Building blocks

A good relationship between design groups and their clients is crucial for producing successful work. Design Week asks a selection of design buyers what the key elements of good packaging and branding design are


_Paul Porral
_Head of brand creative, John Lewis

Good packaging design considers its life cycle – from what it is made of, to protecting a product in transit, to standing out on the shop floor. Ultimately, good packing design needs to deliver a good experience. Exploding milk cartons and tin cans that won’t stack, however pretty, won’t wash. Fmcg brands that need to stand out on a supermarket shelf tend to stick to a formula that they refuse to move from, in fear of losing recognition or loyalty, but then someone comes ‘innocently’ along and moves the goal posts.

Good packing design needs to deliver a good experience. Exploding milk cartons and tin cans that won’t stack, however pretty, won’t wash

_Kate Blandford
_Kate Blandford Consulting

Good – or even great – packaging design tells a heartfelt story in a clear and differentiated way. So it brings the customer a distinctive message – derived from brand personality or product benefits, for example – and does that in a defendable way that customers haven’t seen before. It makes that visual exclamation mark in a fixture that drives trial and then it’s down to the product delivery to draw customers back time and again. Physical structure can be an incredibly important tool for defining a brand – you‘ve just got to think of Marmite, Orangina, Coca-Cola, Jif or any of those other iconic, categorydefining shapes to see that. And improving functionality through structure can create a real point of difference.


_Tom Foulkes _Global head of marketing, Buro Happold

Two key elements of good branding design are respect and understanding for the client company’s business strategy, history and vision for its future. I believe the best work is born out of a partnership approach between the client and consultancy – it is done when there is no more than a cigarette paper between the client and the team, as this closeness forces the client to become invested in the outcome and the consultancy to feel engaged.

In theory, there is little reason why a campaign couldn’t stray a long way from the original branding concept, but there would have to be an element of truth that stems from the branding, some element of the promise that relates to the customer’s expectation and enables a departure, but within the confines of the original brand vision.

Design consultancies need to have the confidence to work openly, have passion for what they do and have a conviction for doing great work.

_Louise Kyme
_Design manager, British Heart Foundation

Creating a personality reflective of your product or organisation is key for good branding design. This can be gained from logos, colours, typography, tone of voice, and so on, but it must also be relevant to your audience.

Campaigns can stray as far as necessary from the original branding concept, as long as there is a branding strategy behind the developing idea.

At the British Heart Foundation we believe that the logo is very important, as this is our heritage and the element people most associate with us. Another example of a good logo design would be Apple, which is a thoroughly integrated brand.

Design consultancies need to have an understanding of business strategy with branding intelligence to push boundaries. However, the most important ability they require is the craftsmanship to create a brand that will last decades.

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