Working on a Beverage Packaging Design

This is an excerpt transcription from an interview podcast episode I recorded with my guest Sinan Imre. We discussed about working on a beverage packaging design.

Table of Contents:

  1. Basics of branding for the Beverage Industry
  2. Discovering the brand
  3. Approaching a new project
  4. Determining the strategy
  5. Designing the brand identity concepts
  6. Reviewing and refining the concepts

1. Basics of branding for the Beverage Industry

Arek Dvornechuck:
Can you give us some basics of branding for beverage industry?

Sinan Imre:
Sure. Yeah, I think the food and beverage industries particularly interesting to design for because I mean essentially you’re designing for people’s basic human like innate needs right? Like everybody’s got to eat. Everybody’s got to drink, you know and stay hydrated and all of that and I mean I would argue that like if you walk down the street and you kind of just look around at like advertising and a lot of like promotional stuff. Food and bev really tends to be very much in your face.

I would argue a lot of or least the majority of advertising you see, you know, I’m like maybe your daily watching the subway to your office is going to be food and beverage. So you’re really appealing to someone’s human innate need to, you know, for sustenance and for hydration.


2. Discovering the brand

Arek Dvornechuck:
How do you do the process of how to discover the brand and define the brand with the client? Do you run a workshop? How is it done?

Sinan Imre:
Yeah, so I actually been lucky enough to work directly with either founders or people who were like heavily involved in the sort of birth in the founding of the brand. And so, you know, I would say it’s difficult to invent something completely new in the food and beverage industry like, you know, there’s probably a juice for every fruit out there. There’s probably every combination of taste and stuff like that.

So the real difference does come down to that brand story. And I, you know, you want to start a project assuming that everybody’s brand story is different.


3. Approaching a new project

Arek Dvornechuck:
How do you approach a new project?

Sinan Imre:
First I would ask why? Like why, why do you need this packaging design? Why did you create this product? There’s a lot of why’s actually in that conversation and then and then you start to find out about how they do it, that way you’re now getting a few key words to start building the brand. It’s like, okay so lemonade this was this person’s childhood passion. So it’s got this connection to the past. It’s got this personal connection for their own past.

And then they’re also passionate about you know, fair trade, organic and healthy foods so really It’s just basically that conversation starts with something that will allow them to start talk. And I find that the question why, why this particular project at this particular time? I think that’s a good opener to just kind of get people to start, you know, spilling the beans on their whole story.


4. Determining the strategy

Arek Dvornechuck:
What is the next step do you create customer profiles? What would be the next step after that?

Sinan Imre:
I think so. I think that user based approach is a great place to move on to. And definitely analyzing who your prospective users are, your customers are. And looking at competitors and honestly with food and beverage that’s kind of the easier part because you know, for example in a B2B project you might have to do some digging to really find true competitors to the person you’re working with or to the brand with food and bev. I mean ideal, you can just go down to your corner bodega or you know, whole foods and just really look at all of the all of the beverage packaging that’s right in front of you and everybody’s trying to solve the same problem.


5. Designing the brand identity concepts

Arek Dvornechuck:
How many concepts do you usually present to the client? And in what form do you present those concepts? Can you walk us through like give us an example of how is it done?

Sinan Imre:
Yeah. One thing about, one thing again that’s unique to this industry is, you know, yeah, you’re designing for a physical object. And so it has like a physicality to it and there’s a shape to the bottle like designing for a round bottle versus a square base bottle is different because one has flat faces the other doesn’t you know, like, how it’s going to sit on the shelf?

Are they, do they generally put them standing up?

Or do they stack them on their side so you see the bottle cap?

There’s a lot of things and also it’s something that I mean, really, throughout the entire time that it is being used by the customer is being held in someone’s hand.


6. Reviewing and refining the concepts

Arek Dvornechuck:
Do you just revise those concepts with the client? Or is it usually that you know, you just let the client select one of those concepts? How is it, can you just like give us some idea of the process?

Sinan Imre:
Totally.
So The first time the client sees original work, those options, I try to make them different concepts not like different versions of the same idea but like a totally different idea altogether altogether.

If we go with the lemonade example again, I would say, you know one concept is like, this is really about how this whole brand stems from your childhood and it’s like a very pleasant memory for you.

And in the second, that might be this is is about how you know you, for you is very important that this comes from small and local farms and it’s fair trade. So then, that kind of allows or actually forces the client to really pick one of those directions.

These are really like overall general directions.


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