8 business and non-profit websites

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Eurospace containers

Eurospace import an IKEA-like flat-packed, completely knocked down, galvanised steel containers. These kitset structures are of the sort that are suitable for storage, transport and for use as certain specialist types of buildings. The containers are delivered knocked down flat or so the customer assembles them on site. They have multiple uses such as transportable buildings, office space, storage containers, dangerous goods storage.

The client was really happy with using the Eurowood construction website CMS, and were really familiar with the cms, custom slider module, and entire user interface so their brief was to build the EuroSpace.

They have had success promoting Eurowood using this proven template so we set up the tools and through consultation populated the site with backgrounds and imagery.

With the basic navigational framework and content in place the client jumped right in and composed all the custom sliders, and have overall been very happy with the results.


Ohinetahi House & Gardens | Governors Bay

Ohinetahi is a house and gardens of international significance and they wanted a website to showcase their beautiful garden and features within the garden. For their world-class destination and visitor experience they wanted a magazine-style brochure website lavished with outstanding imagery, and the narrative of Sir Miles Warren and Pauline and John Trengrove’s restoration of the house and garden that got underway in 1977.

There were a couple of design ideas we explored initially but we ended up settling on a very clean and simple aesthetic, just a strong symmetrical image showing off the house and garden on the landing page headed up by an uncluttered navigation bar and branding element. The client is happy with the result and that it achieved their stipulations that the site be responsive, mobile ready.

The site design is a customised WordPress template for which the client provided a basic wireframe and in consultation we constructed and populated the site with all content to match their specifications.


All Greek to me Souvlaki

The client wanted to put their menu and their specialty menu items on a new brochure website which makes keeping their pricing up to date easy.

The brief also included a guestbook/customer review page where they could comment on their experiences.

As well as Greek Souvlaki they make some other specialty Greek food such as Baklava and some smoked meats.

A signature memory of our designer’s trip to Greece is that people have grapevines on rafters just like they do outside All Greek to me Souvlaki hence the grapevine background. The client loved the idea and is thrilled with how it fit in so well with the authentic Greek aesthetic that she had hoped to achieve.


Christchurch Coach Charters

The client wanted a brochure site where he could advertise that he provides coaches, buses, double-decker buses, fancy London Taxis and their drivers for all sorts of events and parties.

Christchurch Coach Charters is an established firm that has been servicing the Christchurch scene for a very long time, and they offer an amazing service, getting picked up by a chauffeur and driven around in style is a really cool experience. They wanted a way for people to be able to contact him easily and to be on the first page of Google. Their website has achieved all of these goals.

Christchurch Coach Charters is a simple HTML website comprised of basic code.


Chistchurch Uncovered

After the Christchurch earthquakes Cat Watson, who had studied archaeology all her life, found herself in a situation she never dreamed would come about. She never dreamed she would be able to practice archaeology, do ideological digs right at home, in her backyard in Christchurch. Which is what happened after the earthquakes and she and her associates quickly discovered they had huge catalogues of colonial settlement era archaeological findings that they really wanted to share and to tell the story behind them in a blog, what developed was a pleasant surprise as the blog has garnered interest from people around the world. This website is super successful. Cat never imagined that thousands of people a day would come and look at these stories, the response has been incredible. The website has done exceptionally well and exceeded all expectations.

Cat actually wanted a website and a blog, but she opted for the blog to begin with because of all of the steady stream of news posts she wanted to publish. The client has since sold the business to another party who has taken over thereins.

The client wanted a really simple website so a basic Responsive WordPress blog was built. WordPress was free, the theme was free, some basic suggestions were made about the widget options on the Right hand side. After a quick demonstration of how to make a post, the client was quick to learn and in there writing up and publishing articles straight away, it has been growing steadily each week ever since and gets read and commented on by people all over the world.


Rosemount Weddings | Darjon Vineyards Wedding Venue

The Adams’ came to Adele with the web design brief that they wanted a really eyecatching and beautiful website to sell their wedding venue hire and event planning service, with all the trimmings, in their Rosemount vineyard. The clients do the complete package, organise the entertainment, the catering, they work with lots of different entertainers and caterers, they offer top of the line, end-to-end event planning level of service.

