingly, companies in the food/beverage industries are placing their kosher certification symbol front and center when designing labels, along with all the other categories they would like to promote—organic, non GMO, GF, etc. But every unique kosher symbol (of which there are hundreds) represents a different kosher certification agency, with different standards.

The OK Kosher mark is one of the world’s best-known trademarks; it immediately and universally increases company marketability, accountability, and kosher acceptability. Since 1935 OK Kosher has been well regarded for its unique approach to kosher certification, technology, and innovation in the continually evolving food and beverage industry.

The kosher food industry has experienced outstanding growth over the past few years. In 2015, sales of kosher certified products soared 15% despite volatile markets and economic downturns. In US communities with large Jewish populations, sales grew by more than 20%. These numbers directly correlate with the prevailing trend of consumers looking for the kosher symbol when purchasing groceries. In fact, the majority of kosher consumers do not buy kosher as a fulfillment of Jewish law. Most kosher consumers are looking towards the increased oversight, perceived health benefits, halal compatibility and allergy friendly products.

Side by side with recent changes to FDA labeling requirements, we at OK Kosher are encouraging our certified companies to move their kosher symbol to the front of the packaging with the nutrition facts, which will alert and guide the many groups of consumers who look out for kosher.

One disadvantage of the OK symbol being so universally recognized, is that designers themselves, when told ‘our products are kosher certified’ will often choose the OK symbol since it looks aesthetically pleasing and fits the ‘symbol of kosher’ brief well—even if the actual certifying agency is not OK Kosher. This results in us having to defend our globally trademarked symbol, sometimes resorting to legal action.

Once your company has made the decision to go kosher, and you are working with your packaging designer, how do you decide what kosher symbol to use? It’s simple: you use the specific symbol sent to you by your kosher certifying agency. Each trademarked symbol represents a different agency, so using the wrong one can open you up to legal consequences for trademark infringement. The kosher agency that you have contracted with will send you the exact symbol to use for each certified product. It’s essential that you only use that specific symbol on your packaging if you want to avoid any recalls and legal action.




Each variation of a kosher symbol (including the letter ‘D’ to represent a Dairy status, or the letter ‘P’ to represent approval for Passover) has a serious impact on the kosher status of the product, and a part of our certification service is reviewing each and every product label design before it is used, to ensure the correct information is provided.

Occasionally, we run into issues where a letter designation is omitted or added in error. In those cases, we need to work with the company to recall completely or relabel the affected product, as well as alert the consumer public, through Facebook, Twitter and other media outlets.

Where and how you display your kosher symbol matters; a prominent, clear and accurate display of a recognized and reliable kosher certification has the power to boost sales, raise revenues and open up new markets for your product.

Learn more about what qualifies as kosher and the different certifications available.

Dina Fraenkel is the Marketing & Education Manager at OK Kosher, as well as the Editor of Kosher Spirit magazine. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@okkosher) for the latest kosher news!

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How Insite Design Crafted the Perfect Details of Dillon’s Small batch Rye Whisky

Canada has welcomed a new 100% Rye Whisky for the first time in decades. Dillon’s is is copper pot distilled from 100% rye mash, produced to the Canadian tradition, and has the memorable packaging design to match. We spoke with Barry Imber at Insite Design to learn more about their fine-tuned design process, creating something that celebrates a legacy while stands out amongst competitors, the intricacies of the illustrations, and more. 

Walk us through the design process that you went through for this project.

Insite Design: In every project we’re involved in we tend to overthink and intellectualize the beginning stages because giving it that extra time of conversation and hard thinking always seems to make the later stages of a project easier as well as the outcomes that much richer.

1. Thinking and Purpose

We always start with thinking about the core value and purpose of a product to both the audience but also the client. We ask loads of questions.

Some products are as much expressions of ideas for the creators as they are purposeful consumable goods. This product—a 100% Rye Whisky—was the culmination of years of learning and experimentation for distillery founder Geoff Dillon as well as combined Dillon’s and Insite’s planning and thinking about the big picture of Canadian Rye and how Dillon’s would be part of encouraging a revolution to re-establish the legacy of fine Canadian Rye making.

So it was clearly a big deal for Geoff and we needed to step it up.

2. Conclusions & Opportunity

So we concluded that this rye needed to be a communication piece that could begin the long conversation about Canadian Rye in order to help Dillon’s define the space they wanted to fit within the Canadian and global whisky market place.

