This phase of the design process is sometimes ambiguous, and can easily be ignored by startups and entrepreneurs. If there are ideas that they get married to in the early stages of conception, it can become a struggle to try to undo or refine those pre-conceptions. By researching the competitors you can define where they are successful, and where they are faltering. By taking note of these successes and failures, they are essentially already providing a certain type of market research for you. Then you use that research to stand apart.
For larger companies this research stage is mostly compiled of stats, graphs, charts, price comparisons, and creative briefs. This means that these briefs will guide us through the whole creative process. We take the information from this research and devise a plan for execution that fits their data. Our responsibility becomes taking that information from one side of the brain, to the other side of the brain.
And now comes the fun!
We play with all the components of a layout. We describe benefits, explore special features, refine hierarchy, mockup special substrates, textures and die cuts. We research photography, seals, bugs and illustrations that will communicate the look and feel that we are trying to target, all while abiding to legal mandatories.
After all avenues have been explored, hierarchies, communication and structures have been defined, it is now time to execute. Wether they’re boxes, bags, cards, banners posters, presentations, collateral, labels, bottles, shrink sleeves or in-mold, they all require a special form of expertise.
When agencies build relationships with vendors its easy to pickup a phone and ask the pros what is possible, and what is impossible. Theres no lack of creativity but sometimes a vendor will look at you sideways if theres something that is pushing the boundaries. We can push further when possible, and rein in when needed.
If these designs are going to be rolled out for other agencies to produce, style guides become essential for keeping your brand consistent. After determining all the print forms and structures we can develop a detailed road map for all forms to be executed correctly. All typography, colors, layouts, templates and formats will be mapped out for all designers to follow.