First of all, tell us about the studio.
By New Zealand standards we’d be considered a medium-sized agency – right now we’re a team of 12. We’re based in Birkenhead, a mostly residential suburb of Auckland with an emerging community of design studios who have escaped the inner city. We specialise in branding and packaging, working with a range of clients from boutique businesses to mid-sized manufacturers and distributors. We’re fast approaching the milestone of 10 years in business.
We don’t design to a single mantra or a rigid process, we adapt our approach to consistently deliver design excellence tailored to the product or service, and it’s intended audience. We deliver design lead by an idea (uncovered by an insight) and seek to engage the audience beyond the brand’s core function and purpose.
We deliver design lead by an idea (uncovered by an insight) and seek to engage the audience beyond the brand’s core function and purpose.
Can you tell us about the initial project conversations?
In this case, the client is family. The founder of GoodFor, James Denton is our Managing Director’s brother out-of-law. That being the case, initial conversations were relaxed and open. While James had put a lot of time and energy into developing the offer and service, he looked to us to solve the brand piece.
GoodFor exists for one reason: to eliminate packaging waste. They offer high-quality food in bulk for purchase with no secondary, single-use packaging. The packaging solutions on offer are all sustainable and reusable, e.g., glass jars and paper bags, and customers are also encouraged to bring their own. This project aligned nicely with our ongoing research and ethos on reducing packaging waste and championing sustainable solutions with our food and beverage clients.
What does your design process look like?
With any new client, the first step is to understand their business – their purpose, mission, vision and where they want to be in 1, 3 and 5 years time. This requires asking the right questions, listening intently to the answers, contributing our own research and insights, then articulating back the focused brief for agreement.
From there we define the essence of the brand. For GoodFor this came down to a single word; reduction. This one word informed everything we designed.
Design explorations and concept work followed, with a team of 3 on the job. Often, we will present more than one concept, but in this case, the brief dictated one definite direction, which was immediately embraced by James.
GoodFor exists for one reason: to eliminate packaging waste… This project aligned nicely with our ongoing research and ethos on reducing packaging waste and championing sustainable solutions with our food and beverage clients.
Can you talk us through the thinking behind the final design?
GoodFor is the first of its kind in New Zealand so expressing their values, mission and service were always going to be the key to success.
We broke this down into two components, Ethos: waste reduction and sustainability and Offering: bring-your-own-packaging bulk food retail. Every piece of design talks to one of these two points.
For Ethos, GoodFor is a company with a firm conviction in their beliefs, and they have a fair bit to say on the matter. We made sure the message was delivered with wit and a light-hearted personality, rather than being worthy or punitive.
For Offering, we adopted the same tone to feature the amazing quality product range and the unique way it can be purchased.
What informed the graphic outcome came back to delivering the message in a concise and witty way, encapsulated within the core essence of reduction. Hence the simple, one colour palette. With so much to say, it was essential to be able to afford to spread the word. With that in mind, we ensured each component could be achieved with minimum cost.
GoodFor’s brand essence came down to a single word; reduction. This one word informed everything we designed.
Did you face any challenges during the project?
Honestly, none worth noting. Other than we had a deadline… not that it was stressful or tight, we were just enjoying the ride.
What was your favorite part of the process?
The moment that stands out was presenting the work. Put simply; it always feels good when you make someone else happy. The response was fantastic.
In what ways did the initial concepts differ from the final execution?
Other than finesse and refinement, I’m happy to say there wasn’t much change at all.
You clearly put a lot of effort into presenting your projects. Do you have any advice for others hoping to up-level their portfolio presentation?
Treat it as a project in itself – have a purpose and a plan. Concept each case study based on the merits of the project – some will be best bringing in attributes of the brand you’re presenting, others will be best suited to a more traditional paired back ‘let the work speak’ approach. Sketch it out and make sure you’re going into a shoot with a concise, well-considered shot list. It’s worth investing time and energy into. We really enjoy putting together our case studies.
One final question, whose work is inspiring you right now?
Well, there are a bunch really. It’s been good to see some of the more established larger international studios doing good, progressive work – Pentagram’s London Design Week was a stand-out project, and just about anything Collins has done in the last few years is outstanding.
But we’re also lucky to have a healthy and progressive design community here in New Zealand to keep us inspired. The likes of Inhouse, Alt Group, DD/MM/YY, and Seachange are continually producing work of an international standard.
Behind the Brief is an interview series celebrating the creative process where we speak to the team behind the project, pulling back the curtain on their design thinking, strategy and process to learn how they arrived at the final design.