Packaging design with DesignerPeople

Sustainable packaging solutions & digital marketing

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L-R: Anush Malik, founder, Megha Malik, co-founder and Shivam Gandhi, marketing head, DesignerPeople

DesignerPeople, a packaging design and branding agency based in Faridabad, was established in 2003. The company does complete branding for its clients from logos to packaging and labels. As consultants it connects clients to packaging manufacuturers, vendors and distributors while also providing digital marketing services, like func.media. During our recent talk with Anush Malik, founder, Megha Malik, co-founder and creative director, and Shivam Gandhi, marketing head of the company, we learned about their business and the challenges they face as packaging designers.

Megha explains, “We design everything including our client’s existing and new product profile, business cards, letterhead and stationery. After redesigning their product, we connect them to retailers and distributors to launch their new products in the market. We try and help our clients move from hefty TV ads to comparatively less expensive yet effective digital advertertising to launch their products. This can be especially useful for SMEs that are on a tight budget.”

7Haldiram Multigrain
Packaging designed by DesignerPeople for Haldiram’s

The last fiscal year FY18-19 proved profitable for DesignerPeople with double-digit growth. “When a client is satisified with our work, they talk about it and this referral generates new clients for us,” explains Megha.

Talking about their overseas clients, Anush says, “We have clients in UK, US, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Norway, Germany, Dubai and Belgium. We portray Indian values and ideas on the packaging of their products imported from India – such as spices or nuts. I have worked at our New Zealand office for seven years during which I gained some cultural insights about their way of thinking that we try and apply in our design work.”

Challenges as designers

The company faces design challenges given the dynamic nature of the consumer goods and packaging industry. Anush says, “In the past, people did not concern themselves with the packaging of a product; they would buy anything a shopkeeper would hand to them. But due to the emerging trend of supermakets where people have the freedom to choose from a huge variety of products, packaging came to play an important role. People will buy what catches their attention first and this makes our job especially challenging.”

Helping clients adapt to sustainable packing options

Talking about sustainable packaging, Anush says, “Being in the packaging industry, we are responsible for the damage caused by plastic to the environment. Since we are also a consultancy agency, we try to nudge our clients towards sustainable packaging options. For instance, we have a client from Jaipur who wanted to reflect modern times on his packaging and we suggested him to opt for glass containers.”

“The issue of pricing can become a hindrance in most cases. Not many people agree to pay more for biodegradable options. One of our clients wanted plastic packaging for his biodegradable sanitary pads made of bamboo fiber. We convinced him to go for paper packaging,” says Shivam.

Speaking about the latest FSSAI guidelines, Megha says, “We can’t use words such as ‘pure and fresh’ indiscriminately and we can’t use images of an ingredient on a packaging till there is a certain amount of it present in the product. But while FSSAI guidelines are on the fingertips of our designers, it is a challenge to design under these restrictions. But we try to send the message across without any violation.” Going forward, the company will try to make SMEs understand the relevance of packaging in today’s market scenario and also help them with their digital marketing initiatives.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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