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Last few years, India has seen a steady rise in design consulting needs from new mushrooming businesses, commonly referred as ‘Startups’. These are not necessarily the love child of newbies but also some industry veterans or serial entrepreneurs taking on new business challenges, who understands the importance of design. Here, Ashish Deshpande explains the pros & cons of designing for startups.

startup
ASAP. CIIE-IIM-A incubated Bangaluru startup that created this “on the go” snack, design helped strategise and communicate a differentiating visual story. Pic by Elephant

A motivating enterprise environment in India, propelled by several industry & government initiatives has helped create a breed of entrepreneurs high on enthusiasm, technology savvy and willing to take the risk on new product service formats. Design is playing a crucial role in their journey as well as successes and there is increasing acceptance to the use of design in building a resounding brand & quality of product or service application. Paper boat is great example of a recent startup success story where one can observe design playing a key role. However, working with startups has its own unique hiccups and thrills.

startup
Paperboat. A memory drinks based startup where design added emotive value to the brand, identity, language, pack form function. Pic by Elephant

• CHALLENGES WITH STARTUPS

1. Multi-role Involvement

Let’s face it! Startups are ultra lean. Aligning business & technology solutions to a consumer-focused approach needs to be done at multiple levels. Since most startups, unlike the well-established corporate world, cannot afford multiple experts & agencies, a designer is seen as a ‘fix all’ for several needs. Involvement of a designer or design firm goes beyond a specific design assignment. Designer ends up playing a strategic role, trying to balance business strategy with design, brand image, product, pack, quality, vendor development, applications and point of sale, with key design language & marketing messages.

2. Distinct Solution

Most startups are either technology or business focused. Design is a weakness and so is the ability to profile and understand end consumer. Startup tend to get committed too early to a particular tech or proposition without ascertaining appropriateness, uniqueness and distinction of their offering. Despite a new idea, most times, the end offering is neither distinct enough, nor is perceived value appreciable. This grave omission places the fledging business at risk from the word go.

3. Incremental Approach

Paucity of key in-house expertise & resources, especially funds, forces design to be undertaken in an incremental manner, stretching across months at times. Design implementation also takes place at a slow pace so it is difficult to see the full picture or measure the impact of design. A healthcare start up, setting up new format of hospitals launched the service care product with just the new brand identity, However, the hospital experience that would resonate with the brand was placed on hold due to lack of funds. The result was apparent. Customers never experienced the distinction in the hospital value proposition and never understood as to why they should adopt this new hospital chain.

design
SynPhNe. Singapore based technology startup where design helped cutting edge tech become human through Industrial Design of Wearable stroke rehabilitation device focused on needs of patients. Pic by Elephant

• ADVANTAGES WITH STARTUPS

1. Contagious Energy

Startups are a happy lot. Usual work culture is hands-on and people come across eager to learn, share and help. It is great to work with synergies of such teams and be part of an exciting journey. The results reflect on the design output. Client meetings are less of drudgery, are participative and consequently more productive.

2. Willing Explorers

This is one place where Startups score. They are willing to play along as you explore, experiment & test. There is negligible blame game, no departmental silos or ‘mother of all’ presentation to the King of the corporate. Results are quick and decisions are usually part of a co-creative play. Funds are the only constraint but then frugal approach and ‘jugaad’ prototypes are more than welcome. This approach works wonders for the confidence of the design team.

3. Creative Satisfaction

Many startups are working in the healthcare, social impact, agri-tech and energy space. Just the sense of what your work will potentially achieve can layer the designer in you with goose bumps. Each startup is a new challenge, whether it is B2B or B2C, it gives a sense of new purpose and when design helps enable such opportunities, the result is very satisfying. Design as core to startups is understood by the fact that many new enterprises have designers as co founders. Designers in India will have to quickly adapt to this new scenario and draw out a process to work with the Startup eco system. This culture is here to stay.

Plezmo. IOT based education platform that helps you learn program logic while you have smart fun. Pic by Plezmo
Plezmo. IOT based education platform that helps you learn program logic while kids have smart fun. Pic by Plezmo
client

Published in Issue 37

Recent demonisation and changing Taxes has pushed most of us in planning our finances more seriously. So to answer some of the basic questions for designers, freelancers and creative studios, we interviewed some of the creative legends to guide and share their wisdom. The issue includes interactions with Preeti Vyas from VGC on ‘How to pitch for clients or retain the existing one’ and Ashish Deshpande from Elephant on ‘Challenges of working with a startup’, along with some best freelancers like Archan Nair, Shreya Shetty and Paul Sandip, sharing their knowledge of working with various clients. Also, Sachin Puthran from Thatzit.com gave a 10-point no-nonsense guide for studios to handle their finances. A must read, if you are planning for the financial year ahead or worried about your handling your money matter, this issue can give you much-needed insight and guide you to a better financial health of your business or freelancing.

