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- Packaging , Graphic Design

Stylish, colourful and clever

Kingdom & Sparrow is an agency that right from the start specialised in packaging. They develop intelligent solutions, carefully implemented, that turn into real eye-catchers on the shelves. We talked to the creatives, whose credo is simply ‘Designed Differently’.


Packaging is a speciality of Kingdom and Sparrow. What is it that fascinates you about this field of design?

We love food & drink! It really did start out as simple as that. We all love ‘lifestyle’ products & packaging and started our business just as the artisan and small-batch food revolution was going mainstream. Designing for physical products that you can see on display gives us a real sense of achievement, for us and our clients.

With your packaging designs there’s often a special feature, such as the separate empty space for the shells in a pack of pistachio nuts. How important is it, in times of growing environmental awareness, to think about additional benefits like this when designing a packaging? Do your clients from industry value this kind of thing more now?

Packaging is definitely playing a much bigger role in product and brand awareness. For food and drink in particular, consumers are more aware of environmentally-friendly or reusable packaging. Clients, too, can see the potential in being responsible and offering something with longevity and dual purpose, such as jars or tins. We do find clients are looking for the most sustainable and beneficial solutions for customers.


What parameters play a big part in packaging development today?

There’s so much you can do with print and manufacturing, it’s constantly evolving, but it all comes down to each individual client’s process and budget. If you’re on a small budget but are hand packaging, you can still add fantastic elements to your packaging that big factory packagers can’t. Timescales are also important. If you want to get your packaging developed and shipped from China it’s going to take a lot longer to get to you. We need to take all of this into consideration when we design.

Your projects display a wide stylistic diversity. How do you manage to keep coming up with these different approaches in the visual design?

Creativity is really important to us, we make time to explore new techniques and we have a very diverse in-house team with different skillsets, such as artists, photographers and illustrators as well as designers. We’re really collaborative, so we share and hone each other’s work. This lends itself well to creativity, bouncing ideas off each other and exploring new avenues. It keeps our work fresh and makes sure we’re doing what’s right for our clients, not what’s comfortable for us.


For Bitter Union you produced an unusual bottle label. Because of the precision of this design, the production side can’t have been easy. Can you tell us something about it?

We always interrogate people on the production side so that we know what the design limitations are, but that said we do tend to challenge clients. Bitter Union do everything by hand so there was a real opportunity to do something different and we worked with them on how to achieve this in production. With so many big brands jumping on the craft, small-batch bandwagon it’s really important for clients to stand apart and shout about how special their product is, we try and help them do this through the packaging and actually their production really is genuinely different so they can add those special touches.


And last but not least, which product or which brand would you like to have the chance of re-designing?

We’d love to work with the British classic, Bass ale.


This interview was first published in novum 12.17 (main topic: »Packaging«). Single issues (Print / PDF):