Isha Deshpande and dedication to making packaging stand out

Isha Deshpande, director, Trigon Digipack, and winner, Young Business Leader, share the joys and challenges of working in the pre-media segment for packaging

15 May 2024 | By PrintWeek Team

Isha Deshpande, Trigon Digipack

How did you celebrate this win with your team?
For me, this was a win for the entire Trigon family and for the customers we serve. At Trigon, every win is a celebration — not just because it is another victory but because our hard work is being recognised. I had a small celebration with my Delhi team because I am based there. I definitely look forward to celebrating with my Mumbai team when I’m there next.

You began your Trigon journey during the pandemic. In what way did consumer behaviour affect the pre-media segment for packaging?
There was a paradigm shift in consumer-buying before and after the pandemic. There was an awareness that grew amongst consumers to purchase well-packed products, which resulted in a growth in demand for packaging. 

The pandemic also led to the birth of several start-ups that were trying to compete with existing FMCG brands. It was important for them to stand-out and have a “wow” factor in their packaging design. It is human psychology to believe that what looks good, will “be” good. Today, companies are willing to invest heavily in their packaging to ensure it has a high appeal.

You have worked with P&G, Colgate, and Emami and start-ups. What are the design challenges of an FMCG major as opposed to a start up?
In FMCGs, the designing process is very different because it goes through several levels of approval due to the organisation structure and hierarchy. One of our major verticals is creating mockups for FMCG companies globally to bring their imagination to life. They receive the final approval for production. However, for start-ups, it mainly involves either a single person or a small team that takes the final call before proceeding. But I do believe that start-ups are equally — if not more — careful about every design aspect to make their mark in a market with so many other prominent players.

A lot of brands are now outsourcing their design and labour needs to pre-media specialists, especially in India. What, according to you, is the reason for this surge in the importance of pre-media in publication and packaging? What, in particular, are Trigon's solutions?
According to me, packaging is nothing but dressing your product well. One of the biggest reasons someone buys a product for the first time is because it looks appealing. I believe it automatically increases the credibility of a product, which is why brands are taking the design aspect very seriously and are willing to invest in expertise. 

At Trigon, we consider ourselves to be packaging partners and not just packaging vendors. Brands seek support in terms of adding value to their existing designs. We have a team of pre-press executives and designers that provide their inputs if needed. We also work directly with many design agencies and bring an idea to life. Our customers work with us because of the packaging journey that we embark on together. 

You have forayed into canisters, rigid boxes and mono cartons. What is the technology at the core of any pre-media company that makes it successful? There are a slew of small and big software companies introducing new pre-media software everyday. How does one know what to buy?
It is important to understand the customer's business to a level that you are considered a partner. This helps to forecast your investment strategy in terms of buying technologies, machines, or software. It also helps you to venture into new verticals of business — this is what Trigon does. 
Trigon started its journey as a proofing and mock-up company, and today we are one of the most preferred partners for small and medium quantities of all kinds of packaging requirements globally.

What are the typical challenges that a pre-media firm such as Trigon sorts out? Is it the harmonisation of colours across range, reproducing the same output across different substrates, or addressing distortion parameters while executing the designs?
Technology combined with expertise can create the value proposition in all your offerings. For us, everyday, we turnaround 20-25 jobs with different materials and packaging formats. 

The standardisation and colour calibration of each material on the print device is the most important factor and it needs to be continuously monitored. Due to the advancement in the technology and inbuilt spectrophotometer, the chances of colour variation are reduced dramatically. 

The biggest challenge I see today is not the smooth operations of the production facility, but to sustain and grow exponentially looking in the most golden era of the Indian economy.

Have you spotted any impressive innovations in the mockup process?
Trigon is a pioneer in creating mockups to help brands finalise their design, colours, content, et cetera, on the substrate. We make Trupacks as well. The stark difference between them is that a Trupack can be used for product testing too. We use the same substrate and production technique to enable brands to use these in their consumer research studies. 

Today, we have an entire production setup for commercial packaging runs, which we also use to make these Trupacks. 

How do you nurture and develop talent and self-belief in your team members – both male and female? 
Culture and leadership are the key factors in this. The growth of a company doesn’t just lie in the hands of the top management, but also in the hands of all the people working in that organisation. “You grow, the company grows,” is one of my major beliefs. 

Individual goals and the will to constantly polish your skills is what directly impacts the growth of a company. I don’t believe gender has anything to do with one’s performance in a company. You will always be recognised by your work. I also believe that providing feedback and explaining the impact of every act is instrumental in ensuring a productive and motivated workforce.

One WOW project you created...
I strongly believe that all of our projects are WOW projects! We strive very hard to provide a solution to every packaging idea envisioned by our customers. We think of every new project as a milestone and keep upgrading our infrastructural capabilities since they are all opportunities to grow and offer more solutions. Be it printing on actual wood pulp sheets to providing printed jute prototypes, we say “yes” to every job.