 

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While the fundamentals for packaging design remain the same, there are new patterns for the new normal. Apart from visibility and engagement, companies should adapt their strategies and processes to cater to these unprecedented times.

The year 2020 emphasised the requirement to change and adapt due to the Covid-19 pandemic rapidly. Naturally, in the scramble to adjust to this new, interior-focused experience, many found it hard to cope. Yet others discovered parts of themselves they never knew existed, and thrived – and this held exceptionally true for brands and businesses as well.

The world of packaging design was no exception when it comes to witnessing the disruption. The question is, what learnings can we take forward as we move into 2021? Based on Elephant Design‘s numerous experiences this year and weighing other parameters, a few trends shall be extremely crucial in the new normal.

1. Lend Me Your Eyes & Ears

This is the age of information, excess, and choice – and due to high levels of engagement on various platforms and advancements in technology, it is vital to stay away from all the digital noise. The challenge for packaging is to arrest the present generation’s attention: in a world where they have too many distractions! Catchphrases, innovations in design structure, semiotic elements – all these will aim to grab and more importantly, retain attention at several touchpoints in the packaging experience.

A popular Japanese beauty product takes an unconventional approach to their packaging where they printed all their text backwards. While most would pass this off as a lack of a quality check, the Japanese brand doubled down on their selfie-taking core demographic for this limited run by design—a bold yet creative way to secure their promotion.


2. Truly Yours

There is also another easily visible trend: Hyper-personalisation. Ironically, Andy Warhol indicated that the age of originality had all but faded with mass production. But what he didn’t anticipate was that even personalisation on a mass scale would eventually be feasible. This trend was popular with iconic brands like Coca Cola and their ability to roll out bottles with personalised tags that are also culturally relevant in a local context. Nutella merged personalisation with an algorithm to create 7 million unique designs on their popular chocolate spread jars.

Standardisation is fast losing appeal, and we shall see more brands integrating personalised elements to make the product feel like it’s uniquely yours.


3. Made Fast; Not Necessarily to Last

For adaptation to be successful, we need to leverage two essential packaging design characteristics: scale and speed. In tandem with market saturation and short attention spans, an idea sticks only if its execution can be instantaneous. These conditions require a keen knowledge of materials, tools and processes for the development of speedy packaging; and making the production cycle as lean and efficient as possible, reducing the number of steps/technical processes to its core essentials.


4. Connecting Essentialism with Localisation

In 2020, our world realised the importance of localised goods, products and services during the pandemic due to restricted movement and logistics. As a result, the emphasis on extremely resilient packaging (for transport) was not a significant concern over such small distances. Thus, packaging that did not combine hi-tech materials and development became more feasible, boosting the use of perishable local materials like brown paper which is poised to increase in the coming year.


5. Embracing the Circular Economy

The pandemic drew focus to the issue of corporate/business-oriented responsibility and the environment, especially when examples of flora and fauna returning to previously affected areas due to economic activity started to circulate.

 

The packaging industry has always been questioned for its environmental impact, and in 2021, this scrutiny will only increase. Brands will have to think about pain points like their packaging’s shelf life and how its disposal and reuse can be taken care of responsibly. For example, Tata’s sustainability division is recycling 38% of its fly ash (a waste byproduct from their thermal stations) and applying it to the construction industry (pages 18-20). Expect many brands to adopt these alternatives and solutions to meet this need!


6. Virtual Integration

With conventional environments and public spaces becoming harder to access, our forays into the virtual world have gained a lot of traction and depth. This shift affects packaging in the same way, where brands leverage technology to provide digital experiences like never before. Brand collateral, informational tidbits and even creative ad campaigns can develop, which reduces the use of physical materials – something that will increase in the coming year.


7. Trust Through Communication

In 2020, we saw a dramatic spike with consumers prioritising safety and hygiene, but how do we ensure brands communicate their commitment to providing high standards? Here is where packaging design steps in and curiously, we see a reversal in perception. Once, messaging like ‘untouched by hands’ on product packages would invoke a sense of industrially mass production, but today, it is a hallmark of safety! Brands shall find new ways to build this trust via packaging, so this is an area to watch.

We hope that these shared insights shed some light on packaging trends in a year that perhaps will go down as the year of recovery as the world gets back on its feet!

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The brand identity was done by Elephant Design to ensure ancient Indian millets could make a comeback into the market in its raw, authentic and unprocessed form. The millets were highlighted as healthier alternatives that could be used with extreme versatility and fit into the contemporary Indian person’s diet.

The Clients’ Ethos

A venture of Fountainhead Foods, Health Sutra was launched in 2013 to create packaged food with the goodness of millets that can easily be incorporated into the contemporary Indian lifestyle.

