Gareth Robertson, practising safe design, always using a concept…
I am Creative Director at Design Pit, a boutique creative agency based in Lichfield. We’re an award winning creative agency delivering memorable packaging design, business communications and heightened brand credibility. We help clients to talk with clarity and confidence with a carefully considered approach to creative graphic design. We love learning about new industries, new technologies and new ventures, feeding off the passion that people have for what they do and apply our own skills to showcase their talent in the best possible light. We love helping people to build their business through strategic design and communication; sharing in their success as they grow and developing solutions to marketing conundrums along the way. As designers, every day looks different, a new set of challenges, a new type of media, a new message to develop… Good design is good business.
Over my career I’ve had a lot of experience within the packaging design arena. I’ve worked in small and medium sized design agencies on various projects for household names and smaller less well known brands, on everything from point of sale to literature design to packaging.
From University I went into a role as a junior designer at PHd Design in Staffordshire, they did a lot of packaging and labeling work and also branded several cider brands for Aston Manor Brewery in Birmingham. I was fortunate enough to work on brand development projects with this client for Frosty Jacks, Kingstone Press, Crumpton Oaks, Chardolini and Knights cider brands. I created new logos, labels, boxes, shrink wraps and various promo pieces such as curtain siders for 40 foot long wagons, banners and table mats.
Here at PHd, I was also involved with a range of products being brought into the UK by importing company Heley International. They were delivering a range of product portfolios to the “pound trade” in shops such as B&M Bargains and Poundland. I was involved in relaunching the well known washing powder brand Radion into UK stores along with a plethora of other product packs including toothpaste packs, toothbrushes, cans of fizzy drinks, air fresheners, air freshener refill blister packs, toilet roll and kitchen rolls, coffee jars and paper wraps, baby wipes, tissues and various others. Working in this area gave me a clear insight to working with suppliers from abroad in China and Hong Kong and the challenges it can bring when communicating with people who don’t speak the same language as you do!
After seven years at PHd Design, I spent some time abroad traveling and when I returned to the UK I secured a role at Juice Creative in Leicester. This agency did a whole range of work for well-known confectionary and pet food brands. I was working on some household names customer-facing materials here, developing new cut forms and designs point of sale stands, packets for sweets, tins for dog and cat food and a range of store-based campaigns to drive sales and push to key point of sale points within the shops. This helped me to shape ideas and form the foundations of understanding very clearly the fundamentals of shelf presence. This is key knowledge for anyone working with the likes of Mars Bars, Maltesers, Bounty, Snickers and pet foods like Cesar, Sheba, Pedigree Chum and Whiskas.
My short time at Juice was eye-opening and gave me the confidence in my own abilities to “go it alone” and set up my own studio. It was a very small set up to start with – just me at a home office at parent’s house, back in 2012. The idea was to build a name and reputation that was found on service. Giving people a reliable resource for excellent creative design services across the marketing spectrum. The early years were tough, juggling my time and trying to secure the right type of work whilst still being able to pay my bills! I maintained from the very start that I would not simply take any work on offer, but I’d stick to my guns and focus on getting the right type of design brief so I could allow my skills to shine through. It didn’t always work out like that but in the main I was true to myself and my vision of what I wanted my studio and business to be.
Now, nearly 7 years down the line we have a team based in a studio just north of Birmingham in leafy Lichfield – a small city in the heart of the creative county of Staffordshire. We have a growing portfolio of packaging work that includes some real gems and success stories including Awesome Fun Face Paints – America #1 seller in category on Amazon, Kalkaire toothcare range – toothpastes and charcoal teeth whitening products, Seguro CBD Oil – organically grown Spanish oils and balms, Kickin’ Ketchup and Headleys Hot Sauce – Bajan inspired spicy condiments and cooking sauces, United Odd Socks sleeves – novelty odd socks boxes for a GA member based in Hitchin, and more recently some Pirate toy packs – for GA member Ravensden. We’ve also created bottle labels for a local gym, takeaway coffee cups for Holiday Inn and promotional hot flasks for a recruitment agency.
Why we’ve joined the GA?
Quite simply, we want to do more work in the packaging arena. And the GA has a roster of members with products to package! My goal for my business is to become an authority on making giftware packaging look great, engage with customers and drive sales. I plan to work closely with the team at the GA to help members to understand the impact of packaging on a product’s performance and how buying decisions are influenced by what a pack looks like – in-store or online.
Humans are inherently visual beings and we become fascinated with what we see, touch, hold. We buy with our eyes. And that starts with how a product looks on a shelf or on a screen. Designing packaging that is fit for the market it is selling to is an art form that should be considered carefully. We have the skill set to take a brief, talk it through, listen to what information we’re given and then interpret the knowledge we’ve gained into a design layout that not only looks great but can also be produced economically, environmentally friendly wherever possible and delivered to the right quantity, on time, on budget… everytime.
I hope to meet as many members as possible in the coming weeks and months and I’ll be attending some of the GA events locally in Birmingham and in the wider region to offer advice, support and guidance on packaging designs and associated services like branding, literature, social media content, packaging production and how we can provide a lot of these services from under one roof!
Creative Director – Design Pit Ltd
01543 241 251