Variety is the Spice of Life


I put hot sauce on everything, and I always look forward to trying new types of it! One of the things that often strikes me first is the label design. Here are a few examples of sauces I had around the house that I have yet to try. Each of these labels is a mini artwork, encompassing the spirit of the sauce.

I particularly like the, “Lucky Dog – Year of the Dog” design. I have had several of Lucky Dog’s sauces in the past and am always drawn to their bright attractive designs. The use of contrasting colors and floral patterns really draws my eye to this Thai Chile pineapple hot sauce, and their motto, “Food’s Best Friend”, sits just right with me.




One look at the “Torchedstone Thai” bottle and you know what you’re in for. The flaming skeleton holding flaming bottles of hot sauce indicate that this might not be one for the faint of heart, or stomach.



And finally, this picturesque desert landscape gives a sunny southwestern feel to the “High Desert Tikk-Hot Masala”, simple but effective.


Throughout my hot sauce career, I have come to appreciate these labels as a way for each individual hot sauce to stand out from the crowd. I really like the way many of these are done. I have quite a few like this and they all seem very inspired compared to most other food packaging designs I have seen. It is as they say; variety is the spice of life, and hot sauce.



Discussion — 4 Responses

  • Jessica Zhu 04/02/2022 on 10:57 AM

    Like you, I also really enjoy food packaging designs. I think they enhance the product and sometimes I would buy for the packaging, which to this day I do not regret. In the hot sauce packaging you’ve shown, the usage of bright contrasting colors especially in the “Torchedstone Thai” one really draws my attention. I think the blue works well with the yellow and orange. In addition, I think this packaging label in a way also shows humor with the illustration as well as displaying the information saying its “XXX Hot”. When I saw your post on hot sauces, it reminded me of a vendor I saw in downtown Raleigh, where he sold his homemade hot sauces. I believe his was called “Insain Hot” where the label design differs from the one you have shown in which it features simple illustrations and less contrasting colors. Fun fact is that the vendor allowed samples but the consumer must sign a liability form. The form said that one will not hold owner accountable and one is aware of the risk associated with taking the sample.

  • Amaya Al-Mussawir 04/13/2022 on 7:42 PM

    Hey Robbie!

    I am also an insane spice fiend, and a dream of mine since forever is to design a label of this type- whether that be a hot sauce or a beer can (I find the designs to be quite similar a lot of the time!). A common thread I see throughout the three hot sauce bottles presented above is this underlying style. I would equate it to a sort of turn-of-the-century, traditional-American-style tattoo art style, which I find has been seeing a return recently. I also think that the use of humor really benefits a products like this, because somehow I feel that the target audience of someone who buys hot sauces will all think the jokes are funny, although I couldn’t tell you exactly what the target audience of a hot sauce is (I can tell you I’m one of them though). I feel like if we’re comparing hot sauce labels and beer labels, I feel like jokes would land better on a hot sauce label.

  • Nanny Ogilvie 04/15/2022 on 11:21 PM

    I’m glad you decided to analyze hot sauce labels because I’ve always found the designs somewhat bizarre, yet very intriguing. I have never seen any of those labels you posted before, but even before reading them I could tell it was going to be hot sauce. I think it’s very neat that I could tell that, because all hot sauce labels have a similar “theme” to their designs, which I feel like is not that common with other types of products. Like you mentioned, the labels can be very telling/suggestive (like the flaming skeleton). I never really thought about the meaning of the graphics before now but it makes sense; the creative artwork on the labels definitely gives an idea of what the experience is going to be like. The labels and graphics and images used are very overwhelming, intimidating, and in-your-face… much like the experience of using hot sauce!

  • Anna Holmes 04/16/2022 on 12:02 AM

    I don’t think I’m able to write a sufficient comment on this subject because, although the labels on hot sauce are interesting and important to the topic of Graphic Design, I feel like I would spend the whole comment talking about the sauce itself. I have worked at a variety store that sells a wide selection of hot sauces, as well as things like expensive hats, novelty shirts, and Native American “artifacts” with questionable integrity.

    That being said, I have a sauce from there in my fridge right now called “Chipotle Mustard.” It’s the only sauce we sell that can be bought in a gallon container. The labels are the same for each container, depicting a relaxed skeleton dude with a sombrero. The color scheme is also quite relaxed with desaturated reds, yellows, and greens. The sauces match pretty well with the label. It’s definitely not mild, but it has a pleasing, familiar, smokey flavor that is good on almost every food. I once had it on ice cream.

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