It’s no secret that Hawaii loves Spam. Out of the 16 million cans of the canned meat consumed annually in the United States, 7 million of those are consumed in Hawaii. This seemingly strange love affair spans all the way back to WWII, when Spam became the staple food for GI’s stationed in Hawaii. Over the years, what was once used as a military food ration, soon became a staple in Hawaii’s culture. Every day of the year, Hawaii’s grocery store isles are continuously stocked full of a variety of different flavors and styles, with the same holding true for the majority of kitchens and restaurants across the State. From Spam Musubis (a take on traditional Japanese rice balls) to McDonald’s breakfast plates, Spam has become so ingrained in Hawaii’s diet and culture, it’s hard to imagine life without it.
When it came time to redesigning the “Special Edition” Hawaii Spam label*, we wanted the design to reflect the iconic look and feel of Hawaii. Rather than going with a photograph, which is typical of Spam’s label designs, we wanted to create an original illustration, reminiscent of a retro Hawaii Advertisement, circa 1950. Using a number of reference photographs and advertisements, we drew and “painted” the illustration in Photoshop. The end result, is a playful parody on classic Hawaiian advertising, creating a unique take on the classic Spam Can.
*This label design remains unused by Spam.