A brief design history of a famed Icelandic candy's mid-century packaging


Licorice fans probably already know about Icelandic brand Opal’s pastilles, but what of the eye-catching Op Art design of their packaging? The mesmerizing image dates back to the brand’s founding in 1946 when they commissioned painter Atli Mar to design the colorful logo that’s still in use today. While the brandname itself references the mineral, as Opal manager Áslaug Guðjónsdóttir explains, the vibrant packaging undoubtedly refers to Opal’s enthusiastic slogan “Bætir, hressir, kætir”—or “make things better, livelier and happier.”

The different colors of the coencentric circles, all variations of the original rainbow image, indicate the flavor of the treats inside. Options include mint licorice, salty licorice, sweet licorice and mixed fruits, all now produced by fellow Icelandic candy maker Nói Síríus since 1995.


Opal pastilles sell in stores around Iceland, Sweden and the U.S., as well as online.