Today’s dynamic marketplace, social media connectivity and ever increasing competition is driving companies to distinguish themselves more clearly and more visually to capture and engage consumers both on and off-line. With packaging as the living embodiment of the brand’s personality and values, it’s critical it mirrors the consumer’s perception of the brand and delivers its promise. Not only does the packaging need to communicate the basic consumer needs it also has to feed their lifestyle aspirations. Understanding the various and diverse roles of packaging is in itself the catalyst for the development of new ideas for Depot Creative. The studio leverages design as an effective business tool, using its subliminal impact to deliver its clients influential packaging solutions.
Harnessing a Focused Skill Set
Depot Creative is an independent, Sydney based, packaging design studio. Its specialized team uses their wealth of experience and industry knowledge to deliver cut through solutions and tell unique brand stories. Depot has been working with some top brands that resonate with them as consumers in the categories of gourmet food, beverage, alcohol, skincare, fragrance, confectionery, and health and lifestyle products. Equipped with a dynamic team of free-range thinkers, problem solvers, craftsmen and perfectionists, Depot has made a mark in the markets. As designers, they are part innovator, part psychologist and part marketeer. Depot believes that the most valuable packaging designer is the one, who is able to create solutions based on understanding the subtle alchemy of these disciplines. With the diverse range of projects that come through the studio, it hand-picks teams tailored to meet specific project needs. With that, they collaborate with the best talent around, whether it is structural engineers, 3D rendering artists, or even glassblowers. This diversity keeps the studio ‘crisper’ fresh and enables it to deliver results driven solutions for its clients.
At the Helm
Meet Angela Spindler, the Principal Founder and Creative Director of Depot Creative. She has 35 years design business experience and has notched up over 50,000 hours of design across four countries. She has squeezed in a Master’s Degree in Design, guest lectured at design school’s both in Australia and Europe and is currently a member of the International Jury for A’Design Awards, Italy. She regularly contributes to publications such as Dieline, Packaging World, PKN Australia, and has had her work published in a number of prominent design books. She likes to have her work put to the test and measured by leading design experts from around the world. She has scooped a number of industry awards including, Pentaward, Dieline Award, German Design Award and A’Design Awards. Angela states, “With awards, I think it is important to say that we enter them to have our work assessed by design experts in the field. The awards aren’t just ‘nice to have’ but acknowledge the best in design thinking and implementation and demonstrate the value of well-developed brand packaging.”
Angela believes it is always good to be pitched against the best in the industry to ensure that the studio’s thinking and execution is delivering value not only for clients but also peers. It’s important to contribute to good design as well as be able to use it as an effective business tool.
When asked what has shaped or influenced Depot, Angela believes there have been many experiences throughout her career that have helped forge the studio’s direction. For example, having worked in several different continents, being exposed to different cultures, and having worked in languages other than her own have taught her the critical value of ‘visual language’. How to take visual assets and turn them into visual equities. How to target, reach and engage with immediacy and clarity. “Design is everywhere and we make decisions and choices through visual communication.”
Thriving with the Competition
Depot is aware of competition and believes that the new players will always come on board, equally some will drop off. The studio does not profess to be all things to all people. It has a select set of skills which it applies to a niche group of categories. It is not afraid to challenge and as Angela states “We thrive on challenges.” She goes on to say “When it comes to brands, we believe there are two choices; risk the unusual or settle for the ordinary.” The studio selectively seeks to connect with those who share its philosophy that the biggest risk is no risk at all. This is particularly pertinent today, with increased competition and brands all vying for consumers’ attention. In addition, Angela believes that as an independent studio, Depot is not tied to a single process or method of working. Its infrastructure is such that it is able to be flexible and nimble, adapting to change quickly, with the added advantage of a wealth of experience. Moreover, this experience allows the company to walk start-up businesses through the process of bringing a product to market or to working with multinationals that have their own unique sets of criteria, whether it is working with the R&D team or liaising with their offshore printer, for example.
When it comes to design Depot is always looking for solutions that have reason and meaning. It doesn’t use creativity just to make something look pretty. Firstly, there is a need that requires satisfying and with that it applies rigour to its thinking to deliver solutions that are clear, original, engaging and ultimately will be successful.
As designers, we are always looking to create the next new paradigm which leads to challenges but also the opportunities. Regardless of how consumer behavior changes or how we enter the minds of the next generation, each branded product will face the exact same challenge it always has, how to sell and how to secure a group of adoring followers. This is when as Angela states, “We look to create the unexpected, the different, a surprise even. You don’t get noticed by being the same, you get noticed by being different.” It’s a difference that appeals to those who see themselves as different and therein lies the ‘culting of brands’ as Douglas Atkin describes it. Depot strives to find that difference and express it in the most creative and potent way possible. A sharp engaging message has the ability to cut in to the mind and the potential to make a lasting impression.
Embracing the Future
Depot thinks that the future of packaging design obviously needs to meet the consumer’s quest for sustainability; to reduce, to reuse, and recycle. As packaging designers, “We not only have a responsibility to inform and advise our clients of more sustainable ways to package goods. But also, to make it clear through better language and iconography to the end user on ‘how to’ recycle or ‘how much’ can be recycled.” As a studio, Depot is expecting to implement AI and VR to bring packaging more to life, and help users to enjoy the experience of ‘living packaging’. It believes there will be significant growth in the sectors of health and wellbeing as we work towards more sustainable food sources. It sees no end to the wave of entrepreneurs creating product which will further evolve the digital space and how consumers engage with packaging on line. Angela looks forward to the studio continuing on a journey of exploration and discovery.
Testimonials from Depot Creative’s Clients
“Angela is part of a rare breed of designers who have the emotional faculties to genuinely empathize with the essence of a brand.” – Anoop Sam Mohan CEO, Bare Cosmetics Inc
“Angela was very committed to our project and the results of the redesign were both immediate and impressive. Within the rest 6 months of launching the revised branding and packaging design we saw an increase in our revenue of 30%.” – Jessica Ma Marketing Director, Sisidyll
“Knowledge of branding on a global basis, along with project management reliability, and excellent communication made building our brand a great experience.” – Jeff Brinkhoff CEO, Waterfox Foods Inc.