Brand Identity by Elephant Design

Launching Health Sutra

As a relatively new player hopping on the healthy food bandwagon, Health Sutra aimed to enter into retail with their range of millet products. The aim was to create awareness on how millets – an Ancient superfood – can be eaten at every meal and customised to suit today’s lifestyle.

Brand Identity by Elephant Design

The Prehistoric Goodness

The humble millet – an ancient superfood, is packed with fibre, keeps us full and is loaded with nutrients beneficial to the human body. Health Sutra saw a market for millets in the health-conscious shopper that would be aware of the benefits of the millets and choose this over the heavily processed grains available in the market.

Unbeatable Versatility

The modern Indian mother, when it comes to breakfast, likes relying on less-processed options. She is also familiar with Jowar, ragi, and Bajra, but doesn’t always connect them to basic food preparations like Poha, idlis and so on. This proved to be a challenge as even though most Indians are aware of millets and its benefits, but are unable to incorporate them as a part of regular meals. The team at Health Sutra had to come up with a wide variety of options that could be used for breakfast, lunch or dinner and even snacking. Another thing to be kept in mind was that it had to be tailored to fit into the contemporary Indian diet with ease.

Enabling Pickup Potential

Different colours were used to code different types of millets for establishing a brand identity and enabling easy identification. The pickup potential of the product was crucial due to its nature which led to the creation of innovative products such as Jowar idly mix and Ragi flakes/Jowar flakes to be consumed as breakfast cereal instead of its sugary, processed counterparts available in the market. This outlined both, the versatility of millets and the variety of ways in which millets could be prepared by the consumer to suit the modern Indian diet on an everyday basis.

Brand Identity by Elephant Design

Mixing the Tradition with Modern

The role of branding was to highlight the edge of the product which it has over its counterparts and also establishing a brand identity that showed a blend of traditional goodness on the modern breakfast table. Several purpose-driven design elements were added to depict farm freshness and authenticity.

 

Custom illustrations with different colour palettes were added to signify and personalise each variant. For example, the breakfast bowl and the sun were used to convey the purpose of the product in a simple non-textual manner. And to highlight the raw and unprocessed nature of the product, a transparent window was created to show customers what exactly they were getting. Additionally, the tagline ‘Millets of India’ was added to highlight its authentic source.

Brand Identity by Elephant Design

Every year many exceptional design briefs are being answered with brilliant solutions by many talented designers. Some manage to reach the limelight through awards and other recognitions, but not all. And that is where the ‘DCS-01’ comes into the picture with detailed case studies highlighting the challenges, research, and the unique solutions to each obstacle faced in reaching these final design solutions. An inspiration and a collection of quality design projects created in India recently.

 

So, if you are creative freelancer, agency, studio, corporate or a design student, who needs inspiration and want to know the process of making great designs, then this is a must-have book for your collection. Order it today to reserve a copy of this limited stock book.

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The design has the power to solve any complex problem. Elephant Design using this power of design to create exceptional brands and develop amazing products for their clients. They have recently created many inspiring brand solutions and we have showcased some of them here.

The Task at Hand:Packaging and Naming Nostalgia in The Form of Authentic Curry Pastes.

The Story

Tangy Turmeric wished to create a range of products that could cater to those who, for some reason or another, we’re unable to experience the goodness of home-cooked food. In the traditional Indian context, Ghar Ka Khaana (as it’s called) is nutritious, wholesome, pure – and most importantly, delicious. But could it also be convenient?

That was how Tasty Tales was born. Their ready-to-cook curry pastes are free of preservatives, which is a double-whammy for their target audience since the new generation associates packaged food with additives and ‘synthetic’ taste.

Moreover, meticulous research has led them to craft these products in the way they were intended – straight from the grandmothers’ hidden cache of recipes, committed to nothing but a memory.

The Focus

Envisaging the right nomenclature for a brand that wants to bring traditional, authentic and regional recipes to consumers in a convenient packaged format. Creating a packaging system for the brand, enabling differentiation and helping it stand out on the shelf.

The Design

Elephant worked with Tangy Turmeric, the parent brand to find the right nomenclature. The Grandmother became a central figure in the brand’s identity. Since her recipes would be passed down from one generation to the next in the form of oral storytelling sessions, the team created the nomenclature: ‘Tasty Tales’, and it was met with immediate acceptance. The name was easy on the tongue, had a good recall, and represented everything that was nostalgically delicious.

Based on the nomenclature, Elephant also designed a packaging system for the products that had strong visual cues for aroma, taste and authenticity – playing on the ‘grandmother’ to be the originator of regionally authentic recipes that are also convenient to execute.