The website has played it’s part in the marketing mix to contribute to the Rosemount venue’s business having taken off and really thrive.

The client had another website as well, which is Ohoka Horse and Carriages, and their son has a 5-piece band with a hosting package, so we offered a full professional hosting package where they could host all of their websites under the one account.

They grew to be in a position to purchase another vineyard, the Darjon Vineyard, as a wedding venue for hire as well. They now manage the two wedding venues which both do exceptionally well, mostly in summer, but to some degree throughout the year.

The second website, Darjon, we built on a responsive WordPress platform. Rosemount was built by a third party web designer using an HTML template, and while not responsive, the client is happy with the beautiful aesthetic of it. We manage the updates to the site as required throughout the year to keep everything up-to-date.



Cat Rescue

Cat rescue is an organisation that is managed and run by volunteers who find strays, collect them, vaccinate them, treat any injuries and then rehome them. Similar to the Cat Protection league and the SPCA but run entirely on donations. They also help with managing the feral cat populations all around Christchurch. They will get a call from say a factory in Addington, that they have a cat problem, to control the populations effectively it is not optimal to remove all the cats completely, so they manage the numbers using best practice methods. They also assist people who cannot afford to de-sex their cats.

This is a WordPress template site chosen that best suits their needs but it is not responsive. The site is proving a very successful hub for people wanting to adopt cats and people volunteering their time to contribute to the organisation and its mission.


Trotts Gardens

Alan and Catherine Trott are a lovely couple from Ashburton who had a crazy idea of buying a farm and turning it into a garden. They even went as far as buying the local church which they purchased for $1 and transported it to their property to set up a chapel so that people could have photos and weddings in their garden. The entire town thought they were mad, but now it has gone from a National Garden of Significance with an amazing variety of plants, to recently becoming an International Garden of Significance. The Trotts are just really happy to have their website up there containing a brief intro to their gardens and the narrative of how they came to be, a gallery of their best photos and overall just communicating the love they have for gardens, and how very passionate they are about them, and about working in nature.

The gardens are very popular as a photo venue for weddings. Asian couples often helicopter in from Christchurch to get their photos taken in Trott’s gardens.

Having promoted their gardens on generic catalogue sites for a few years the client came to us knowing that they needed to get their gardens online. The site is built using HTML and CSS and works pretty well on a mobile phone.

Allan Trott has published two books about their gardens which can be purchased from the site.

©magentadot brands

‘Paua Aotearoa’, adults and kids T-shirt, four colour print on navy and black fabric.

Surface Active: Making waves in a sea of sameness

Surface Active art-to-wear: T-shirts in the spirit of fun.

Surface Active made in Aotearoa, T-shirts main neck label.

Surface Active T-shirts main neck label.

By the mid 1980s T-shirts had become hot promotional items, garments on the outskirts of fashion, and a relatively new medium for the Graphic Designer’s art. What had for a long time been considered a poor medium for Graphic Design grew to an almost essential one. All you have to do is walk down the street anywhere in the world since the early 80s to see what a ubiquitous promotional vehicle they have become. If you mail out 100 potential clients a direct mail brochure perhaps 200 people will see it. But mail out, or better yet, sell 100 T-shirts, and assuming they’re at all decent looking, you launch 100 walking billboards.

The trend over the past several decades has been to embrace more casual clothing, to the point of stone-washed and distressed, though this has in no way meant this sort of clothing has become less expensive or stylish. Brand awareness, including personal brand awareness has been part of this trend—to such an extent that people want, or are at least willing to flaunt, the name of the brand or designer of their shoes, jeans, and bags on the items in question. In short clothing manufacturers made their products promotional vehicles for themselves.

Surface Active art-to-wear

Promotional teeshirts take this walking billboard concept one step further by being clothing that promotes products, services, cultural and ideological views in such a way that the wearer is willing to be identified—whether through a sense of aesthetics, humour, social responsibility, or irreverence, or loyalty to a watering hole, cultural institution, environmental organisation or charity. People are willing to wear someone else’s message because they feel it says something about themselves—which is the essence of fashion.

‘Kiwi Space Shuttle’ T-shirt, six colour print on grey marle fabric.