3. Goals and Messages

We then identified key cues to tell the foundation of the story while we created a breakdown of communication goals which were—to passively educate and be transparent about sense of place in Canadian Rye, to be gently honest about how some rye is being made versus how real rye should be made, to show the industry how real rye can be made using all Canadian ingredients and rye purists’ processes, and to show that this pride of doing it right can be elevated to a Canadian level of ownership and pride once again.

4. Planning and Execution

Next we summarized that the package would have to be illustrative and beautiful with both heritage elements juxtaposed to contemporary visual cues such as the illustration.

We decided the bottle needed to present a similar silhouette to the in-market Dillon’s package line but could benefit from a more refined bottle silhouette that spoke more to craft whisky than many other competitive clear craft spirits brands that have gravitated to the Dillon’s bottle shape since we created the brand line in 2011.

We concluded we needed make a confident whisky package that communicated some visual whisky cues while keeping with the soul of Dillon’s packaging and avoiding typical legacy whisky packaging cues that are prolific in the market today.

Finally, making this whisky was expensive for Dillon’s and as a market newcomer to aged brown spirits, we knew it could be difficult to fetch the necessary ultra-premium price points if we didn’t get it right. And considering that Dillon’s audience were younger and could be more price sensitive than older whisky drinkers the team would have to figure out a way to make the product price accessible. The decision was made to package within a 500ml bottle that would allow the purchase price to be attractive while still premium as a message to the audience.


What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve with Dillon’s packaging and how did you accomplish it?

Insite Design: Firstly we needed to create a package that drew attention to this new Canadian 100% Rye Whisky; to be seen as something different than the norm and worthy of purchase for trial as well as posing questions about the legacy and current state of Canadian Rye itself.

In this we wanted people to take a fresh look at Dillon’s as an aging distillery since most of their audience had only experienced the brand’s spontaneous, seasonal batched products.

And we needed to position Dillon’s Whisky’s as deserving a premium price point.

We achieved this by designing a package that, instead of chasing conventional whisky packaging looks, kept the soul of Dillon’s visibly identifiable package system but which introduced more premium cues. In addition we exaggerated the product category as the name which is a subtle concept in all Dillon’s products but one which we went for in this solution. We wanted to drive home that this was RYE and if so boldly stated perhaps it’s different.

Then the mixed materials and premium visual design cues such as the illustration and classic type did the work to suggest that Dillon’s had outdone themselves on this proud release and it should be worthy of a price premium. 

What was the most challenging part of this project?

Insite Design: The most challenging, though not painful part of the project was working with the bottle’s silkscreen decorator to adjust their typical tolerances to accommodate the size and coverage of the illustration as well as its fine line-work.

This meant encouraging the manufacturer to root for us; to see that this package was not a commodity rather it would be appreciated by newcomers to whisky as well as seasoned collectors. To achieve what we needed they would have to create special tooling as well as run slower speeds but all toward a finer outcome.

This resulted in higher than typical printing costs for this supplier but it was worth the effort as people would appreciate the confident and detailed outcome. 

What elements did you focus on to situate Dillon’s as a premium offering in the market?

Insite Design: In our experience audiences appreciate a brand’s attention to detail as it tells a bigger picture story of pride, care and quality. This appreciation nets out in pulling the attention of the viewer closer to the product and elevating the tactile experience.

Mixed material elements suggest a more hand involved and considered product in the making—a copper metallic neck band, wooden closure, paper handwriting inspired label, crisp clear glass, silk screen ceramic illustration, a folded paper hang tag and finally classic serif typefaces mixed with contemporary illustration all lend their efforts to the detail and premium cues.

How did you go about creating the unique illustration on the bottle?

Insite Design: The underlying concept or takeaway of the illustration needed to be that Dillon’s was involved in the whole rye making process and once the mash was onsite at Dillon’s, all of the remaining processes occurred at the distillery—this is a big concept for Dillon’s since this isn’t the norm in the industry.

So therefore on the surface the central theme of the illustration would be Dillon’s intimate relationship with the process of making rye.

The studio identified and listed all key stages of Dillon’s Rye making process starting from the farmer growing the grain through all the steps.

Next, we did a rough type and element layout of the face of the bottle to delineate space and plan the package’s shelf facing features.

I then doodled a few of the stages to paper to get a feel for personality before taking a deep breath and jumping into Adobe Illustrator to ‘one time’ the illustration across the template. Thanks to good planning and a very appreciative client, no edits were necessary.


If you could pick one aspect of the finished design that you like the most or feel especially proud of, what would it be and why?

Insite Design: As an illustrator and designer it’s difficult to see a finished product objectively since you have been so involved.  Perhaps it’s akin to looking at your own children or pet—you kind of just see joy, time, effort, flaws and ideas and never get to see what others see.

