Creative Director of the company’s Melbourne office, Tim Moore, believes input from the company’s international offices combined with the expertise of the Australian design and account service teams, gives Blue Marlin the edge over its competitors.

“We cater for a vast range of needs, sometimes a brief from a client is quite specific but other times it can be very general, simply an instruction to improve the look of the packaging.

“With each project, before we even start design work, we call our UK office and get our people to research supermarkets in the UK and the US.” We can draw inspiration from parallel or seemingly unrelated markets in our efforts to create new solutions to old problems.

“From the information we gather we can then do an analysis of a particular product category and we can cross reference into other categories as well, perhaps in terms of what they are doing with structural design or graphics.”

Moore says a global project enables work to continue around the clock with a joint effort enabling drawings and sketches to be emailed backwards and forwards across the globe.

“We can work simultaneously in the UK and Australia. It’s great to have two different perspectives from two unique markets.” Australia’s Melbourne and Sydney offices service Australia and SE Asia as well as supporting the UK.

Moore believes the success and growth of the business is due to clients appreciating the importance of brand packaging and what specialist brand design companies like Blue Marlin can offer them.

After the client gives the initial brief, Blue Marlin will respond with a presentation reflecting the client’s instructions.

“We have a working meeting with the client and our presentation will show wide exploration, in a fairly loose and expressive format. You can come at a brand from so many different directions, it is not mathematical science, it’s quite an artistic process so even if there is a firm strategy in mind, you can still be creative in a number of different ways.

“We like to explore – from something quite evolutionary and tight to something radical, beyond the client’s expectations. Often, by going to the extremes, it opens up a fresh new perspective on the brand, allowing us to push the project further than we initially thought possible.”

Blue Marlin recognises the importance of involving clients in the creative process, helping both parties define the brief and the desired outcomes.

“It’s about concepts, ideas and challenging the brief and working as a team. Clients really feel part of this process and often it can help to save a lot of time, and prevent a brief being misinterpreted,” Moore said.

“We believe in using our drawing skills to communicate our ideas. If you can’t draw it, it probably isn’t a good idea.”

Moore says these ‘working meetings’ with clients create partnerships and help break down some of the barriers between the creative genius and strategic marketeers, “they overlap so everyone can participate in the creative process.”

When structural design is required we like to use foam models to help the client actually feel the form of the product. One millimetre on a cylindrical container becomes a significant amount whereas in two dimensions on paper it can seem negligible.

“We work with ideas that bring a brand to life, we realise that if you don’t actually engage the consumer first, people can walk past it, regardless of how clever the communication has been.

“It’s a matter of finding the key emotional benefit that consumers will pick up on to make them more likely to purchase a product.”

“The Pedigree® Puppy brand is a great example of this.

“The original puppy image didn’t engage consumers powerfully. We played around with different puppy images until we felt we’d really captured the connection between the puppy, the Pedigree® equity of the yellow, and the brand-mark. All these elements work really well to encapsulate the brand values-important for long-term Pedigree® loyalty.

“We were very happy with the results. People now really engage with the brand. It puts a smile on their face.”

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At the Biennial of Industrial Design (BIO) held late last year, the focus was on awarding design projects that proposed creative and innovative solutions to the problems of life today; that were oriented toward sustainable development and social responsibility; and that addressed the special needs of various groups of users.

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An understanding designer

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Dr Kees Dorst is a Dutch designer, philosopher, design consultant and teacher. He is currently Professor of Design at the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology Sydney.

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