‘Kiwi Space Shuttle’ T-shirt, six colour print on grey marle fabric. Placement; six colour front, one colour woodcut around hem front and back.

Initially our Surface Active art-to-wear T-shirts were designed to be retailed by us and also to be wholesaled to environmental organisations such as Greenpeace and the Maruia Society, for inclusion particularly in their annual pre-Xmas direct mail catalogue campaigns and sold in their retail stores.

As design pARTners in the visual arts Chrissie Terpstra and I sought to apply our teeshirt design skills to everything from promoting small businesses and one-time events, to our Surface Active art-to-wear wildlife, Kiwiana and nuclear free collections for the likes of Wild Places and The Epicentre, Christchurch’s two ecostores, and for Greenpeace and the Maruia Society. Our market developed to include DoC visitor centres and similar conservation themed retail outlets in National Parks the length and breadth of the country, and the prestigious Te Papa store at the then brand new National Museum in Wellington. As our business and reputation grew we were commissioned by the likes of the International Antarctic Centre, Orana Park and certain DoC conservancies to design and produce custom ranges of adult and children’s shirts.

‘Adelie Penguins, Antarctica’ adult’s and children’s two colour T-shirt print on white fabric.

‘Adelie Penguins, Antarctica’ adult’s and children’s two colour T-shirt print on white fabric. Placement; Complementary graphics, two colours front and back.

This delightful collection is from our SurfaceActive Art-to-Wear range 1996–2000.

In terms of our T-shirt design itself, it evolved from straightforward application of a symbol or logo, screenprinted on the kitchen table in our flat in 1986, sometimes hand painted to finish, to approaches that treat the shirt as a canvas, involving printing the garments as piecework prior to being stitched up by local seamstresses. Whereas our early designs simply applied graphics to the front of the shirt, our designs developed into appearing on the front and back, wrap around, and encircling the hems and sleeves. Treating the T-shirt we were printing on as the design of a piece of clothing in the round. We also developed from printing initially printing white and light coloured shirts to having our locally made pure cotton garments custom dyed in vivid dark hues in small batches prior to their speciality “dark shirt” printing.

The mechanics of hand-screen printing fabric

When you are printing on cotton fabric with seams you cannot get the kind of fine detail you can printing on paper. The fabric absorbs the inks or dyes and the colour spreads through the fibres—the fabric equivalent of dot gain.

Surface Active print shop, Jewelled gecko hand pulled eight colour Teeshirt printing in progress.

With our layered or hand-separated multicolour designs the colour is laid down in areas with the hand-pulled silk-screening process, with “flash-curing” of the print between colour passes, in some cases up to 10 passes to print one garment, front, back, hem and sleeves, one colour at a time.

Fabric colour and the issue of “hand” or feel of the fabric printing inks

‘Jewel Gecko - New Zealand’ eight colour T-shirt print on dark green fabric.

‘Jewel Gecko – New Zealand’ eight colour T-shirt print on dark green fabric. Placement; Eight colour front print, one colour kowhaiwhai print front and back around hem.

The other reason other than avoiding toxic (and highly hazardous) solvents that are used for printing “Plastisol” inks, and for selecting water based inks and dyes as the better option is that of the “hand” or feel of the ink. Water-based inks have a nicer feel to them but they are more difficult to work with as they easily cure, “dry in” or clog the stencil especially in peak demand hot summer weather, rendering it useless and in need of remaking. Waterbased dyes have no “hand” to them as such as the screenprint literally dyes the light coloured fabric.

Custom designed and built in-line printing workshop

We developed a custom in-line sequential printing methodology, rather than rotary print methodology in our back-shed “sheltered workshop” to successfully overcome the drying-in drawback of waterbased printing dyes and Supercover inks. It was achieved by way of additional manual labour and an innovative use of my own design of screen holding humidifier boxes for keeping the ink and screens moist between print runs. 

‘Harlequin Gecko - New Zealand’ eight colour T-shirt print on charcoal marle fabric.

‘Harlequin Gecko – New Zealand’ eight colour T-shirt print on charcoal marle fabric. Placement; Eight colour front print, one colour woodcut print front and back around hem.

