Arne Ratermanis
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True Story: The Piracy of the FatHead Lettuce

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“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

For certain projects, when illustrating or designing, I’ll imitate the style of another artist or designer. Usually it is done tongue-in-cheek but always paying homage to the artist. AND, it’s an imitation of their style not a direct copy of their artwork.

This was not the case of the pirated FatHead Lettuce brand.

When the client called asking for a logo design and branding for their new iceberg lettuce I knew this could be something special. Just the fact that they named it “FatHead” was risky and meant they wanted a brand that was different from the norm.

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What was decided upon for the logo was a 2-color, cartoon-styled big head of lettuce with a beaming, happy face. I designed the packaging so that on the ends of the boxes the logo’s face was enlarged to fill the entire panel. Imagine driving by a semi-trailer loaded with boxes displaying giant lettuce heads smiling back at you.

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The brand was an immediate success. So much so that, a few months after the unveiling, it was discovered a competing lettuce grower had copied the FatHead packaging artwork (to a T) and were selling their lettuce as the FatHead brand. They were caught, and the client had the satisfaction of being present, along with local authorities, as the competitor had to destroy a couple truckloads of bootleg boxes. True story.

The FatHead brand went on to include Green Leaf, Red Leaf and Romaine lettuce.

The FatHead brand went on to include Green Leaf, Red Leaf and Romaine lettuce.