The package itself is a stand-up sealable package with an interesting choice of a jar shape, which Elephant helped to enhance. Like one of those porcelain jars found in the days of old, complete with cloth and string graphics, the package hints at the promise of authentic goodness within, while also being convenient for the product.

Published in Issue 49

The Design in 2020! Each year starts with many predictions, anticipations and a lot of hope for bad things to go out and good things to come in our life. The year 2020 has already started with eventful initial months and may hold more surprises in coming times. To understand what’s coming from the design perspective, we featured some of the best design projects from last year. Also discussed a few broad questions like how minimalism will affect our designs or what all an illustrator to keep in mind to be successful and much more.

 

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Is it about ‘less is more’? Is it about having a completely blank pack? Or white space around the design? What exactly is minimalism all about? It has been there for a long time but do we know the true de nition of minimalism? Will it be a benchmark for good design in 2020? We ponder over some of these questions in a discussion with Elephant Design team.

Priyanka Karyekar - Minimalism-Elephant Design

Priyanka Karyekar
Lead Designer, Elephant Design

I feel minimalism is about ‘making the most with minimalistic elements’. It is about simple and clear communication without the clutter of unnecessary elements. It also helps give a premium and evolved image for the brand.

There is a lot of visual clutter on the shelves. How can a brand create an impact in an overwhelming environment? Many brands are going minimalist in packaging to better stand out on the shelf. It gives the consumer the right information in a clear way. It creates the perception of honest communication and helps the brand build trust. Too many claims make the brand look as if it is trying too hard. This overdone way of promising may sometimes result in loss of believability.

A lot depends on who the intended audience is. Just because something is in trend doesn’t mean one has to apply it to all. We must know our consumer. The Paperboat can go minimalist and have an impact on the consumer’s mind but at the same time brands like ‘Kurkure’ where the philosophy is all about ‘Taste’, the pack needs to have a vibrancy, dynamism and abundance.

There has to be a difference in interpreting design based on the type of consumer. Evolved consumer vs. a consumer who is looking for value for money products needs to be addressed differently.

Several brands are adapting minimalism in their branding. They want their brand to reach out to the masses but want to remove unnecessary layers from their logos. There is a probability of creating strong brand recall if there are lesser but stronger elements in your brand visual identity. Visible, readable and feasible for print as well as digital are the primary benefits if the visual identity is crisp and sharp.

I believe Minimalism is a tool more than a trend! If you know where to use it, how to use with the right amount of proportions, you win!

Minimalism-Elephant Design

Nikhil Phadke
Lead Designer, Elephant Design

Minimalism is an age-old concept and has been interpreted in various ways in human history. I believe minimalism is simplicity in anything and everything.

It’s about going against the unnecessary excess & ornamentation of things. It is about being smarter and decluttering your life, buying only what you need and not what you want. Thus, reducing your carbon footprint and making your life simple and easier to navigate.

Minimalism as a design trend is a relatively newer concept. Starting in the American art history in the 60s where you saw its influence in paintings and Installation arts.

But how we interpret minimalism in functional design is much different. We can see its origins in the digital world first where Google famously used the tactile reality of ink and paper in their material design language. Thus making the whole look and feel of their UI very simplistic, flat, and very easy to use and navigate. This made their design seem more honest and grounded as compared to the bloated & flashy Samsung’s UI and the vibrant & translucent Apple’s UI.

In packaging design minimalism is also being referred to as ‘simple packaging’. Which may seem easy but anyone in design will agree that cracking anything simple is a very difficult task. In simple packaging we can let go of the bells and whistles and reach to the core task of the packaging, keeping it functional and smarter. In doing so we reduce the material costs involved like inks, substrates, filler materials and more and also automatically making the packaging environmentally sustainable.

To understand whether the minimalism trend will sustain through 2020 or not we need to talk about who the current audience is. Generation Z or Alpha is growing up with technology and information at their fingertips. They are very opinionated and individualistic with most believing in freedom and transparency in their life. Most in this generation who are well informed are environmentally conscience and cause-driven who prefer honesty in the brands they use. Thus they will essentially buy the brands that align with their thought process.

With this evolving audience and the need for brands to be environmentally conscious & smarter either through design, technology or materials, this minimalism trend will surely see a rise in the coming years. In India where everything is over the top, Indian designers will find their way of making this trend work.

We recently got an opportunity to design the airport pick-up zone experience for the leading international cab-ride brand Uber. We had to be cognisant of the Global Brand Guidelines which are very simple yet very thoughtfully done for an international market. Instead of having a logo they have a typeface with a set kerning and set leading, a specific layout structure and simple guidebook for using 2D graphics. Internationally the visual language usage is strictly minimal but we soon realised that India needs a different and perhaps a more obvious approach.