If you want to lay down a light colour on a dark shirt you have to use acrylic Super-cover inks, in some cases laying down two light coats to best build opacity while preserving detail. Flash curing in between is the only way ensure print quality is maintained throughout the print run

If your dark shirt design has a lot of solid light ink coverage you end up making something that has the feel of a bullet-proof vest when you’re wearing it. We avoided this by planning our designs to combine both ink and dye passes, colours darker than the fabric colour are dyes, lighter ones are super-opaque acrylics, all required flash curing between.

The other huge benefit with water-based inks, aside from wash-up with water, and their “thinners” being water, is that the finished garment once flashed off to the point of being touch dry is given a final cure in just 20 minutes in a domestic tumble dryer rather than a 6m long high-tech curing oven.

Surface Active wildlife collage design fabric print on bedding set.

Surface Active wildlife collage design, step and repeat one colour fabric print on custom bedding set.

Optimising the illustration workflow for easy printing and graphic quality

‘Ocean - New Zealand’ one colour children’s T-shirt print on navy blue and jade green fabric.

‘Ocean – New Zealand’ one colour children’s T-shirt print on navy blue and jade green fabric. Placement; One colour front and back. ‘Puff’ printed emboss effect ink.

One of our specialities is one colour “puff printed” designs, the so called puff inks contract when cured and so draw up the fabric surface. This has a tremendous tactile and visual effect on single colour dark shirt prints such as the Tuatara and children’s Ocean and Forest floor designs.

I developed a variation of drawing wildlife art for reproduction from classic zoology methods, using mixed media, charcoal pencil with pen and ink on coquille board to achieve a crisp “line and tone” effect from one colour “line” images.

Garment prices scaled with print cost

With hand-pulled screen printing the cost of printing a batch of shirts scales with the number being produced up to a certain point, set-up and clean-up time being equal regardless of quantity. The number of graphic “placements” (a graphic on the front is one placement, front and back, two placements, etc.), and the number of colours, type of ink used,. per graphic also determines the printing cost.

Regarding the gallery and our T-shirt models

As with other some portfolios on the site Archive the over 40 designs included here are collected from the period between 1988–2002 of our Surface Active printed garment editions. I have made no effort to force the shirts into defined categories; rather, I present them in a manner intended to inspire and entertain—an approach appropriate to the spirit of fun that T-shirts represent.

‘Weta - New Zealand’ T-shirt, adults and kids, on oatmeal and grey marle fabric.

‘Weta – New Zealand’ T-shirt, adults and kids, on oatmeal and grey marle fabric. Adult garment a six colour print. Placement; piecework, front, back and sleeve.

In that light-hearted vein a shout-out must go to our T-shirt models from back-in-the-day, the kids are all 20-or-30-something now at time of writing. Our compliments and lasting gratitude are also due to their T-shirt modelling parents, our friends. SurfaceActive employed most of them as our highly-trusted sales crew selling from our stall at the weekend Christchurch Arts Centre Market, come rain or shine, year-round 1988–2002.


Design and Art Direction: Design pARTners, Chrissie Terpstra and Shaun Waugh
Illustrator: Shaun Waugh
Hand-pulled screen printing: Surface Active: Chrissie Terpstra and crew

©magentadot brands

Sillicon Planet’s world-wide smile promo

When it comes to promoting entertainers, creating distinction is key. Because of the tremendous competition in the market, promotions for Circus-Arts performers, children’s entertainers need to be well thought out, comprehensive and entertain as they capture the attention of any audience world wide. Sillicon Planet’s audience is a mash-up of schools, festival and event organisers, corporate clientele and talent agencies.

The demand to create distinction and call attention to the Sillicon Planet brand meets high quality low cost colour digital printing

To create distinction and call attention to the client’s brand, the designer must producing memorable promotions that reveal their client’s capabilities and their brand’s personality.

The advent of high quality, low cost, colour digital printing opened up the opportunity to design and produce innovative promotions, from a production standpoint, for my small business clients like Sillicon Planet. It also opened up the opportunity to also produce keenly strategic ones where the overall messaging is mindful of and well attuned to the prospective client’s needs.

Direct mail forms the cornerstone

The second of Sillicon Planet’s full colour, two-sided business cards features their emblem.

This business card features the branding emblem, a lateral visual answer developed the question in the client’s mind “Sure the name is a cute word play, but what exactly does Sillicon Planet mean?”

