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The importance of brand impact and why printers need to become best friends with designers.

By Helen Dugdale.
stuart-k

Stuarts Blog:

Stuart spoke at the Packaging Innovations and Luxury Packaging London earlier this month about the importance of brand impact and why printers need to become best friends with designers.

Here's the highlights of was said:

Frankly were bored with Me Too design

Each month at Label Apeel we produce brilliant labels and see the impact that innovation, imagination and playfulness has on brands. You already know that products should engage with the consumer. So, if you as designers, pack techs and brand owners already know this, why am I as the printer still producing so many square or rectangular labels with weak imagery and poor narrative?

Why is supermarket and shop shelving saturated in products decorated with “me too” designed labels? What I mean by “me too”, is when a client sees what a competitor is doing and tells the designer: “I want a label that looks like that!”

That is my lives frustration. Seeing great products being let down by design that fails to differentiate and tell the story of the product.

I am not saying all label and packaging design is getting it wrong, there are some amazing designers out there that we have had the pleasure of working with. People like Blue Marlin, Kingdom and Sparrow, Cooper, Cooper, Cooper, Barlow Doherty and Pearlfisher to name but a few. If a brand can get to work with people like them then trust me they do not need me for design. At Label Apeel, we just want to inject a whole load let’s-be-different into the label design arena.

Localisations is great, just do it right

The biggest trend we are currently seeing is the increasing localisation of products and too often we see great local products having their packaging designed by the guy down the road who does a bit of packaging design, a bit of web design, a bit of brochure stuff and knock your letterheads together. It might save you a couple of quid in the short term, but it’ll cost you eventually.

I love the idea of localisation; I find it fascinating that every town has its own brewery, every county has its own cheeses and small artisan bakeries and coffee roasters are popping up all of over the place. These guys need and deserve to have their story told, and part of that narrative needs to be created in the packaging and so often that does not happen.

More and more, Label Apeel has been getting involved in the design process, through Shuck Design. We have a very playful nature; we love experimenting, messing around and trying stuff out. It was this willingness to have a play that led us to being involved with probably our most exciting label to date.

Gilpins Gin are a husband and wife team, he made the very nice gin and she designed the stunning label. The fortunate thing for us is that Christina is a perfectionist and only works with people who share her passion so we hit it off from the very beginning. Together we created a stunning label with a lot of character, a real narrative and some stand out features. Such as the detail in the embossing on the hogs back. This amount of detail, and decoration in a label with a run length of only 5000 is almost unheard of. Why? Because the tooling for this should be a ridiculous cost, but by getting the designer and the printer in the same room and focusing on what can be achieved rather than on what can’t, we were able to push boundaries in terms of quality, precision and detail. We were able to do this by experimenting, playing with different ideas and learning new techniques. While still managing the tooling expenditure and a tight budget that gave us a label you will struggle to see bettered anywhere in the world.

We want to meet the designers

The label for Gilpins Gin told us that we needed to get involved in the design process. We went out of our way to explain and talk to designers about getting us involved in the design process earlier. We begged and pleaded with brand owners to get us in at the concept stage, but too often we were ignored and all we got was finished design that we were left to turn in to labels. The attitude we came up against time after time was, ‘this is the way it has always been and we are not going to change it for you’. The problem with this attitude is that many of today’s designers are too busy to be able to keep abreast of new materials, too busy to do the necessary R&D slog work, to look at new printing techniques and new methodology. That is even truer if designers are working as generalist who is doing websites, brochures and letterheads as well.

The printing industry is developing at an unprecedented speed, if designers, pack techs and brand owners really want to know what is going on they have either got to engage with their printer or use somewhere like Label Apeel that has Shuck Design imbedded and is fully conversant with what can now be achieved.

More and more, Label Apeel has been getting involved in the design process, through Shuck Design. We have a very playful nature; we love experimenting, messing around and trying stuff out.