However what I do really appreciate with this solution is the way the mixed materials seem to make sense and co-exist together in a way that feels confident and sophisticated while hanging on to Dillon’s hand made low key aesthetic.

Share one lesson that you learned while developing the finished product.

Insite Design: A repeating lesson proved itself again on this project—go for it—don’t let hesitation of budgets, schedules, technical constraints or parameters of the status quo get in the way of what you are dreaming and know what’s best. Dive in and take a risk with your time investment and do it for the love of what you do and of what your clients do. This ideal hasn’t failed us yet.

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What’s Your Sign? Eight Chocolate Is Inspired By Horoscopes

What’s your sign? This colorful conceptual packaging for chocolate has us inspired to read our horoscope. Yasmin Essam designed the packaging for Eight Chocolate.

“This is a concept for a new chocolate brand in the market. Eight chocolate is set to stand out in an international market full of hundreds and hundreds of successful brands. The goal was to get a personalized product yet show the diversity of branded products. The idea was to use the horoscopes to get personal to everyone as horoscopes are recognized by all cultures around the world, and yet limit the packs to twelve different ones. The art direction helps the products stand out as it uses simple, vivid, neon, modern, artistic, unique and cool artwork. The artwork combines the zodiac shape, flavor of the chocolate and the horoscope constellation shape.”

“The outer cover has the artwork in the front, the back side includes all the data about the product and an icon about the horoscope. It also has a die-cut with the brand shape – an upside down triangle – in order to reveal the logo printed on the inner cover. 

The inner cover has the logo on a craft looking paper to reflect a personal feeling and get away from the artificial look. The inner side will be coated with foil food-friendly paper to preserve the chocolate flavor and deliver it in good quality. 

The project takes a personal approach, by taking internationally used known icons (horoscopes) and displaying them in twelve colorful, artistic, modern and unique packs.”


Designed By: Yasmin Essam
Location: Cairo, Egypt

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Celebrate the Sunny Moments with Rio Tropical Fruit Juice

This fruit juice is sure to put a smile on your face. Pearlfisher designed Rio to stand apart from artificially sweetened fruit-flavored sodas by giving a bright, playful design that’s inspired by the natural beauty of Brazil.

“Launched in the mid-80s, Rio set out to offer a natural alternative to fizzy, fruitless soft drinks. In an era of flamboyance and flair, its iconic name captured both the exoticism of its tropical taste and the intrigue of another world at a time where global travel was largely the preserve of the rich and famous.”

“However, with a visual identity based in the era in which it was conceived, Rio’s look and feel was in danger of becoming dated and kitsch. In the face of evolving consumer tastes, Rio turned to Pearlfisher to dial up its emotional connection with customers and reinvent its desirability.”

“Pearlfisher Futures conducted a significant piece of market research to uncover consumer contexts, perceptions, motivations and occasions defining Rio’s consumption in the marketplace, which formed the foundation from which Pearlfisher Strategy could define a new direction for the brand. Yael Alaton, Strategy Director at Pearlfisher, said of the strategic approach: ‘In considering the role that Rio plays in the life of its consumer—a younger, down-to-earth demographic with a balanced approach to health—we identified an opportunity for Rio to own a ‘feel-good moment’ in a day and defined a set of brand principles inspired by a central strategic vision: ‘Celebrating the Sunny.’’”

Poppy Stedman, Design Director at Pearlfisher, said of the final designs, “Inspired by the inherent sense of happiness that Brazil, its people and its culture exude, Rio’s new identity is bright, vibrant and uplifting. To communicate Rio as a ray of ‘sunshine in a can’, we turned the ‘O’ in ‘Rio’ into a sun around which luscious fruits grow and developed a visual language that comes to life across murals, packaging, website and printed and campaign collateral. By unlocking Rio’s latent equities, we’ve harnessed the charisma and positivity that sits at its heart to establish a more aspirational relationship with customers.”

“Pearlfisher has also defined a new tone of voice for Rio that comes to life across all the brand’s communications channels, from social media and advertising to PR and customer service.”

Rio Brand Manager Danielle Obbard, said of the redesign, “Pearlfisher’s designs champion the quality of Rio’s ingredients of real fruit and lightly sparkling spring water while celebrating the unique vibrancy of its taste and embodying our brand belief of Celebrating the Sunny. The rebrand will allow us to carve out an ownable, distinctive space in a rapidly evolving category.”

“The newly designed two variants—Tropical and Tropical Light—will be available nationwide in cans, as well as bottles, a new format for the brand, at the end of May.”