This promotion has a direct mail piece as the cornerstone of a larger rebranding project. This promotional brochure also serves the secondary function—as a demonstrations of Chris & Lisa’s full range of capabilities, and/or it functions as a keepsake that significantly increases the longevity and effectiveness of their promotional budget dollar. In Graphic Design terms with this project I was able to rethink the functional components of Direct Mail marketing and also, due to colour digital printing, able to make strides into what is possible in the form and quality of the return on the small business promotional dollar.

Printed brochures demand our interaction

The simple joy of turning pages, of unfolding, and revealing, of scale, of texture and ink on paper, and of the physical presence of print in the hand. There is something inherently human about it, you can touch it, pick it up—it has weight—you can even smell the ink. You sense the artful hand, the care and craft. It sits there, not moving, and when you come back the next day, it’s still there going strong.

A well-executed brochure allows multiple facets of a company’s personality to shine. The format forms and informs the flow of narrative. The pacing and rhythm of graphics and type shape the experience. Brochures feature and showcase not only the client’s brand but also design and photography, illustration, writing, fonts, colour, materials and texture—and the art and craft of printing.

Effective promotional contact strategies

Effective contact strategies are important in an age where online communication is prevalent. To make more personalized promotions, many firms are narrowcasting by creating smaller, more targeted promotions. They are also aligning their thinking in terms of a campaign, uniting all their messaging and correspondence to ensure it is clear and consistent in the marketplace.

To maintain that vital connection with prospective and existing clients, creatives many notable occasions worthy of a promotional message, from moving announcements, anniversary celebrations, and holiday greetings to the announcement of awards and achievements and the addition of new staff members.

Whether a company is new and embarking on a launch or a pair of seasoned professionals such of Chris & Lisa who were in the midst of their rebranding and promotional effort, securing a prominent market position is challenging. It requires research, evaluation, planning, and commitment in order to make the desired gains. But for those firms who are willing to venture out with a unique voice and vision, it can be an empowering experience.

Want to successfully stand out in the marketplace? We can help you with that.

If you are finding yourself getting caught up in the day-to-day so much that you’re losing sight of what is important, MagentaDot Brands have the ability to work with you on the design of a pragmatic creative path to your successfully stand out in the marketplace.

At MagentaDot brands I am always striving to produce the best advertising, graphic design, websites, photographs and conceptual collateral pieces money can buy. And these days I’m well aware you want your communications to work hard. So to see more proof have look around, or just call me at; +64 21 067 6176. Or email hello@magentadotbrands.com


Project name: Sillicon Planet rebrand, brochure and direct mail promotion
Graphic design / Illustration / Print production / Promotional design and advertising / Typographic design
Client (Industry): Sillicon Planet Theatre Company (Entertainment/Education)
Formats: Booklet / Brochure / Direct mail / various
Date: 1999


Printer: Colour Digital Printing (CDP)
Design firm:
 Surface Active Graphic Design
Copywriter: Chrissie Terpstra
Creative director / designer / illustrator / print production: Shaun Waugh & Chrissie Terpstra
Font credits: Giddyup, Allise, Flora, various
Costume design: Carrot & Pickle costumes co-designed stitched by Chrissie Terpstra

©magentadot brands

WorkPace Ergonomic resting software draft packaging concept 3D digital rendering.

Great brands stand out: WorkPace Packaging

Whenever I am working on a packaging design project I’m focussed on one thing, how can I add value. How can I by research, writing, developing messaging and design elements add value? What strategy can I develop that will make the WorkPace breaks and exercises software brand better and stronger? What can I develop that will help create engaging packaging design concepts that appeal to office workers and their managers?

Visual interpretation of the brief

Visualising design ideas with digital renderings conveys how a packaging design will work as well as how each package will relate to itself, in the round, and any other sales collateral while on display. Digital renderings are also a low-cost option in comparison to physical prototypes when working on the early package concepts.

Amazing possibilities arise out of digital renderings, seeing concepts fully realised allows decision makers to immerse themselves in their choices.

The WorkPace Ergonomic breaks & exercises software packaging project

WorkPace Ergonomic resting software final packaging.

