Often I am asked “When should we get you guys [agency] involved?” And I always respond, “As soon as you can!” Far too many times an agency is brought into a design project too late. For example, the packaging structure has already been developed and assets are identified to create the packaging. This leaves the agency to design within the structure (rather than designing a structure that supports the brand) and eliminates the ability to affect the final packaging design.
Take the fruit juice package designs by Naoto Fukasawa, specifically the banana container. He was able to design the graphics along with the structure to bring to market a design solution that could not be more obvious as to what the consumer was buying.
Check out the DIESEL cologne bottle. Wow! The fist shape of the bottle fit perfectly with the name of the brand. The urban dictionary definition of diesel: “Awesome or strong, as in physical power. Also – great, cool, or sexy.”
Then, there’s GLOJI. Ahhhh. The design agency would have been challenged to develop a compelling design solution if they were stuck with the typical bottle shape. The reveal of a light bulb as you pour out the product is brilliant! Not to mention the play off the name of the goji berry.
There are many, many great examples of where design encompasses structure and brand equities to deliver a meaningful brand experience for the consumer.
So, when a client asks, “when should we get you guys involved?”, I always say “yesterday.”