The State of Packaging in Today’s Market (Interview 3)

Posted in Articles, Interviews

Here is the third installment of our Interview Series and this time we turn to a multi-disciplined group from Greece called Designers United. Designers United is an award winning, multidisciplinary design firm focused in brand identity development, creative direction, and interaction based in Thessaloniki, Greece. The company has been creating integrated design solutions for a diverse range of international clients across various industries, scales and budgets. Their work encompasses creative direction, branding and identity systems, book and magazine design, web design and development, illustration, print collateral and social-media/public-relations needs. Since inception in 2005, Designers United quickly gained an enviable reputation for their distinctive style and design excellence and received numerous awards and distinctions in Greece and abroad and thus recognition from peers and other industry bodies. Dimitris Koliadimas was born in 1978 in Thessaloniki and studied graphic design at the Technological Institute of Athens (1997-2001). He continued his studies in London, where he attended the postgraduate course in Typographic studies at London College of Communication, University of the Arts. He graduated in 2002 with Level A Distinction and thesis titled: “Political Rhetoric: a virus within contemporary language” (an experimental visual presentation of the use of personal pronouns in political speech). In 2005 he teamed up with Dimitris Papazoglou and formed Designers United. Dimitris  Papazoglou was born in Athens in 1976 and studied typographic design and visual communications in ?stituto Europeo di Design (IED) in Milan, Italy. Among other things, he has worked as the Creative Art Director of the famous weekly periodical “Epsilon” from Eleftherotypia newspaper. His work has been awarded in Greece and abroad and more specifically in 2004 he was awarded the Grand EBGE in the Greek Graphic Design & Illustration Awards. He has teached typography and visual communication for the postgraduate students in AKTO educational institute and has been the speaker in a series of lectures in the Postgraduate Department of Musicology of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. 1.    In today’s packaging, how much emphasis is placed on form and how much on graphics? Is one more dominant than the other? c Both are actually equally important and both should equally attempt to catch the eye of the target audience. When combined successfully the result is well received. Form is visible from a longer distance, so maybe in this sense some may think that it should more dominant than graphics. In fact there is a number of good packaging examples where form prevails and design is minimal and vice versa. c 2.    Has the focus on sustainability in packaging leveled off or will it continue to rise? c People tend to become more environmentally concerned.  Huge efforts for the “go green” are made, in order to contribute to our planet’s survival.  Companies have started to ask for environmentally friendly packaging, such as recycled paper for instance, while more and more green solutions become available on the market. c 3.    With the growing number of products entering the market, what are the expectations of companies in regards to sales performance based on package design and do you feel they are realistic? c Companies have begun to realize the importance of good packaging and how crucial it is to a product's value perception, but since more and more products enter the market competition is increasing rapidly. This means that companies need to try harder than before. And although packaging design is certainly a key part in the product's sales performance, the truth is that packaging alone is not enough. Design helps the initial sale but it is quality that is the most important determinant for sales repetition. And of course we should not forget other factors such as merchandising and good product location within store, which enhance visibility, hence assist the maximization of sales. c 4.    Do you find budgets for package design growing or shrinking? c It is no news that we facing a world financial crisis. Budgets are shrinking and especially in our field of business, some might say that things are worse. Yet, package design is a different story. For products introduced to the market for the first time, budgets tend to be growing, since competition is fierce. For products with good sales performance but in need of new package design, budgets have always been small, because clients willingly underestimate the power of good design over other product attributes. When package design comes as a solution for "good" products with bad sales performance, then again budgets are growing. c 5.    When designing a package, how connected are you to the manufacturing and fulfillment segments? c It is really very important to monitor the process at all times, so as to see how the project evolves through its different stages. It's a crucial part of our work and we pay every attention to detail at all stages to have the anticipated outcome. c 6.    How often have you bought a product based on the package? c Have lost count… c 7.    Have you ever purposely designed a package to have a life (or use) past the product it contains? c People often buy products for their good packaging design, in order to keep the packaging. So yes, clients have asked us to do so! c 8.    Many consumers complain about clamshell packaging due to the difficulty in opening one. Since that feature is in place to deal with theft, how would you counter or improve that part of the clamshell design? c It is a very difficult question to answer only in theory. c 9.    What package would you like to design? c Any packaging project is a challenge, so they are all welcome. c 10.  What is your favorite package? c Cannot really decide, there are hundreds of good examples.

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