Final packaging using supplied elements as briefed. My contribution is the overall layout, photo composites and the one-page capabilities brochure on the reverse of the package.

The concept and material for the packaging redesign was a straightforward one. Feature image, typography, colours, brand look were all a given. Among the value I added to this project was the illustrated selling message on the reverse, the new set of colour exercise illustrations and other illustrative design elements.

Developing a small set of draft packaging solutions that meet and stretch expectations

With this project I also took the opportunity to explore a number of concepts with the client for future creative direction. I was concerned that the brand needed to stay ahead of trends, as the received look appeared to be becoming out of date, not least due to advances in the computer hardware and office attire. The dark heavy, overall sombre, almost oppressive mood of the feature image, and the split focus between computer operator in the foreground and her male colleague or manager in the back, while a credible office vignette, the first impression lacks impact and single-minded focus. The blue and yellow colours of the brand are a bright, fresh and youthful colour combination, the legacy packaging look relegated colour to play no part in the impression created by it.  My strategy developed around the observation that colour was a significant brand asset that was completely overlooked.

Hundreds of brand equity studies confirm that consumers recall the colour of a package first, the shape or structure second, and the style of a brand’s logo third. This proves the most recognized components of a brand are design-related, first and foremost colour.

WorkPace Ergonomic resting software draft packaging concept 3D digital rendering.

Blue and yellow youthful and fresh colour concept, easy monoline expressive modern illustration with legacy logo. Positioning statement and Illustration express single-minded proposition of injury prevention for computer users. Strong colour blocking distinctive from competition, thereby avoiding brand parity on the shelf.

I refined a couple of fresh creative directions upon this strategy and presented mockups to the client that you see in the gallery.

The goal was to have a visually informed discussion with the client regarding my strategic idea that the package needed to be able to convey three powerful points;

  1. the manner in which the software behaves in such a way as to actively care for computer users,
  2. the comfort of knowing that something is installed on your computer by your employer which is actively looking out for you, and
  3. the feeling of WorkPace being as essential to highly productive computer users as the office chair that they sit upon.
WorkPace Ergonomic resting software draft packaging concept 3D digital rendering.

Blue and yellow youthful and fresh colour concept, front panel of carton fold-out reveals details of software capabilities.

I was aiming for the affect that when you look at the package you say,

“Yes it does look like this product is good, easy to use, technologically advanced, and it will keep me safe from repetitive strain injury  in the workplace.”

The packaging design process

A simplified overview of the steps which a package goes through from concept to completion. This process is a model modified to suit each project. The factors that affect the flow and order of the steps are:

  • Market research and client research,
  • Brainstorming & ideation of draft strategies and thumbnail visual ideas,
  • Establish the messaging & communication hierarchy,
  • Competitive product, retail environment boards, style/mood boards,
  • Explore form & structure,
  • Prephotography, preillustration,
  • Concept development,
  • Presentation of designs.


Testing the concepts rendered in 3D context provides insights very difficult to grasp by just creating a flat design in 2D on a page. Adapting the design based on the client’s review of renderings can improve the chances of success without diluting the original concept.

Brand Personality

The brand personality must come to life and deliver its largest impression the moment someone picks up your package. From this point, it helps to think of the brand personality in terms an actual person. Now, who is this individual, they have to appeal to millions of people. Shrewd consumers who spend time with brands can feel the inconsistencies between a brand and its packaging. And how they feel is the operative word. They may not see it, or articulate it, but they know when something is right.

WorkPace Ergonomic resting software draft packaging concept 3D digital rendering.

Clean minimalist white space blue yellow accent colour concept, legacy logo. Messaging shifts focus to express injury prevention for computer users. One page brochure on back contrasts with the front’s clear-cut image and white space which places undivided focus on purpose of software. The back encourages engagement in competitive evaluaton instore.

It’s about being true to that brand personality. That consistency is where brand strength is built.

Knowing the personality requires clear definition of the creative brief before conception and then continuing to research as the brand matures.

Because the brand does not live in a vacuum, and because the cultural context around it is constantly emerging, it requires gaining additional knowledge and a process of continuous refinement. As a person matures so does a brand. Once it has been defined, how far you push the personality depends on your place in the history of the product or service category. If you’re first to market, you have a greater obligation to identify the optimal brand personality in the category and lead from the front.