So we had to design a different system in graphics which was India specific but kept as minimal as possible. This project made us aware of how we need to navigate between global guidelines and local insights so that the travellers with short attention span have the smoothest cab-hailing & pick-up experience in the simplest possible way.

Minimalism-Elephant Design

Yugandhara Dalvi
Lead Designer, Elephant Design

In the last decade, technology has taken over our lives at a rapid pace and it has changed a multitude of things. Mobile devices are almost becoming an added organ of the body. We are changing ways of consuming information. Needless to say that the marketing bombardment on us has increased manifolds which in-turn has reduced our attention span.

While all these changes are happening fast, our behaviour & ways of doing things are evolving accordingly. This calls for a need to change the way we reach out to everyone. Thus, minimalism today is a necessary change or rather the need of the hour. With faster networks and smart devices, people can pull out the information they need instantly. Thus the biggest challenge is getting their attention and giving them smaller bits of information to consume and designs that intrigue them.

So moving to minimalism in packaging design is the way forward. Most of the clients have an elaborate story to tell through their packaging. The challenge is how to break it into smaller bits of information though infographics, images and written content and turn it into a storytelling piece. Add to it the need to use a relevant design that would break the clutter and help the brand stand-out.

To cite an example, we worked on the packaging of Fittify – a newly launched healthy + gourmet food products range by saffola. With many brands targeting either healthy or gourmet category, to position this range as a combination of both, needed a lot of information on the pack. Thus we had a plethora of messaging to be done on the front of the pack like superfoods used in it and the nutritional panel for health, whereas the image of Master Chef who curated the recipes, as well as an appetising food shot to convey the gourmet story. So we broke down this information into smaller consumable formats and used mnemonic, imagery and minimum text to create an eye-catching design.

With this being the case with most of the clients, rarely you’re surprised by a client who gives you a free-hand to explore genuine minimalism. We got that opportunity with the Paperboat – a brand of ethnic beverages and foods. Since the brand’s story was to create nostalgia with a few lost tastes and flavours, we thought it could be represented in a simplistic and minimalistic manner. So we went bold with minimalism (in 2012) and brought out the life of the flavours through bright colours and simplistic graphical representation of fruits and ingredients. And all this happened when the competing brands had set a norm of showing images of fruits. Needless to say, the design stood out in any aisle or shelf and got a tremendous response.

Thus as technology is evolving, several things are evolving with it. The future of minimalism is difficult to predict. Maybe, there will come a time when package designing will directly create cues or triggers for smart devices to narrate their story. With the IoT (Internet of things) packaging already taking shape, it’s not too far that the product packs will interact with their consumers directly through their smartphones. So while it’s difficult to predict this fast-changing future, one thing is for certain, Minimalism is the way forward.

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Published in Issue 49

The Design in 2020! Each year starts with many predictions, anticipations and a lot of hope for bad things to go out and good things to come in our life. The year 2020 has already started with eventful initial months and may hold more surprises in coming times. To understand what’s coming from the design perspective, we featured some of the best design projects from last year. Also discussed a few broad questions like how minimalism will affect our designs or what all an illustrator to keep in mind to be successful and much more.

 

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Elephant Design has completed 31 years in the design industry with being the number one many times. But celebration during the #lockdown and #workfromhome period was a challenge. And how they celebrated despite this challenge is inspiring for many.

They made an origami elephant in 28 steps and each step was choreographed in a manner that a person just shows one step and passes it to another for her/ him to fold the next one. It was shot by 67 team members with their phone cameras only.

Ashwini Deshpande co-founder of Elephant Design told us that they have always been asked ‘how you manage to work as a team?’ and this video is a perfect example of the harmony and collaboration within the team and of course with fun.

So we congratulate the whole team for the success and harmony they bring to the design industry. All the best and keep creating the great brands!

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What happens when a brand like Nirlep, that has been a pioneer in non-stick cookware since 1960, approaches you to revamp its identity after 27 years? Well, they win the first ever Designomics Award for Strategic Brand Identity Programme. They are also able to bring in 50% more revenues. Here’s how Elephant Design did it for them.

Brand Identity

Step 01

The brief was simple. Nirlep has been actively developing products for the modern lifestyle of young couples who look for convenience and style at affordable prices. The objective was to update the brand identity to reflect this new dynamism. Through a series of workshops and interactions with the leadership team at Nirlep, an idea web was articulated to outline what the brand stood for. The sessions helped in understanding and revealing the company’s strengths, product attributes, user requirements and their aspirations.

Brand Identity

Step 02

The design process began with numerous quick pencil sketches to bring ideas to life. These were then discussed internally and whetted based on contemporary appeal, differentiation against competition, building product attributes and highlighting company legacy.

Brand Identity
Brand Identity

Step 03

The shortlisted ideas were then taken forward to the next stage which involved creating digital sketches in black and white to gauge visual balance and relation with typeface. Some ideas developed further into newer interpretations while some were visually enhanced.

