In Photos: Outstanding By Design
Oustanding By Design was the latest Biabeag event to be held in Kilkenny, taking place at Highbank Orchards this Saturday gone. The aim of the day was to bring together food producers and the designers who have helped make their brands come to life.
Up first was Paddy O’Connell of Paddy O’s Granola alongside Sarah Maguire from Brand Union who took care of the recent rebranding work for Paddy O’s. It’s always refreshing to hear someone like Paddy, with the fire and passion for their product, pretty much spill the beans on how things came together for him, including the reasons why he went with a brand development, what he wants to achieve (and continue achieving) with the brand and most importantly for some, how much it all costs. This is also the first video from the session that will be available online on Monday.
Next up was Ugandan-based Katu Honey who work with Navigate by Design’s Laura Maculey and Value-Added in Africa, a not-for-profit based in Dublin and which works with charities in Uganda. The design process here involves a lot of to-and-fro work with projects taking anywhere from 3 months to 18 months, depending on timelines and budgets, or order to go through a full rebranding process.
Paul from Trouble Brewing provided a great insight into the growth of the Trouble Brewing brand (the brewery now based in Kill, Co. Kildare), alongside designer Eric of The Green Man Studio who is responsible for the 50’s comic-style artwork that has become synonymous with Trouble Brewing in recent years. Now in their fourth year of business they continue to achieve an increase in sales of 50% year on year.
The last of the morning sessions went to Mella Fudge with freelance designer Liz Maybury talking the room through her steps as a designer and the hand-crafted lengths that some designers will go to in order to make sure the labelling that wraps a finished product will look exactly as it should (hand painting gold lettering onto labels on top of print samples gets a good thumbs up here).
Lunch, with some people eating in the swimming pool at Highbank, was a vertiable feast of vegetarian and vegan goodness under the hand of Helen Costelloe, whose popup vegetarian nights have been going down a storm locally. With salads that had been picked only an hour before lunch, a whole world of bread, cheese, hot food and a fridge full of desserts to match, there wasn’t going to be anyone left going hungry over the 90 minutes allocated for lunch.
While you (or at least I did anyway) could work your way through lunch in thirty minutes, washing it down with some Highbank Driver’s Cider, the bulk of lunch was given over to 1:1 sessions between designers and those looking to make a move on branding and design work, or producers who felt their work may have needed a lift. Open and honest feedback with some tips and tricks brought things up to the afternoon session.
First off in the second half of the day in the Green Stage Room was illustrator Steve Simpson. I’m a huge fan of Mic’s Chilli, and while Mic couldn’t be there himself, Steve took us through the entire process for the branding design of Mic’s Chilli, including some future products, from concept right through to the finished article. A well celebrated illustrator, Steve’s work is insanely distinctive and the ‘day of the dead’ approach to Mic’s Chilli shows a really strong marriage between brand and product.
Skoff Pies landed on the market late 2013 and have picked up some very favourable reviews over the first few months of this year. The Skehan family are behind the product, the packaging carrying Donal Skehan’s name and Liz Skehan was on hand along side Rachel Kerr of Creative Inc in Dublin to go through the ins and outs of bringing the pies to life on shop shelves.
One of the recurring outcomes of all the talks over the course of the day was that the relationship between producer and designer should be a healthy one, the healthier the better. In the case of Gubbeen, their working relationship with Lorezno Tonti is years in the making with Lorenzo coming on board to further the Eric Gill logo mark for Gubbeen and develop out their entire brand range all the way back in 2002. While they might not see each other from one end of the year to the next, they do keep everything flowing by email, but when your relationship is that strong and your designer ‘gets’ your brand, facetime does become less important.
Finally, the man who has literally written the book on packaging design – Giles Calver – closed out the day with a look at whit is food packaging design, exploring a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colours, blends, trends, what works, what doesn’t, notions and ideas about packaging design.
Overall, a fantastic day, one I’m sure that will light a fire in producers that are looking at a rebrand or wondering how to get their head around the visual design of their product. Working as a web and graphic designer myself, I see this on a regular basis, so coming to the day as a designer without a food product, it was great to see how others in a similar position to myself get along on projects, with clients, build relationships and go through the design process.
I’m working up a series of videos and audio podcasts from the day that will provide a listen and look back to some segments of Oustanding By Design. Next up for Biabeag is the Meet The Brewers event on Saturday 7 June at 6pm in the same venue. Featuring White Gypsy, 8 Degrees and Metalman (one of my favourites), you can pick up €5 tickets here.