The Power of Words

November 27, 2019

Literacy levels between the richest and poorest members of British society are amongst the most disparate in the developed world. Literacy affects a child’s life chances, influences physical and mental health, learning, employment and earning potential, happiness, emotional stability and even life expectancy.

The National Literacy Trust is focused on improving the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in the UK’s poorest communities, where one in three people have literacy problems. We were delighted to support the mission by creating their new awareness campaign. 

The campaign plays with words, some obscured some revealed, in order to communicate both the risk and opportunity – how easily a life story can be determined by literacy. These important messages will be at the centre of their campaigning and communication for the next three years.

The Best Ingredients

November 26, 2019

Pearson celebrated its 175th birthday as a global leader in education and learning this autumn. It was only fitting that their people, the true secret ingredient of success, were the focus of their internal festivities and celebrations. The three-tiered birthday cake that we designed is a visual timeline which begins with their founder Samuel Pearson, highlights many key moments from the last 175 years and looks to a bright future of endless possibilities.

We provided a messaging and visual toolkit that could be used across all manner of events and communications, combining all of Pearson’s heritage, achievements and passion in a perfect bake. The layers of company history are reflected by the layered, detailed, thoughtful imagery produced here at Together.

As a modern take on collage, the illustration is created so that each milestone can be used individually. The designs were translated across digital, print and even on a real birthday cake. Happy Birthday Pearson!

Hope reigns

November 20, 2019

The new Prix Pictet book, Hope, has arrived hot off the press. It showcases work from the 8th global award in photography and sustainability, which began in 2008 with Water. Together has designed all eight publications for the Prix Pictet, produced and distributed by teNeues. The theme of Hope reflects the power of optimism; hope in the face of adversity, increased recycling, reforestation, rewilding, advances in medicine and emerging technological solutions for the planet’s environmental problems. The book shows images from the 12 shortlisted portfolios as well as powerful images produced by a selection of other nominated photographers.

The exhibition of shortlisted artists is on until December 8th at the V&A. Huge congratulations to Hope winner Joana Choumali for her series ‘Ça va aller’.

A Campaign for Creativity

October 31, 2019

At Together Design we believe that creativity in education must become a priority. We are cramming our kids’ heads full of facts but not equipping them with the problem-solving creative thinking that our industry, and our future, depends on.

We think every young person’s imagination should be nurtured through creativity and, if we do that well, tomorrow’s bright sparks will develop the inventive curiosity that will empower them to change the world for the better. Yet funding for the arts in primary schools is shrinking rapidly and as a result, the skills we need to nourish are being devalued and underfunded.

This year we set out to do something about it.

For our Cut Paper Not Arts campaign, we spent time at Henry Maynard Primary School, near our studio in Walthamstow. We took bundles of paper, scissors and glue, and set the kids a challenge. We asked them to pick a creative word, think about what it means to them, then bring it to life through collage. Cut it, rip it, stick it, then draw on top. We encouraged them to explore their imaginations, try things out, make mistakes and see what happens. Everyone had a go – 240 kids aged between seven and ten years old took part. We were astonished by the results!

The work of those creative superheroes has inspired our latest Perfectly Put Together shop collection which includes kits for inspiring your own creativity. Craft bundles, creative kits, workshop materials, tote bags, t-shirts and more. You can see the range at perfectlyputtogether.co.uk

The collection is a celebration of designing and making, and all the profits will go towards new art materials for our local primary schools. Because creativity should never be a ‘nice to have’ extra, it’s the key to culture and progress.

#CutPaperNotArts

Happy Birthday Boots

September 10, 2019

As they celebrate their 150 years, we are celebrating our anniversary working in partnership with the amazing Boots. For the last 15 years, we’ve been keeping many of their established and well-loved brands fresh, as well as bringing new brands to market in the UK and around the world.

We’ve been fortunate to have worked across most areas in-store; from Food, Gifting, Skincare, Cosmetics, Haircare, Electrical and Baby, to Vitamins, Healthcare and Maternity – delivering both brands for Boots and their partners.

Amongst all of this variety is the consistency of Boots’ core customers. Becoming intimately familiar with their needs, aspirations, buying triggers and desires has helped us to deliver success across a breadth of projects for a decade and a half. We’re very proud of the relationships we have built with the team over the years, and the deep understanding we have of their customers.

By far, the largest number of our projects with Boots involves the design of trend-led, seasonal gifts and beauty must-haves. We have created gifts for all Walgreens Boots Alliance markets, for own-brand ranges and their partner brands – delivering initial concepts for products and packaging, through to the supply of artwork for production and everything in between. At last count, we’ve designed over 800 mood boards and created over 300 design guides for packaging and gifting ranges across the portfolio. That’s worth celebrating!

Packaging is just another format or touchpoint for a brand to reach its audience. Right?

Yes, however it also requires the juggling skills of an octopus to ensure that everything works together seamlessly. There aren’t many other design tasks that require so much detailed thought for each square cm of space.

The usual considerations around audience, sector, product, competitors and ambitions first need to be thoroughly investigated. Then comes the ‘feel’ with aesthetics, format and usability. Mix all that with the practical concerns of production, finishing, distribution, on-line ‘thumbnail’ appeal, shelf space, environmental concerns and compliance and you already have a lot to think about.

But we also need to create the on-pack hierarchy, by which customers will navigate the range. How will we lead the eye around such a small area to communicate all that there is to say, in a priority order of importance? When the number of SKUs is large, the way in which we segment the range into smaller ‘families’ (by ingredient, type, function or result) and what features we use to do this (colour, format, image or messaging) become increasingly important. Get it wrong and it will be hard to add to the range at a later date. Get it right and everything becomes easier and more intuitive.

We’ve recently been thinking about the nuances of on-pack information rather a lot as we re-designed the entire Boots food range and refreshed the branding for QMS Medicosmetics.

We’ll never find the right systematic approach, as there isn’t one. Understanding the rules is as important as breaking them when the time is right. But what we know for certain is that we love the juggle, we love the different and complementary skills that come together in our packaging projects and we love it when multiple considerations and decisions come together in a way that looks natural and effortless.

Logic not miracles

June 6, 2019

German skincare brand QMS Medicosmetics has, over the past 30 years, built a fiercely loyal and global customer following thanks to their clinical expertise and innovative products. Firmly established in the European Spa market and with a successful presence in Liberty London, new owners Blue Gem saw that by repositioning and repackaging, there was opportunity to expand the consumer brand and open up new retail and online channels, in both existing and new regions.

A culmination of qualitative interviews with internal and external stakeholder groups, store visits, a product and packaging audit, and an extensive market review helped us to define the priority consumers and the strategic brand pillars for the business, and it was clear that QMS needed to work much harder as a brand. It needed greater presence on shelf, clearer product hierarchy, and as a premium offering, it needed a look and feel that aligned with its product positioning and price point.

We devised naming and descriptor principles in order to help customers to better navigate the range and provide greater confidence for self-selection. As our research showed considerable equity in the QMS blue and confidence in the brand’s scientific heritage, we created a look and feel that reflected the clean, clinical core of the products while retaining a recognisable legacy. Extending the colour palette to include tonal variations of blue provided points of intrigue and differentiation across the identity and social media, POS and packaging.

Our aim was to balance cutting edge clinical expertise with the elegance and luxury of classic beauty, bringing to life the brand promise of Logic not miracles so that QMS can continue to expand its following and global reach for years to come.