WorkPace Ergonomic resting software draft packaging concept 3D digital rendering.

Blue and yellow fresh, youthful colour concept, clean, strong sans-serif font WorkPace logo redesign. Positioning statement shifts focus from RSI disease cure to intelligent RSI prevention. Truth to materials, visual elements of the software, 8bit icons, form the lively collage. Clearcut typist has undivided focus. Short copy encourages a brisk engagement. Strengthened Niche logo to compare and contrast with legacy one.

WorkPace Ergonomic resting software draft packaging concept 3D digital rendering.

Blue and yellow fresh, youthful colour concept, legacy WorkPace logo. Legacy Niche logo to compare and contrast with stronger upgrade proposal.

Visual interpretation of the creative brief

Concerns to be addressed;

Strategic alignment. Designers and clients must be clear on the objectives. If any doubts exist, ask, discuss, challenge if necessary. Better to probe sooner than argue later. Also, loose ideations and conceptual approaches can be helpful if offered by the creative team to tactically zero in on the client’s goals and expectations.

Going too far off-brand in the name of creativity and violating the brand’s personality.

Design iterations rather than multiple designs. Designers are sensitive to small tweaks and confuse such possibilities with creativity. This is especially the case with digital design. Be sure to show the agreed number of designs/concepts in the form of truly different designs. Iterations should be justified only in terms of the strategy and not just presentation filler.

WorkPace Ergonomic resting software draft packaging concept 3D digital rendering.

Light and lively collage concept, strong sans-serif WorkPace logo upgrade. Messaging expresses single-minded proposition of injury prevention for computer users. Visual elements of the software, exercises and emoticons portrayed in the collage grid. Short copy encourages a brisk easy engagement. Niche logo strengthened.

Too many design options tends to backfire. An agreed number of designs/comps for first exploration takes into account not only budget considerations but also the client’s appetite for creative choices. Presenting significantly more than the agreed upon number of comps can:

  • Upset client confidence that you’re sure of the goals and objectives,
  • Make the firm appear overzealous and not budget conscious,
  • Take too long to present and be overwhelming to absorb.

Creating consumer preferences through package design

Research shows that well over two-thirds of consumer product purchase decisions are made at point of sale. In some categories, impulse purchasing at shelf accounts for 85% of sales. It is evident that brand identity and package design drive this important dynamic. In terms of recall, also known as “brand equity” cross-category studies show that in unaided awareness tests consumers remember more about the package than they do about advertising or promotions. Hundreds of equity studies confirm that consumers recall the colour of a package first, the shape or structure second, and the style of a brand’s logo third. This proves the most recognized components are design-related.

Don’t settle for parity in your packaging design

Many packages are overlooked on the shelf; in fact over 30% are not even seen by consumers. Achieving shelf impact doesn’t just consist of shouting louder than the products next to you, it means understanding what will draw your consumer to your package. The target consumer may be lured by packages featuring clean simplicity, a photographic style, certain shapes and colors, or certain kinds of typography. Whatever the design specifics, a package must become the only one a target buyer sees.

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Design easy differentiation, don’t drown in a sea of sameness

Unfortunately, too often, consumers find lots of similar-looking packages that form a sea of sameness. There is parity, or seemingly equal value, in packaging and products. Many companies start out with a hiss and a roar but fail to keep pace with how consumer and cultural trends work in packaging.

Designers and marketers must observe a product’s position in relationship to its competition by determining where it falls on the parity line. Is the brand taking risks and standing out by being above the line? Or is it playing it safe, blending in with competitors, and staying below the line?

Fighting parity within your category is worth working through being uncomfortable. Great brands stand out.


Project name: WorkPace ergonomic rest display packaging
Graphic design / Illustration / Print production / 3D Rendering / Typographic design
Client (Industry): Niche Technology (Software engineering/RSI prevention)
Format: Packaging
Date: 2000


Design firm: Surface Active Graphic Design
Copywriter: Client, Shaun Waugh
Creative director / designer / illustrator / print production: Shaun Waugh
Font credits: Akzidenz Grotesk, Handel Gothic, Compacta

©magentadot brands