August 25, 2020

Jenny McMillan – Design has to sell, or else.

/ news

Over the years, we’ve picked up more than our fair share of awards at Brother Design. But winning them means nothing unless the design achieves what it was meant to do: succeed in the marketplace.

It’s a binding philosophy and approach we all share at Brother, and something we’ve consistently delivered on for a wide range of clients. That’s almost certainly why some of those clients have been with us for year upon year, some more than a decade.

It’s very easy to be drawn into admiring a style of design and wanting to emulate. Or to be driven by noble aims of originality and design purity. So ensuring the commercial imperatives of a design project are met requires discipline.

Winning sales by design
At Brother we achieve this through a structured process that puts the interaction between the customer and the design at the heart of everything we do. This involves building up a detailed picture of the environment where the design does its work, as well as divining crucial customer insights.

Does this result in formulaic, ‘safe’ design? Quite the opposite. As it turns out, bold and inventive design nearly always beats the predictable. The key is understanding which creative direction will work.

A systemised approach doesn’t stifle the designers’ creativity, it feeds it. Inspiration can come from anywhere, so we cast the net wide. But, ultimately, a deep understanding of the interaction between the design and the customer at the point of purchase guides everything.

Beyond the ordinary
A rigorous design process doesn’t just lead to more effective and creative design. It also helps to get great work adopted. Being able to explain how and why a design is right reassures stakeholders, ultimately allowing more freedom.

Sometimes the results will be quite unexpected, even challenging. But having the backing of in-depth knowledge means what could be seen as ‘risky’ becomes the only rational choice. It can also ensure that trickier-to-execute designs get the go-ahead in the knowledge that the return will be very much worth the investment.

One example is the work we undertook for Farrah’s wraps. Combining exquisite food styling and photography with a see-through window took a real team effort, including the packaging printers. Driven by insights about the drivers of trust and consumers’ search for inspiration, the packaging didn’t just wow award judges. Farrah’s sales saw an immediate increase, achieving the highest loyalty and repeat purchase scores in the category.

Success becomes a habit
Our approach to design has been built through experience, in an iterative process. Every project is a chance to learn and to hone how we do things. Success, as they say, breeds success. Which is why we continue to roll out winning designs for long-term clients like Foodstuffs’ Pams, Dairyworks and Trade Aid.

By Jenny McMillan, Brother Design
Article originally published in Supermarket News July 2020 edition.