CASE STUDY SI­LAS AMOS, RED RED

HOW A TOUCH OF THE SUR­REAL GAVE FLAVOUR TO THIS STEW-POT BRAND

Computer Arts - - Illustration In Branding -

With­out the bud­get for a con­ven­tional ad cam­paign, African-in­spired stew­pot Red Red’s ap­proach was to cre­ate a ‘design cam­paign’ or­ches­trated by cre­ative strate­gist and de­signer Si­las Amos and based around the idea of ‘a lunch less or­di­nary’. Nige­rian artist Den­nis Osadebe was brought in for the punchy il­lus­tra­tions used across var­i­ous brand touch­points, cre­at­ing slightly sur­real char­ac­ters that mix hu­mour, nu­ance and sub­tle use of African pat­terns. Par­ent brand Unilever was look­ing for a key vis­ual, an image that com­mu­ni­cated the brand’s essence while also show­cas­ing the prod­uct. “We gave Den­nis the brief to do his work in the mildly sur­real way he does, but then we let him loose,” says Amos. “He came back with an as­tro­naut lady, a Cae­sar char­ac­ter…” Osadebe adds: “We knew ex­actly what the brand rep­re­sented: it was then a case of find­ing how to best bring it to life, vis­ually. This in­spired me to work with the feel­ing that the brand gave me – a mix­ture of fun, vi­brancy, in­no­va­tion, time­less­ness and most im­por­tantly di­ver­sity, in the sense of merg­ing of dif­fer­ent cul­tures to­gether.”

ma­te­ri­als, it be­comes part of the brand’s hand­writ­ing.”

CHOOS­ING THE RIGHT COL­LAB­O­RA­TORS

A few years back, the typ­i­cal way for an agency to find the right il­lus­tra­tor for a project would have been through sub­mit­ted phys­i­cal port­fo­lios or us­ing agen­cies and or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the AOI. Nowa­days, it’s more a mix of good old-fash­ioned ‘who you know’ and trawl­ing through on­line port­fo­lios and so­cial me­dia, most no­tably In­sta­gram, and for To­gether Design, some­times Pin­ter­est too.

For Burns, find­ing the best il­lus­tra­tor for the project is “more gut in­stinct than any­thing else,” and he warns against the temp­ta­tion to sim­ply hire the per­son who’s avail­able at the right time, at the right price – es­pe­cially when up against tighter dead­lines and smaller prod­uct bud­gets.

For Amos, the process of hir­ing an il­lus­tra­tor to work on a brand is sim­i­larly in­stinc­tual. “There’s no hard and fast rule or set process [for com­mis­sion­ing], but as a de­signer, I think in pic­tures, so I’ve al­ready got some­thing in my head and

“THE ARTIST WILL AL­WAYS BRING THEIR OWN TAKE ON SOME­THING AND THAT BRINGS A WHOLE NEW AN­GLE” SI­LAS AMOS, CRE­ATIVE STRATE­GIST AND DE­SIGNER

I’m look­ing to trans­late that into a pic­ture. Some­times you see a per­son’s work and think ‘their style would be great’, and that in­forms the an­swer; but some­times you have the an­swer and you’re look­ing for the style.”

Of course, as Burns hints, you can’t al­ways get what you want when it comes to your dream com­mis­sion. You have to take into ac­count bud­get, avail­abil­ity, and the opin­ions of any other stake­hold­ers who might have a say in the fi­nal look and feel.

But what makes a per­son great to work with, should they fit all of those more prag­matic cri­te­ria? For Amos, the best sort of re­la­tion­ship is “a lit­tle bit of a ping-pong match,” and Lightfoot agrees that it’s vi­tal to find some­one will­ing to col­lab­o­rate, and work through po­ten­tially nu­mer­ous it­er­a­tions with the de­sign­ers.

“No mat­ter how per­fect the brief is, when you see the first rough there will al­ways be ways to im­prove, or per­haps the em­pha­sis on dif­fer­ent el­e­ments has changed,” she says. “It’s nice to be able to have a con­ver­sa­tion about that rather than one stage and one stage only, though that’s very rare as il­lus­tra­tors are usu­ally very open to ideas from both sides. The artist

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