Sardines! Tiny fish, packed in a can! The stuff of cartoons, the primary example of cramped quarters, a humble and inexpensive food, found almost everywhere.

So many of these come from Morocco- it’s one of their big exports. I love the matte printing on the labels, and they way they are decorative and fanciful, but often not very professional-looking. Something about sardines requires a common touch.

Send Sardine boxes from your home country! I will add them if I don’t have them already- see contact page for information. (Yes, I have been working on this for years- I buy sardines when I travel.) Thanks to everyone who has helped put this together thusfar. The collection is over seventy different boxes already.

2007-01-15 at 11-29-18  2007-01-15 at 11-29-28
A classic label, a friendly sardine, some seagulls and water.2007-01-15 at 10-59-26     2007-01-15 at 10-58-232007-01-15 at 11-16-39 2007-01-15 at 11-19-412007-01-15 at 11-32-20 (1)
Some straightforward sardine portraiture….
2007-01-15 at 11-15-40 This sardine looks sad about sitting on all those chilis.

2007-01-15 at 11-04-00 2007-01-15 at 11-17-22
And this sardine looks angry, in red and blue.

2007-01-15 at 11-15-53 2007-01-15 at 11-07-04
Mysterious cans with no signs of sardines…

2007-01-15 at 11-31-082007-01-15 at 11-31-30|
This is my favorite one- psychedelic sardines! And a porron! And the backside, with the unappealing photo of sardines.

2007-01-15 at 11-29-51
Oh oh!! One thing sardines should probably NOT be, is “Sparkly”!

2007-01-15 at 11-06-49
This is my favorite minimal design for a sardine label, it also looks like it came from 70 years ago.

2007-01-15 at 11-29-08
Scary packaging, unappetising. But the sardines were actually quite delicious. 

2007-01-15 at 11-01-22
A poetic image- that mackerels are like leaves of gold…

2007-01-15 at 10-57-21  2007-01-15 at 11-29-39
Fishing boats are for anchovies (are anchovies less cute than sardines?). The one on the right is Basque, and uses the Basque name first- Ondarroa (Vizcaya).

2007-01-15 at 11-30-07  2007-01-15 at 11-20-44  2007-01-15 at 11-04-27

2007-01-15 at 11-03-08  2007-01-15 at 11-21-09
Showing the actual mushy fish doesn’t seem like such a great advertisement, but it’s quite common. I like sardine drawings better.

2007-01-15 at 10-57-45  2007-01-15 at 11-04-13  2007-01-15 at 11-30-35
Sometimes bold graphics are enough, simple.

2007-01-15 at 11-16-16  2007-01-15 at 11-20-09
National Sardine Pride!: Here is Canada, and Spain

** Open call- if anyone has sardine boxes that they are willing to share, please write to me! I would love to include yours in my list.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Pinaki says:

    Hi Anne.
    I find this collection of Sardine cans very interesting. I’d definitely collect some of my own, for you.


  2. TERRIFIC view of something I never considered taking note of!

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