One of our partners, Dan Mikkin, was invited by Vasili Andreyev to lead an intensive packaging design course at the summer session of the British Higher School of Art & Design.
The course was very intensive indeed – in two days (!) students had to produce believable mock-ups of a 3-member packaging range. The brief was based on a real case Brand Manual is working on right now for the Russian market – so we can't reveal too much detail of the product so far (In due time, we'll come back to that). But for students that meant working on something live and real, which gave the whole exercise a totally different feel.
Dan met the course with low expectations - and was blown away by extremely high level of both creativity as well as executional skills. The 18-strong course was given an introduction of our approach to packaging and identity as such, then briefed - both orally as well as by written text. Divided into 4 groups, they had to work as teams, delegating tasks and optimising the workload. By the end of day one they already had all produced plausible draft concepts, day two showed impressive presentations with half a dozen shiny mock-ups. All of them were tested on a virtual shop shelf in Moscow against competition - and at least three of them, with minor tweaks, could have been shipped to retail right away. Beware of the young Russain designers!
One of the tasks students were faced with was a Nordic feel of the product - although meant for the Russian market, it had to have a foreign feel (that can be a selling argument for local consumers). Amazingly, students created more Scandinavian packages than Scandinavians do. Just being inspired by Nordic nature, lifestyle and design, not copying anything in particular. Strong, original stuff!
If you read Russian, here's a more comprehensive review of the whole session in the leading Russian packaging design webizine What the Pack?