Royal Talens, a leading brand of art paints for over 150 years, identified an opportunity to develop a range of products specifically targeting the (art) student market in China.
Back in 2007, the choice for art materials was limited and dominated primarily by two brands: local brand Marie’s [http://www.chinamaries.com], and Winsor & Newton [http://www.winsornewton.com] from England.
The Sales and Marketing team and the Product Manager flew in to Shanghai, and together we held a workshop which went through a branding and strategy exercise, defining the brand touch points, conducting a visual mapping exercise and a SWOT analysis. The project objective was to design packaging for a new range of paints targeting the Chinese art market. These are specifically developed for students and teachers who purchase value-for-money paints. These products were branded as “Talens” (after the parent company Royal Talens), as the target audience recognises this brand as synonymous with quality and reliable products, due to it’s 160 year heritage.
Phase 01: Discovery
During the discovery phase, designers and product managers visited retail outlets to explore and audit competitors in the same segment. Simultaneously, interviews were conducted with shop owners, sales people and actual shoppers (the target audience).
▲ Beijing Marketing Research
▲ Shanghai Marketing Research
Phase 02: Brand strategy
A workshop was the core of this phase, as the decision-makers and client sales & marketing team conferred with the designers to exchange information and conduct exercises to define the direction of the brand.
Phase 03: Conceptualization
Brainstorming and defining the design direction was a long process. Not only did this include reviewing the results of the workshop and the discovery exercises, but also brainstorming and sketching concepts. These were fine-tuned and presented to the client. The mock-ups of the concepts were introduced at focused survey events, which we organised and moderated in Shanghai and Beijing. Art students and teachers convened to answer questions about their needs and provide specific feedback on the new Talens product packaging and insights on the available products in the market. The results of the survey were positive, but preference was equally split between two of the three proposed concepts: Traditional and Contemporary. Both concepts had particular merits and strengths. Without a dominant market preference, a second round of surveys was conducted but again, resulted in a split decision. The final design direction was chosen based on the brand strategy, survey results and the need to move to non-traditional approach. The client determined to proceed with the contemporary design concept.
Phase 04: Implementation
After the chosen direction was established, the actual packaging were implemented. The designers took a meticulous approach to ensuring the print output was precise, visiting suppliers, defining materials and comprehensive testing. The roll-out of the brand included a photoshoot, exhibition booth design culminating in the launch of the Talens products into the Chinese market.
The packaging reflects the brand essence - taking traditional products into a contemporary style that reflects quality and true to it’s form.
We also supported Royal Talens by:
- creating print proofs to ensure paints and printed swatches were almost identical
- collaborating with the Japanese printers to meet their special printing requirements
- checking printing samples
- visiting the label printers to ensure that the labels were accurately produced
We designed a packaging solution that communicates the brand’s reputation for high quality, whilst also appealing directly to the target audience. The package design we developed covered four paint techniques: acrylic, oil, poster and watercolour; and the auxiliaries series.