Visions on the Future of Labelling by Steven de Cleen - Proud Design

What do designers and brand owners think about the future of product labeling? FINAT asked them in a series of video interviews about their vision and thoughts. See below the interview and transcript of Steven de Cleen of PROUD DESIGN.

Visions on future labelling Steven de Cleen - PROUD DESIGN - Amsterdam

Hello, my name is Steven de Cleen, I am the Creative Strategy Director at Proud Design in Amsterdam and we make brands more valuable through design. We like to make people happy, and that makes us proud. And that's our credo, that's our belief, and that's why we are in business.

Most of our clients are looking for a quick fix or a cheap solution. But character doesn't come cheap, and in order to become a brand, you have to invest in it. Packaging is a very important touch point to prove that you are serious about your brand, and that you are different from the rest.

An example we have developed over the past year is called Hoop Brewery. It's a local brewery in Amsterdam and we faced the challenge that there are already many craft beers around. What we tried to do is to set this craft beer apart from the rest by using different materials. Most importantly is, of course, the identity. We created an identity, a brand name called Hoop, which translates very well [to hope] in English. We integrated a symbol into the logo, namely the anchor. And this is the focus of the whole brand.

But we didn't stop there. We looked for a perfect bottle, one that is dark, more black than brown, which gives it a premium look, and our own crown cork with the symbol on it as well.

For labelling, we sourced matte plastic, self-adhesive (because paper would become ugly in the cold environment where beer is normally stored) and also a wrap-around label. It's not always easy to label a wrap-around label perfectly, so we are still working on it. But the fact that we are willing to invest in these kinds of materials, and also that we are not afraid to face this difficulty, sets us apart from the rest of the craft beers.

For a limited edition, we produced our own bottle of [2:38 unclear], which is an old ale. But instead of going with a wrap-around neck label, we decided to go for a tab, symbolizing the flag symbol as if the neck label is in a mast. But this wasn't possible with a standard bottle. So, for this limited edition, we've decided to do it manually and I hope that, at some point, we will find a producer who can supply us with a machine to do it in a more cost-efficient way.

In order to motivate our clients to look at packaging as something that can be more valuable, we decided to develop our own brand, [3:23 unclear]. This is olive oil from Tuscany in Italy and we teamed up with a label manufacturer who was up for a challenge, because we wanted to produce something really different. We created a label with spot varnish and printing that is tactile on top of it, which is very difficult. But we gave this away and we sold it in the market to show that you can add character by choosing your bottle, by choosing your label, and choosing your closure.

You need people to get excited about packaging and to realize that you can do more.

A great example is Quaker, where we made the pack premium by printing on the inside of the carton instead of the outside, which gives this fine, matte finish. Also, we added a shape in it - we call it the fifth side - for extra attention. On top of that, we added gold to highlight the premium nature of the product.

Overall, you can see that attention has been paid to every detail, which makes not only the packaging but moreso the product, more valuable.

We need to combine volume with value thinking. As we do in our own company, where we work for big clients like Quaker Oats, but also do very small, creative projects like [5:11 unclear] olive oil. And both are important because they give us strategic thinking, on the one hand, but also the necessary creativity for creating a known brand, a new brand.

This is something that the industry should embrace as well. Call it professional crafting. Don't be afraid of small batches, production rounds, and try to find uniqueness. Continue to craft, because once you find something, you can always scale the volume aspect of it. But, without the pipeline of crafting, your volume is only compared on price and not on quality. So, you always need to have high quality offerings.

Click on the names below to view the other interviews.

Vision on future labelling Wibo Broek - Vulcaan beer

Visions on future labelling Dennis Dominguez - Peter Schmidt Group GmbH

Visions on future labelling Murtaza Teke - Design Republic - Brussels