Brand Identity

Step 04

The concept that emerged as a winner was the one inspired by a pan-shaped form which also symbolized a leadership badge. Various explorations were tried out at this stage within the selected option. The colour red was retained to portray warmth and passion with which Nirlep products are conceived and created. The old American typewriter font was discarded for a custom designed set of letters, but the ‘all caps’ treatment was retained to reiterate the brand’s
leadership, confidence and trust.

Brand Identity
Brand Identity

Step 05

The new logo was compared to the old one. It is flexible and playful, just like their products. It signals the transformation of Nirlep from a userfriendly cookware brand to a comprehensive Kitchen solutions brand with global standards. The specially developed Logotype, Nulep, enhances the modern character of the identity. And the black badge, red wing, silver rim and logotype, come together to portray leadership, dynamism, sensitivity and stability of the company; everything the brief demanded.

Brand Identity

Step 06

Over the years, Nirlep has created several product brands that have become popular with diverse audience types. It was important that the new brand identity facilitated customization and flexibility for sub-brand extensions while retaining the presence of a strong mother brand.

 

The colorful renditions of the identity stand for innovation to delight young progressive consumers and connect with the sub-brand propositions – Aspa for partnering progress, Selec+ for lifestyle improvements and Acilis for eco-friendly materials and finishes.

Brand Identity

Step 07

Finally, logo variants were created for various printing and size limitations. These included simple gradient, flat colour, black & white and reverse versions.

Brand Identity

Step 08

An Arabic version of the identity was also created for their export business. The typeface was custom made to match its English version.

Brand Identity

Step 09

The new Nirlep identity was showcased through the brand book that detailed the brands journey to fit the lifestyle of young Indian couples.

Brand Identity

Step 10

The new brand identity was made widely visible by launching through various media both outdoor and in-shop.

Brand Identity
Brand Identity

Step 11

The old Nirlep logo was replaced by the new one on every product, completing the journey from paper to metal.

Published in Issue 19

A typography special, made up of not only Indian type designers or designers whose first love is type, but also few very talented international designers who open a totally new playground with sharing their insights and inspirations. This issue has exclusive interviews with Lucky Dubz Trifonas from Netherlands, Indian UI & type designer Sabareesh Ravi and Shiva Nallaperumal, who believes, type designers are the material providers to all the creative professionals. Also, includes a special making of Nirlep rebranding done by Elephant Design and an interaction with the ace product designer Aman Sadana.

 

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Users are aware of trends, demanding trendy products. Brands succumb to these demands to have a stronger say and a longer stay in the market. Studio Elephant Design has elaborated on this cycle explaining the need of packaging design.

Trends are a reflection of how people behave, how they live and vice versa.

 

One may believe tech-based products like smartphones & AI assistants are changing the way people live. But there is as much change happening in their lives through humble packaging design. In times of extreme actions and judgments, it is believed that design becomes prettier. This actually is happening.

 

There are certain things individuals look for before buying foods, beverages, personal & home care products nowadays:

Packaging Design

1. Tell me a Story?

Story of origin, granny’s recipe, kind of music played to cows… Is it a superfood rediscovered? Was it made the exact same way people made stuff when the world was perfect? They want to know more, not just about the ingredients or the company behind it, but also the hands that made it. They are hungrier for stories than the food they are buying.

2. Small for me Please

Because of longer commutes and increased working hours that blur into socializing, people are looking for things that will help them stretch their days outside of homes. Small portions of handbag-insertables are a rage in colour cosmetics, face masks, wipes, hand sanitizers, and other personal care products for on-the-go use. Spoilt for choice and highly aware of what they consume, people prefer single serves in snacks, meals & beverages.

3. Be Direct

Farm to Face. Grass to Glass. Park to Plate. Yes. That is how people like stuff to reach them. They want it fresh, preferably hand-made, with least processing. Demanding honesty of intent and transparency on the label about what goes in, they like small batches made with care. Lesser the machine intervention, the better it is.

4. Give me an Eye Candy

Packaging is not just for protecting the goods, it needs to give the product a flaunt value, making it Instagram-worthy. Packaging can be an object of desire itself. So the “look” of packaging is as important as what it carries inside.

5. Sustainability Counts

Over engineered packaging is a big no-no. The simple, the better. Is the plastic used easily to recycle? Reduced packaging layers, lesser staple pins, alternative chemical inks & glues, these are things that the sustainability-aware users look for

• Game Changers

Technology-based enablers are bringing some change too. The biggest change is in the way packaging can enable customization of every consumption experience. Technology & insightful design makes it possible to have small batches, personalized messaging or even controlled release of ingredients. Eg Kolibri (Japan) beverage bottle allows consumers to control the amount of sugar they want in their drink.

