Computer Arts - - Illustration In Branding -

The Toronto stu­dio of cre­ative agency Sid Lee was briefed to cre­ate new pack­ag­ing de­signs for Blue Goose, a range of meat and fish that prides it­self on be­ing ‘clean pro­tein’ – the brand’s em­pha­sis is on trans­parency and trac­ing the prod­uct back to its farm­ing ori­gin. Agency ex­ec­u­tive cre­ative di­rec­tor and part­ner Tom Koukodi­mos says that go­ing down the il­lus­tra­tion route and com­mis­sion­ing Ben Kwok was per­fect, as it al­lowed the agency to cap­ture a com­plex story in its sim­plest form and “do it in a way that’s unique and own­able, and vis­ually dis­tinct”.

The so­lu­tion sets the brand apart from com­peti­tors, which of­ten lean towards sim­ple images show­ing po­ten­tially generic images of farms. “The il­lus­tra­tion was meant to feel ar­ti­sanal, but with­out lean­ing into ar­ti­sanal vis­ual short­hands,” says Koukodi­mos. “It needed to be new and imag­i­na­tive, and a lit­tle in­ven­tive. The style has a craft feel to it, but with­out get­ting into those dated cliches of craft.”

will al­ways bring their own take on some­thing and that brings a whole new an­gle. It’s all about col­lab­o­ra­tion, not just telling peo­ple what to do.” The key to that sort of work­ing re­la­tion­ship is both clar­ity and flex­i­bil­ity: set­ting out a clear brief, but be­ing will­ing and open to lis­ten to new ideas and see­ing an il­lus­tra­tor not as a gun for hire, but a cru­cial cog in the big­ger cre­ative ma­chine.


Of course, as with any other design com­mu­ni­ca­tion tool – be it copy, ty­pog­ra­phy, pho­tog­ra­phy, pat­tern or colour – de­sign­ers work­ing with global brands have to do some care­ful re­search into any un­ex­pected sig­ni­fiers that might say some­thing they don’t want to say in other coun­tries.

When Design Bridge worked with Ti­morous Beast­ies on a set of highly il­lus­tra­tive pack­ag­ing for Fort­num & Ma­sons, for in­stance, the team soon dis­cov­ered that moths are seen as un­lucky for cer­tain cul­tures; and had to take care with the shape and coloura­tion of the but­ter­flies that ap­peared in the work.

As we’ve seen, il­lus­tra­tion and craft beer are su­perbly com­fort­able bed­fel­lows, and many food brands, too, use il­lus­tra­tive im­agery to con­vey their mes­sage and cre­ate on-pack de­tails. So are there any sec­tors where il­lus­tra­tion wouldn’t work?

Ac­cord­ing to Lightfoot, not re­ally. “There might be sec­tors or client types you wouldn’t think could use it, but il­lus­tra­tion can dis­rupt in an ex­cit­ing man­ner,” she says. “Even with a prod­uct where pho­tog­ra­phy might be king – maybe with some­thing like a tech brand – there’s al­ways a way that il­lus­tra­tion can play a part in the mar­ket­ing, and I’m ex­cited about brands that use it as part of their core mes­sag­ing.”

Tem­ple­man agrees: “An il­lus­tra­tion route goes straight to the point in con­vey­ing a brand’s mes­sage. It has so much stretch and there’s such a huge spec­trum of dif­fer­ent styles – from more lin­ear, stripped-back work to in­fo­graph­ics to beau­ti­ful art­works – that I can’t think of a brand that il­lus­tra­tion would never be right for.”

Design Bridge worked with Ti­morous Beast­ies to cre­ate pack­ag­ing for Fort­num & Ma­son.

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