Designed by: Pearlfisher

Founding Partner and Chief Creative Officer: Jonathan Ford, Pearlfisher Strategy Director: Yael Alaton

Strategist: Molly Rowan-Hamilton

Design Director: Poppy Stedman

Senior Designer: Lucy Roberts, Pearlfisher Designer: Charlie Garrod

Country: Global

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A Coffee Drink With a Face You Won’t Forget

mousegraphics designed the adorable packaging for the AHA Dear Coffee Series.

“The brief was that they needed a logo and packaging for our cold coffee drink. The target consumer is a consumer with a working routine and busy schedule.”

“The Chinese name of the product translates phonetically to ‘AHA’. We decided to turn this fact into an aesthetic argument and used it to create a logo with anthropomorphic references. The specific coffee containers are defined by the use of this logo and, in the case where mousegraphics also designed a cup-like container, the logo became a decisive structural element. In this way the product logo animates the packaging with a friendly, memorable face.”


Designed By: mousegraphics
Location: China

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This Conceptual Brand Extension For Red Bull is Pretty Cool

Ana Paulsen designed the conceptual student project, Body & Soul Skincare. The project is intended to be a brand extension of Red Bull energy drinks and takes inspiration directly from that brand.

“The objective was to design a set of seven skincare products and an in–store display as a sub–brand of a marketed brand that is not known in the skincare category, while staying true to the brand’s core values.”

“As an extension to the well–known RedBull brand I aimed to stay true to the feel of the parent brand without simply mimicking it. I wanted the design to speak to the fact that the product is unisex and, therefore, designed it to appeal to both sexes.” 



“RedBull, as an energy drink, stands out and is instantly recognizable in a virtual sea of similar products and it was that powerful shelf presence that I wanted to bring to my design of the brand extension. The streamlined design speaks to an elegant and pure product while the package design is unique and creates this project’s shelf presence that I was aiming for. 

The in–store display is meant to convey a sense of movement through its shape and intrigue the eye as an overall structure.”


Designer, Photo Editing & Art Direction: Ana Paulsen
Photography: Don Paulsen
School: Academy of Art University, San Francisco
Instructor: Thomas McNulty
Location: California

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Sofi Wine Spritzers Bring On the Warm Summer Vibes

“Say hello to Sofi – When Australian wine takes an Italian lover. Inspired by the classic Italian Veneto and Hugo spritz cocktails, Sofi gives these summer classics an Australian twist with South Australian riesling wine, soda and all-natural fruit flavors of Blood Orange & Bitters and Lemon & Elderflower.”

Design agency Squad Ink’s bright color-blocked packaging helps to reinforce those warm summer vibes. 

“Who doesn’t fancy an ice cold spritz during an afternoon Sunday session? Most sun chasers would tend to agree, especially when it’s served up in a convenient 250ml piccolo. 

Italian spritz cocktails are timeless classics so we approached the packaging in the same way by drawing inspiration from classic, Italian soda brands. We then added a contemporary twist that is clean, crisp and refreshing, much like the flavours of these little beauties, especially when paired nicely with a cool north-easterly on a Sydney summer’s day. 

We’ll drink to that. Salute and Cheers!”


Agency: Squad Ink
Creative Direction: Matthew Squadrito
Design: Ruby Grose
Photography: Lucas Peng
Location: Australia

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Brew Your Next Cup of Coffee With Help From Bro

BRO (you can call it BROTHER too) is the minimalistic and sustainable coffee maker, which lets you brew a cup of smooth and rich tasting coffee. Designer and Creative Director Vytautas Volbekas designed the packaging with an anthropomorphic nod to the product’s name, adding a sense of humor and whimsey to the overall package experience. 

“To our knowledge, BRO is the first ever attempt to create a Lithuanian coffee brewer, and that is why some local materials like wood and linen have been used. The coffee maker was developed for almost a year by Emanuelis Ryklys a founder of CROOKED NOSE & COFFEE STORIES. 


Packaging designer: Vytautas Volbekas.

Coffee maker designer: Emanuelis Ryklys.

Client: Crooked Nose & Coffee Stories.

