Delhi's Maatti designs Benetton look - The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column

United Colors of Benetton is one of the country’s best-selling garment companies, even though they are overshadowed by its better-publicised rivals.

30 Jan 2015 | By Noel D'Cunha

Yet, when United Colors of Benneton had to respond to a steep sales surge in its undergarment category over past two years, it wanted to overhaul its packaging model. It approached New Delhi’s Maatti Design to conceptualise and produce the packaging for its new premium collection of garment.

According to the market estimates, the undergarment category remains underpenetrated and thereby holds immense opportunities. It is a rapidly organising segment with declining share of unorganised market giving rise to independent brands. UCB saw the potential.

The Italian clothing brand knew that in order to charm its customers at the point-of-sale they needed to convert a standard product into an experience-based outcome. They decided to rethink the packaging.

“The objective was to strengthen their positioning in the marketplace by offering an exciting new collection of products that is well complemented with a smart packaging,” says Deepshikha Tilwari, merchandiser atMaatti Design, who was given five months to accomplish the entire project. This included market research, design concept, client approval, proofing, first lot trial and final bulk production.

This design specialist with in-house print production capabilities had produced numerous jobs for international brands like Bugatti, Crate & Barrel, Meyer Group, Jacob Jensen and NV Distillery among others, but this was a new challenge.

Maati did a background check and elicited the information that brand has always been one of the vital elements for UCB, not only for their products but also for packaging and collaterals.

“An input in graphical layout might not have left a greater impact,” says Deepshikha, adding, “Instead, an interesting structural design for the packaging of their premium product collection could work.”

The design team headed by Kunal Sehdev, Managing Director, brainstormed the idea to come up with six parameters for the new package to address.

1. It has to be cost-effective (at least in comparison to their current packaging).

2. It must be production-friendly.

3. It should be flat-packed for easy transportation and lower freight costs.

4. It should be easy to assemble and convenient to access for packaging the product.

5. It should have comfortable in-store usage and should result in minimal wear and tear.

6. Finally, it should maintain the ‘colourful’ identity of the brand.

The process of developing a package kick-started, one that would take care of all the parameters and yet be innovative enough to make a difference. The designers worked closely with the production crew as well as the brand owners’ team.

The outcome of three months of design process was a package which was beautiful as well as functional at the same time.

So, what made the pack functional?
There were five innovative features in the new packaging design.

One. The carton was a two-piece construction, where the inner part can be tilted out at a corner pivot to give a view of the product and can be smoothly closed as well.

Two, use of simple paper lip that can be pulled in order to tilt the inner part of the carton.

Three. The functionality of the pack is that it comes with a hook, which is placed in an off-centre position in such a way that the box stands inclined at the point-of-purchase in stores.

Four, the two-piece construction is such that both the outer piece and inner piece can be flattened, and thereby enables easy and cost effective transportation.

And finally, demystifying the colour.

Manufacturing the top job
The production efforts that went into creating the package included a six-colour job produced on our Heidelberg SM 74. Thermal plates with 200dpi were used to print on 350gsm ITC Carte Lumina.  This has been achieved via Kodak Prinergy workflow with Kodak Print Consol 2.2.

The most difficult part of the job, according to Deepshikha Tilwari, was application of hooks and achieving the desired objective of hanging the carton.

“The challenge was in terms of the material used and pasting of the plastic material on to the paper box. We have then made slight change in the construction of the box that has helped the hook to remain stuck with the box and add to aesthetics of the box at the same time,” says Tilwari.

International acclaim
The icing on the cake is that this packaging design has won the prestigious Chicago Good Design Award 2014 for excellence in design, detailing in construction and successful practical execution. This package was selected from among several thousands of entries received from over 48 countries. This is seventh international design award for Maatti Design.

A satisfied client and a prestigious acclaim is a shining feather in Team Maatti’s cap, concludes Deepshikha.

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