Vibrandt is to make its first foray into product design and innovation, with the formation of a team headed by former senior PDD staff.
The Windsor-based consultancy has this week launched Vibrandt Form, aiming to address what it sees as a gap in the market, following models from giants Nike and Apple that encompass design of entire ‘systems’ rather than discrete disciplinary elements.
Vibrandt’s structural packaging team, previously known as Impakt, has been absorbed into Vibrandt Form, which will recruit further product designers,design analysts and innovation consultants over the coming year.
Vibrandt chief executive John Sandom explains that PDD’s former creative director Miles Hawley,director of semiotics Diane Fox-Hill and head of research Julie Jenson Bennett together approached the consultancy about potentially investing in a product design offer, with the help of an agent. The fit was so complementary, Sandom says, that there was animmediate impetus to integrate it.
‘It’s a joy because they’re aself-selected team and there’s none of the baggage you get when you buy a group. We are already getting approaches from clients who knew them,and it takes it beyond FMCG,’says Sandom.
They are joined by KarlaMorales, formerly at Seymour Powell, who is business development manager across all Vibrandt divisions.Sandom comments that while groups such as Loewy have been developing both a brand and product offer through acquisition, Vibrandt will provide a ‘more seamless offer rather than a fragmented picture’.
Vibrandt Form’s director of innovation Jenson Bennett explains that the idea is to help clients find innovation opportunities across product, branding, communication or strategy. ‘Once these are matched, we can develop new product concepts to be on the market in a matter of months,as well as physical environments, interiors, transportation or interactive experiences,’ she says.
Jenson Bennett says that Government reports such as the Cox Review have helped the team establish a vocabularyand have provided models to refer back to, but the main motivation for the move has come from clients.
Meanwhile, PDD reports thatit will not directly replace Jenson Bennett and Hawley– Fox-Hill left some time ago –and is instead beefing up its team with a diverse range of skills. It has recruited 15 staff since the beginning of the year, says a spokeswoman.
LOWDOWN ON VIBRANDT
• Vibrandt – brand design, including packaging and print
• Vibrandt Form – brand and product innovation, including product and structural design
• Distillery – brand insight, including consultancy and strategy
• Total number of staff is 67
• Clients include Premier Foods, Coca-Cola, Unilever and Nestlé Purina