Location: Lithuania

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Chicken, leek & mushroom pie & mini spiced lamb & eggplant pies

Oh my God I can’t actually remember the last time I typed out a blog post sitting in bed with a cup of tea – it feels like an eternity ago! But here I am, second cup in hand, thinking you might like to give these recipes a whirl for the weekend. Who doesn’t love a good pie? These two variations are ones I put together for Fairfax so appearing in newspapers around the country today – the first is a traditional chicken, leek and mushroom pie, swathed in flaky, buttery pastry and the other a batch of mini spiced lamb and eggplant pies, studded with crunchy pine nuts. Both are perfect for eating while watching the rugby with a few mates so good timing with the Lions tour kicking off (pun much?) this weekend.
Crikey, where to start on latest news…it seems like a lot of time has passed but the majority of it has been spent finishing of the cookbook. It has been a massive mission (ahem, perhaps slightly more challenging than first anticipated), but it is almost, very nearly finished. I am so f*kng excited. Both to be finishing, ‘cos let’s face it, I haven’t had a day off since mid-January, but also, because, unusual for a semi-perfectionist such as myself, I absolutely love it. I will be able to share more details with you soon, but meanwhile I am eternally grateful to Henry and my gorgeous NZ designer for all of their hard work…they have made it beautiful. In addition to working on the book Pog has started a new job with uber-cool furniture store, Space, in Melbourne and been throwing gorgeous little dinner parties with Will – table set, fire crackling in the grate and record player spinning. Those two make it look easy, even when it’s not, I’m so proud of them! Meanwhile back in Welly Hoob has done an absolutely stellar job of juggling uni, work, basketball and acting in a local production of Chicago. I have been so impressed that he has managed it all so well, and seriously enjoyed reading the odd essay on American politics along the way. I am flying down to see the final night on Saturday and can’t wait to see my darling ‘baby’…eeeeee, I’m so excited!
Right then, must get up – try the pies if you have a minute – I promise they are both bloody easy to make and delicious. With the chicken pie, if you can’t be faffed with the base, just spoon the filling into a dish, top with the pastry lid and you have pot pie. If you must.

Chicken, leek and mushroom pie:

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
12 small leeks, trimmed and sliced into 1c rounds
800grams chicken thighs, trimmed
250grams mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons plain flour
1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard to taste
2 tablespoons cream
¼ cup grated Parmesan
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
Cooking oil spray
1 ½ sheets (225 grams) ready rolled puff pastry (I used Edmonds for the base)
180grams ready rolled butter puff pastry (I used Paneton for the lid)
1 egg, whisked

Heat oil and butter in a large heavy based pot. Add onion and leek, season well with salt and pepper and cook over a medium heat for 8 minutes. Trim the fat from the chicken thighs and cut each into about 4 pieces. Add to the onion with mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes. Add the wine and flour, stir to combine and cook 1 minute then add the Dijon and cream and cook a further 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Cool. Preheat the oven to 180˚C.  Spray the base of a   24cm pie dish very lightly with cooking spray and brush to coat the sides. Line the base and sides of the dish with the ready rolled pastry and sprinkle over the Parmesan. Stir parsley through the chicken and put on top of the Parmesan. Cut a circle to match the top of the pie dish from the butter puff pastry. Brush the edges of the pastry in the tin with egg, and place the pastry lid on top. Squash the edges to seal, trim the excess pastry and use your thumb or the tines of a fork to make a pattern around the edge. Decorate if desired with cut outs from the excess pastry. Brush with egg and cut a few slits in the top with a sharp knife. Cook for 55-60 minutes until golden. Cool for 5 minutes before serving with mashed potatoes and green beans. Serves 4-6
Spiced lamb & eggplant pies:

2 tablespoons olive oil
850grams lean lamb mince
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 small eggplant, cut into 3cm pieces
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons plain flour
400g tin crushed tomatoes
¼ cup currants
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
½ cup pine nuts
7 sheets (1 kilo) ready rolled puff pastry (I used Edmonds)
1 egg, whisked
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large heavy based pot and cook lamb over a medium heat for 8 minutes. Break the meat up with the back of a fork as it browns. Once it is an even colour, remove the meat from the pot. It will have rendered some fat. You need about a tablespoon to cook the onions next, so if necessary add a little more olive oil, or if too much, drain some off. Add the cumin seeds and cook for a minute then add the onion, season well with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant, garlic, cumin, coriander and cinnamon and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in flour, cook, stirring for a minute then add the tomatoes, currants and chilli flakes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Cool. Preheat oven to 180˚C. Cut each piece of pastry into four squares and brush the edges with whisked egg. Put about 2/3 cup of filling, rounded, into the centre of each square. Cut another four pieces of pastry and place on top of each. Use your hands to press down firmly around the filling and the base. Trim the edges and press with the tines of a fork. Brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Use the tip of a sharp knife to cut two little slits on the top of each pie.  Repeat with remaining filling and pastry. Line two oven trays with baking paper and bake pies for 25-30 minutes until golden. Serve with a good tomato chutney. Makes 14

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