Posts Tagged ‘ brand identity chain ’

The Basics of Package Design

Creating packaging for a client isn’t always easy, especially if you are creating a package for a product that you’re not familiar with or have never used. Below are some of evok’s best practices for creating award-winning packaging, along with a few of my own personal tips for success.

Take a field trip. Start with shopping around the competition to see what is out there. Check out your client’s retail environment to see how other products are presented on the shelf. Make sure you take your handy-dandy camera with you to take pictures of the competitors’ packaging. That way, you can go back and work on how you’re going to differentiate you client’s packaging from their competitors’ packaging. To take your research a step farther, look at other packaging that’s not within your client’s realm. This approach can help you come up with and an idea that could be a little more unconventional.

Contact your printer before you design. In addition to providing you with a die line for your job, your printer is a valuable resource for advice on paper or other material options. If you’re unclear about the kind of printer or process that’s appropriate for your packaging project, contact a printer with whom you have a working relationship. Remember to involve your printer at every stage of the design process to be sure that your concept is achievable.

Know the quality and production budget. Think about the quality of the paper, inks, spot varnish, emboss, metallic or a custom die. All those things will affect you client’s overall budget. When money is the bottom line, you must be flexible with the elements of your design. Set realistic goals that stay on target with your client’s budget.

Make the purchase. As a designer, your goal is to create a design that stimulates the consumer to make the purchase. Your design should increase product recognition, in other words, it should act as a “stand-in salesman”. It needs to do this quickly and concisely.

Create mock-ups. I’m a pretty visual person and I make mock-ups all the time. Sometimes when you design something flat that is going to end up being folded, you overlook certain things. You might be experience something along the lines of, “Oooh, I didn’t see that this color bar doesn’t align with this one on the other panel,” or “Yikes, this looks odd since the package lays on its side.” Create several packages so you can see what the shelf presence will be like. Ask your printer if they will run a couple mock-ups for you so you can see how the design works on the shelf.

Bar Codes 101

  • Bar codes must be placed in a spot that is highly visible and easy to scan.
  • A bar code must be printed at a scale between 85% and 120% of its original size.
  • Bar codes must be printed in a dark color against a solid light colored background. The contrast between a bar code and its background must be high enough to allow the bar code to be scanned.
  • Make sure your client provides you with their bar code number. A program like Bar Code Pro will enable you to generate an EPS file to place in your file.

Indesign Tip: How to create a “Book”

I had a big project for a client that consisted of over 60 rack brochures. When I laid them out, I didn’t lay them out in one Indesign file – they were all separate files. Although all the files were separate, if I needed to make a change, the last thing I wanted to do was open each file individually. Indesign has an option for you to create a “Book”. A Book creates an Indesign file that will house all my separate rack brochure files and combine them into one Book file. This is how it works:

File>new>book

A new palette will appear, and once it does, click the “plus” icon in the lower right hand corner of the palette.

Next, a window will appear asking you to locate your files. Once located, click Open. Note: The way you link graphics in your traditional Indesign files, applies the same way to the Book files.

Now that you have all you files selected into your Book, it’s time to save your Book. You can open any of your linked Indesign files via the Book, just select the file from the Book palette and your ready to go. You can print an individual file if needed and you can export individual PDFs from the book, just option click the files you want. If you want to print the selected files, click the print icon in the palette. If you want to export the files as a PDF, click the carrot icon in the upper left hand corner of the palette and select “Export selected documents to PDF”.

Creating packaging for clients can be challenging, but with sound research, clear objectives, a few mock-ups and using these organizational tips, you’ll be on the path to success in no time.

Listen Up Pitches!…The Pitch Process from a Creative’s Mind

Before I begin, this behind-the-scenes look through a creative’s mind can be a little scary. I promise to stay on track and stick to the subject matter of what a pitch entails…or at least mention what it should entail. Let’s start with the obvious – before you begin a pitch, learn about your client, their business and their customer. Each client will expect you to be sensitive to their business and industry, so let the homework begin. Embark with research into the industry trends, lingo and competitors, but get the entire team working on this – different perspectives and research avenues will prove invaluable in the kick-off meeting. Also, dig into the client’s personal tastes, from who they associate with to their personal interests, such as what they watch, read, like and are involved in. This helps in choosing your “voice” of the presentation. However, the most important study is finding their target audience—and digging deeper. Are there other demos we could hit? Can we expand sales to existing customers and what will engage all of them to act? More often than not, you can change a client’s weariness of a new idea when you back it with this kind of research.