Recent advancements in automated packaging lines are not only more efficient, but also adaptive & flexible. They enable personalized packaging with individual names like the Coke cans & bottles from “Share a Coke” campaign.

Packaging Design

• Studio Sampler

Elephant helped develop a brand of Indian ethnic drinks that was based on nostalgia, aptly named “Paper boat”, taking one back to the good old days of childhood when life was simple and full of optimism.

 

Doy packs seemed a more sustainable choice against bottles, cans or cartons. The shape was designed to feel like squeezing a fruit and easy to open cap was inspired by paper boat itself. Graphics were simple and represented an uncomplicated, delightful world.

Packaging Design

The incredible part was that the brand refrained from using mass media for a couple of years. ON-the-shelf packaging did all the talking. And in less than five years, the brand made it to the top position in single-serve beverages, won many awards and also made it to the list of buzziest, most promising brands from India.

 

This is an interesting example because it aligned with all the five reasons for engaging with a brand and was created well in time to be able to ride the wave successfully.

 

For designers & consumers who don’t like to be cookie cutters, personalization and customization possibilities are like a boon. The only limitation would be ideas, which one is hopefully never short of.

Issue 45

Published in Issue 45

When celebrations are all around for the new year, everyone is curious about what this new year will bring. So, the rounds of looking back to the past year and trying to predict the new one starts. We started the same exploration through this issue by reaching various experts for their take on the trends for their respective fields. So, go ahead.

 

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Creative Gaga - Issue 51

 

Rebranding a well-established company, giving it new additional values and sustaining it of its exceptional worth in the eyes of its customers is not an easy task! Elephant Design has successfully achieved this in its encounter with Easyday of the Future Group.

Rebranding

Brief

The Future Group has had the exceptional ability to understand Indian shoppers, anticipate their needs and deliver good in-store experiences across all its retail chains including Easyday, Nilgiris and heritage stores.

 

Easyday is a re-imagined neighborhood food and grocery store that is driven by local communities and serves a modern, personalized Indian shopping experience to its members. For the local community of loyal members, it is the Naye Andaaz Wali, Apne Pados Ki Dukaan.

 

The Future Group was looking for an ability to build a strong unified brand expression and its fluid translation into retail experience. The ask included everything from building an evocative brand identity to visual story-telling, from presenting products in aspirational ways to translating shopper insights into store services and layouts.

Rebranding

Easyday now wanted to be unique and different by turning into an exclusive members-only benefits club, “Easyday Club”, offering a hyper local community shopping experience to its customers. Providing everything from home care, personal care and food to services like delivery, launch invites, etc, it wishes to be a one-stop-shop to meet all needs. It also has another format called ‘Easyday Fresh”, offering many more choices in fresh foods, dairy, fruit & vegetables.

 

The Future group partnered with Elephant Design to have their brand identity revamped and re-designed, along with the retail layout and principles.

Rebranding

Solution

Easyday is defined as a brand that is reliable, respectable and honest, powered by trust, passion and innovation and with integrity at its core.

 

Easyday is the Retail 3.0 experience where physical store experience is delivered with uniform digital layer that helps shoppers retain their own identity and also gives them access to exclusive offers in every category.

 

The process started out by pivoting the brand on fresh and a never-before shopping experience of everyday groceries meant exclusively for members.

Rebranding

Fresh Brand

Fresh & deep greens were the choice of colors to represent the refreshing experience people could expect from the brand.

 

The logo incorporated the EasyDay name and had to be associated with savings to indicate a friendly neighborhood store and showcase endless goods & benefits for members. The use of a wallet as a logo seemed to have been apt with lower case letters showing approachability and the ribbon-like texture giving it a contemporary look.

Monochromatic and blended with a chalkboard treatment, a library of icons in one style, covering different categories of products was developed defining the visual identity of the brand used extensively, especially in the EasyDay Fresh stores.

 

All of the visual communication was built around the idea of community and helping farmers by buying locally sourced fresh produce. Freshness was a big part of the brand and was incorporated on the storefronts as well, lending a refreshing look to the stores.

Rebranding

Hyperlocal

In the spirit of building local connect, the logo has been carefully developed in several regional scripts without diluting the style & spirit. This shows the brand’s sincerity towards understanding and communicating in the same language as its members and adds to the approachability at every level.

First Impressions

With front doors acting as the first impression creators for any retail outlet, Elephant design aims at making use of this element to not only impress the existing members but also invite prospective members. The façade glazing leaves some room for imagination through friendly and conversational messages that tell about the benefits of being members and invites the visitors to check it out for themselves by stepping inside.

Rebranding

Store layout and design

At Easyday stores, bright lights, clean aisles, conversational signage, new launches corner and a promise of best deals in every category—all of this is a carefully planned experience around shopper needs & desires.

