October 20, 2015
In addition to creating products for effie’s paper, I also design private label products for clients. Private–label products or services are typically those manufactured or provided by one company for offer under another company’s brand. Private–label goods and services are available in a wide range of industries from food to cosmetics to web hosting. Paper products are no exception to the rule here!
Designing private label products presents a unique challenge – you’re hired for your aesthetic, but you’ve got to create something that will be associated with the brand and not you or your brand. But, because a company is hiring you because of your design sensibilities, they generally want a little something of your style to inform what you create for their brand.
In essence, when a company hires you to create their private label product, they are hiring you to bring their brand/personality to life in your space (in my case, stationery and paper products). Often times, you’re being hired because the company has seen your work and likes it, but they want you to create something that is specific to them. Over the course of time, I’ve found that the more information a private label client gives me up front the easier it is to create products for them. As a result, all of my private label clients are asked to complete a comprehensive Creative Brief . A Creative Brief is a document created through initial meetings, interviews and discussions by a client for a designer before any work begins. A Creative Brief is the client’s opportunity to tell the designer about their brand, their customers and what’s important to them that the designer must keep in mind as she’s creating for them. Once the Creative Brief is completed, it informs and guides the design work.
The Creative Brief provides a roadmap for the visual identity I am creating for the company. It usually takes me a few days to process the information the company provides in the creative brief. Once I do, I head on over to my favorite social media platform, Pinterest. Pinterest is like a visual Google for me. I search for images that make what’s in my head (based on what the client’s told me) start to come to life – images that will inspire my design juices. The inspiration board is two-fold; it gets my creative juices flowing and it gives me a visual platform to show the client to insure that we’re on the same page before any design work actually begins.
Once I get signoff from the client on the Inspiration Board I’ve created for them, I start working on ideas for the private label products. This includes colors, patterns and fonts. My goal is to create a distinctive tone and look that will exemplify the branded products the client plans to sell. I distill these ideas down and create an Identity Board. Again, this board is presented to the client to make certain they’re ok with the design direction. An Identity Board also helps the client see how their verbal requests start to become more than just an idea. Once the client signs off on the Identity Board the designing begins.
Depending on the project, we’ll generally go through two to three rounds to get everything just right. This is the fun part – making what someone else has in their head come to life in the form of stationery and other paper products! I recently had the pleasure of working on a private label product project with a company called Black Southern Belle.
The name of the company says it all, Black Southern Belle is a lifestyle brand focused on Southern Black women. I love the brand and what it’s founder Michiel Perry has created, but I’m not from the South. I’m a Northerner . . . So, Michiel gave me a crash course in all things Southern – sweet tea, magnolias and polka dots, for example. As you can see from the Black Southern Belle Inspiration Board, clean lines, minimal color, stripes, polka dots and a touch of whimsy were all elements very important to Michiel. The BSB Identity Board takes those ideas and begins to translate them into what will eventually become the initial suite of private label products for Black Southern Belle. Et volià – from Michiel’s concept to the finished product as you can see below. If you’re interested in learning more about my private label design services, I’d love to chat with you, please email me at email@example.com.