Now let’s talk about that new creative idea. Our biggest hurdle with new ideas is just that – that they’re new ideas. This means change to a client and many people do not like change. Before your pitch, make sure you are speaking to someone that’s interested in change, and if they’re not, find out why they think an agency is needed in the first place.

Moving forward, what happens when you find that idea, but it just isn’t working? Sometimes, even if the passion is there, that big idea isn’t always the right fit.  Ask yourself and your peers: Does this solve a specific problem or need? Is this problem worth solving? And will it translate into profits? Can it be implemented realistically? If these can be answered and backed up with research, creative thinking and real passion – then you have the big idea!

The thing we must always ask ourselves – how do we communicate the idea to the client effectively? First, you need to develop the elevator pitch – one short sentence that describes the idea at its highest level. Refine and simplify until it’s interesting, intelligent and to the point. The rest of your presentation should be based on this simplified explanation of the big idea and flow out like an open fire hydrant.

So there you have it, pitches. We research, we learn, we create, we execute, but we do it all while something’s missing – The Client. This is how the majority of agencies have to operate – without their major puzzle piece intact. It’s a sad way to do business, at least in my opinion.

What happened to learning directly from the client before the pitch? It’s very doubtful that any creative director or copywriter will ever know as much about the client’s business as the client does. This may not sound promising to clients, but the truth is – most of their customers do not either, nor do they want to. As a Creative Director, I want to hear the business successes and failures directly from the president or founder. A walk down the company memory lane is usually the spark that ignites the passion and reason for being of that particular business. This experience is invaluable to a creative and helps the idea bloom. Then that idea (and a good agency plan) becomes the integral link between Client and Customer. We develop the idea in the language of the consumer and place the right message in areas that they frequent. This model, when all of the above is developed properly, usually results in sales.

So I ask you, Client – Pitch me! Please.

Brand Identity Chain

“Who do you think you are” used to be asked of people when they said or did something rude or presumptuous. But now, it’s an important question that provides valuable insight into what motivates your target market to buy.

Welcome to the world of identity marketing. According to Robert Maxwell – president of research consulting firm Chelsea Media – it is no longer enough to create a brand identity to reach members of your target demographic group. You must first understand the social and pop cultural influences upon which people within your target demographic create their identity and lifestyle, then position your brand as one that integrates with that identity.

As explained in plain English by Maxwell in Advertising Age magazine: “If consumers identify with Prada and also identify with Michelob, Volvo, “24” character Jack Bauer, rock group the Killers and Doritos, marketers suddenly have a ‘brand identity chain’ – a group of consumers who share similar identities as well as product and media consumption.

“In fact, anything in the media marketplace that contains symbols consumers might use in constructing their identities qualifies as a brand. That includes companies, services and, most important, news and entertainment. The building blocks of news and entertainment – personalities, TV programs, characters, sports teams, bands, channels, websites and so forth – are all laden with symbols that invite connections with a consumer’s identity.”

Now consider your target market. If it’s the 18-to-34 male mobile entertainment enthusiast, his brand identity chain is likely to include Red Bull, first-person shooter/car racing video games, Scarface, hip-hop artist Chamillionaire, YouTube.com, Honda Civic, Toyota Scion – and probably also Jack Bauer and Doritos. All of these interests and preferences combine to shape his self-image and determine the other brands he buys.

So how can you make your brand one of the building blocks of your market’s identity? Let’s return to the Scion for an example. A CGA (computer-generated animation) commercial for the Scion tC uses video game-style graphics and action as the vehicle changes body colors while driving through a hip cityscape to a techno music track. The creative team for the commercial recognized video games and techno music as building blocks of the tC target market’s identity, and based the vehicle’s brand identity upon those elements.

The take-home message: let your brand enhance the identity of your consumers, and the resulting sale will be more than a purchase – it will be part of who they are.