Mohamed al Sagheer is a world-renowned Egyptian hairstylist, named as one of the "Top 50" stylists in the world. His representatives sought out the team at Version-X to design concepts for a potential line of prestige haircare products. Given design freedom, we got down on some mood boards and got conceptual.
Getting the opportunity to work with a culture completely opposite of your learned perspectives is quite the treat. But our clients’ representatives specifically asked our team to create an Egyptian product line with an American look and feel. They were attracted to our previous use of foils with other brands, and so started the design research portion of this project.
Design and trend research is my favorite part of the conceptual process. The best teams make this phase highly collaborative, creating an environment ripe for true insight. For this project, we collected inspirational swipe and developed mood boards categorized into four design trends that could inform conceptual packaging ideas true to the clients’ dream.
Geometric shapes combined to form a mark that feels like a piece of jewelry is the key visual trait for this concept. Set against a true black cotton paper and combined with a bright color or pattern throughout the inside of the box, this potential product line embraces sophistication. This concept is the tailored suit coat with bright silk lining of the packaging world.
A simple organic element could become a tastefully complex pattern blind embossed on a portion of the outerbox to give this potential product line a little pizzazz. This concept relies on bringing brand or product hallmarks into the pattern without going too far and leveraging texture as a secondary catch when a consumer feels the box in their hands.
This concept would rely on a complex pattern laser cut from a black cotton paper, wrapped around a brightly colored underbox. Common in the Middle East, we began to explore mashrabiyya designs to speak to the roots of the brand, its ingredients and build an entire packaging experience. Each surface would build the story step by step to a sophisticated product.
FLUORESCENTS + WHITE
Many competitors were using stark white boxes and relied on the brand name to sell the product. For an unknown concept line, we thought flooding the outer box with a bright fluorescent gradient would increase shelf appeal and bring the consumer into the brand story. A simple white band would house the product information.
The clients’ name carried a significant amount of weight in the EMEA market but instead of leveraging his signature as a logotype, we set out to create an iconic monogram that spoke to his roots in a sophisticated modern style. Inspired by the sun and the role it played in Egyptian culture, I explored geometric concepts that subconsciously spoke to the precision and simplicity of our client while also leaving room for areas that could feature complex visual tactics.
Early on in the process, we knew that the client was dead set on a black base for the outerbox. This allowed our team to have a lot of fun with foils, varnishes, or any number of printing tactics to paint the story of the brand.
Mashrabiyya’s became a huge inspiration visually and emotionally. The designs are common throughout the middle east for their use as windows that provide privacy from the outside world yet allow air to pass through to the inside. I wanted to create a custom mashrabiyya for our clients brand that included pieces from the logo in development. That pattern would then be printed, varnished or laser cut from an outer box to reveal a brightly colored underbox.