 

To ensure a consistent experience from store to store, no matter the location, there are certain common principles built within the store experience.

 

Internal pillars, walls, beams and product displays are accented in Easyday greens for a brand-centric look & feel which extends to shopping carts and baskets as well.

Rebranding

The aisle signages are in a Dinoc raw wood finish to offer a hint of rustic and a subtle affinity with ‘farm-fresh’ crate packaging.

 

In-store signage is treated as a means of conversing with the customer and is clear, compelling, friendly & on-brand. A community bulletin board is placed near the entrance-exit to encourage Easyday Club members to promote their services & share information on local events, for a more involved Community connect.

Rebranding

Grocery plus

The beauty of Easyday Club is that members can pick up the freshest gourmet salad dressing and eyeliner at the same time or even have it delivered by sending a simple Whatsapp message!

 

In time, Easyday Club will add other conveniences like delivery & pick-up of online purchases from e-commerce players or maybe a laundry service or utility bill payments depending upon what the members find valuable.

Rebranding

Tone of voice

Without great service, a well-designed store means nothing.

 

While training plays a major role in delivering consistent service, communication through wall graphics, signage, uniforms and carry bags help maintain a consistent & friendly tone of voice throughout the store.

 

So don’t be surprised to read a sign that says “Take care of yourself” guiding one to the personal care section or shopping assistant’s jacket that says “Looking for something?”

Rebranding

Conclusion

Offers and product-mix may change across locations depending upon specific local preferences, but Easyday’s thoughtful presentation and commitment to elevating the shopping experience would remain the same across every store, the idea being that members can shop with confidence knowing they will find great value they’ve come to expect from Future Group.

 

Within a year of the first Easyday Club store’s setup in late 2017, there are already more than 30 stores in running!


 

Client:Future Group | Easyday Club
Design Studio:Elephant Design
Solution/Expertise: Branding Strategy, Communication Design, Retail

 


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Creative Gaga - Issue 51

 

Polishing century-old successful brand values to be in possession of a fresh and refined visual identity for ones’ clients and competitors is a must-do these days. “The Ruby Mills Ltd” aka “Ruby”, rebranded in collaboration with Elephant Design, is a perfect example to follow.

Challenge

Ruby Mills has incorporated a century ago in the year of 1917 as a composite textile mill and still continues to grow its operations in manufacturing of cotton and blended fabrics.

 

With a track record of innovation and progressive business practices, Ruby Mills wanted to enter the next century with a clear brand positioning, well-defined values and a refreshed visual identity.

Solution

Ruby Mills teamed with Elephant, one of India’s leading brand strategy and design firms to showcase its transformation with a new brand identity system.

 

Rebranding a legacy that has been a significant part of India’s journey from fighting for #Swadeshi to proudly #MakeInIndia for over a century was a huge responsibility. Elephant was tasked with realigning the brand for today’s progressive aspirations while keeping the heritage & dignity intact.

Elephant wanted to develop the existing visual equity of Ruby in a contemporary manner, keeping its visual language flexible enough for online & offline media and product representation.

 

Inputs from stakeholders, top management and business associates led the Elephant team to reiterate & articulate values for the company. Inspiration was drawn from the brand’s core values of innovation, sustainability, ethical & responsible manufacturing and excellence in quality to build an ownable palette of icons for various communication needs.

Each icon was created with the same visual grammar and treatment as the logo symbol created for the brand. This was done in order to convey innovation and expertise of the brand and make it easier to adapt sub-brands and other business verticals.

 

The brand name connoted preciousness and worked as a solid foundation to work with. Using the structure of a Ruby, a dynamic and vibrant logo rooted in the brand’s tradition, fused with a contemporary flair was designed.

The red heart in the logo denotes passion, one of the brand’s core principles. An accent colour was added to show the brand’s evolving and multifaceted nature.

 

The new brandmark consists only the name ‘Ruby’, doing away with the entire company name “The Ruby Mills Ltd” in the previous visual identity. The new typeface for the logo was made in uppercase, with an amalgamation of smooth and sharp edges.

Result

The variation of colours in the logo opened up a colour palette for designing the visual language. A library of graphics and visuals was created, entirely customizable with the brand’s requirements. This made Ruby adaptable and gave them the flexibility to foray into newer areas and ventures in the future.

The new logo and visual language were launched in a trade show, where it received a phenomenal response from existing trade associates as well as potential ones. The new identity was found completely aligned to the Ruby legacy and its progressive future. The Ruby team is in the process of implementing the newly designed language throughout their portfolio and intends to complete it in 2018.

Client: Ruby Miils
Design Studio: Elephant Design
Solution: Rebranding, Visual-Identity Design