Nuts for Snack
It is very rare for a client to come to us with the simple request of “creating a family gift” and this is exactly what happened in this case. We were asked to create a product identity - naming and packaging design of a product - which was meant to address first of all the members of a Greek family of olive oil producers in Karpofora, Messinia. We had to pay tribute to a strong, living tradition and this is exactly what we did. We used a children’s drawing that conveys in the most direct way a lineage in the form of a tree and we placed every family member’s name on its branches. We named the product, “My olive tree” because this is exactly what it is: the precious olive tree which, identified with one family tree symbolizes the bonds, efforts and legacy of this one family and is offered to a number of other such families around the world, in the form of an ‘olive oil’ present.
What we needed to convey through the identity and packaging design of this range of products was trust and intimacy. It targets women within the very environment of beauty care and we decided to make this environment part of the design concept. Youth Lab is, by language and symbol choice, a straightforward reference to a personal laboratory, a place where each individual is treated specially and with the proper, tested materials. The retro futuristic character of the lab tube and the thin, elongated type font speaks of scientific seriousness, while the choice of fluorescent colours on rough carton paper, suggests calculated boldness and personality. The result is a product that is familiar but not boring, trustworthy but also linked with research and experimentation.
To meet the expectations of an overseas based client was a challenge we accepted with enthusiasm. Our design approach developed through a series of emails and skype calls between Athens and the exotic Mauritius, whilst we gradually absorbed the information that described this food product as ethically cultivated and dynamically positioned in the contemporary market. This experience was incorporated into the design framework. Thus, a mighty combination between the stated, the symbolic and the imaginary emerged. The essence of the island and the grain -the basic unit of every rice production- are rendered visible through clear, dynamic albeit elegant, transparent, duo-chromatic (b&w), non-folkloric design choices.
Since our client wanted to avoid having a ‘provenance-oriented’ identity, we turned to the area of basic human aspirations. Creating the product’s identity, we resorted to a singular combination of metaphysics and humor. We used the term “St. Olive”, not in a religious context, but as an attempt to bring forward the chthonic, primary, life-giving character of the oil fruit. Design helped us make this approach more concrete and acute: it placed a hand - the very representation of the spiritual and the divine- within the area of the ritual, the human and the feasible. In this way humor allowed for process to emerge as the care needed to make things great. We even collaborated with a painter specializing in byzantine iconography, in order to be faithful to the codes of the symbolic language we chose. It was our way to confirm once more what we believe is on the basis of every communication: everything, from the simple to the complicated, is “a leap of faith’ and one there is no reason to take without being well prepared.
Our client, a dynamic business group, with the vision to further develop the competitive advantage offered by the Greek land, by combining it with the most updated scientific control practices, conveyed to us a request not that different from our basic ideas concerning design itself. Thus we chose, the most fundamental, environment friendly and un-costly materials for the media kit and promotional gift packaging, we chose bold and simple typography, clear images of the land of Drama, and finally the archetypal design rendering of a tomato fruit to denote the whole effort and it’s values. Awards: Merit, EBGE 2012 (Greek Design & Illustration Awards)
We actually designed the consumer’s next move as far as this product is concerned: a fresh, clean and ready to be consumed fish does not require but the simple act of cooking it with all the fine herbs which will bring forward it’s basic nutritious qualities. A differentiating band, on an otherwise transparent packaging, offers much more than the image of a serving suggestion. It works like an x-ray image of a pure product of Greek nature, as well as a preview of the particular culinary experience, the moment just -before-eating, when a fish is opened and all fine smells and juices are liberated.
Targeting a cultural milieu with very specific communication semiotics and particular habits, we opted for a design which, subliminally, speaks about archetypes, about the signs and symbols of the oldest civilizations. Product
of an ancient land and a sacred plant, the ‘etesian gold oil’ is saved in an elegant bottle. It is sealed with the graphic symbol, used in linear b (an ancient greek pre-alphabet syllabic script) to mean ‘olive’. Color tones and hues are kept to the minimum of an earthly palette.