10 Questions with Pemberton and Whitefoord

by Elizabeth Freeman on 06/15/2015 | 4 Minute Read

Editorial photograph

Interviewer: Theresa Christine Johnson, Editor at The Dieline 

Interviewee: Simon Pemberton, Co-founder Pemberton and Whitefoord 

Adrian Whitefoord, Co-founder of Pemberton and Whitefoord 

1. Congratulations on winning two awards at The Dieline Awards! There were a number of wonderful designs this year. What, in your opinion, sets apart a good design from a great one?

I think the best designs tend to have a really strong core idea or concept that is communicated in a clear and interesting way. All of the aspects of the pack are considered and meticulously crafted – they tend to stand out from the crowd in a unique way. It is all about being relevant to the product and ensuring it is depicted in a concise way.



2. What is Pemberton & Whitefoord’s design philosophy?

History illustrates, with great clarity, the benefits of great design in all arenas of cultural development, whether relating to architecture, engineering, printed material or a retail store experience. Great design enhances, rewards and creates loyalty. It is the unsung hero of commerce.P&W take inspiration from the past with a vision for the future.



3. What is your design process? 

At P&W we have a creative and strategic process that helps our clients through the commercial jungle by delivering unique, intelligently crafted design solutions.

1- CONTEXT- always considering end usage and application, 

2- CLARITY – looking at the bigger picture in a strategic way.

3- CREATIVITY- creating original ideas and concepts that create a point of difference and deliver results in the business arena.

4- CRAFT – ensuring the creative idea is realised perfectly with thoroughness and attention to detail.

5- CONCLUSION – ensuring our solutions work for our clients through all touch points of the 




4. You’ve had brands all around the world come to you for your services. What do you think P&W provides that makes it unique?

In a word, empathy. It is a strength we seem to have at P&W. We are able to adapt to client needs and expectations, whether they are based in the UK, USA, Russia, Japan or Saudi Arabia. We research selling environments, competitor brands, and cultural influences and never assume that a solution that works in one country will work in another. I think it helps that, unlike some design consultancies, P&W has never had a “house style”, we adjust our creative perspective accordingly. Our successes internationally are dependent on empathy; an open mind coupled with a willingness to understand and learn in order to reach the right conclusions and manifest them via practical application.



5. Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere. We propagate original thinking and inspiration and this can be found all around us- from more traditional sources like retail environments, art galleries, books to online blogs and image libraries – The danger today is for designers to take the short cut and just use the online method, but it is really key to look at all the ingredients and sources to create a more original viewpoint. Often different categories inspire each other especially in the physical pack formats.



6. On your site, you state that great design is a balance of creativity and commerciality. How do you find the harmony between these two elements?

Creativity is the tool P&W use to define and accomplish commercial goals. We do not see creativity and commerciality at odds with one another. They are not in conflict; they are allies, key drivers that facilitate the fascinating journey from first pencil sketch to fulfillment, accomplishing the interlinked objectives of information, communication, functionality and desirability.



7. What types of projects excite you the most? Is there a particular quality they all have in common?

NPD packaging projects and large retail solutions – projects where you can extend and influence all touch points of the brand. 



8. P&W prides itself in its project management style. What can clients expect when working with you?

Honesty, integrity, creativity and insight, all delivered with a spirit of mutual collaboration. We have a passion for what we do, but we do not let that cloud our vision, we channel it in order to deliver the right solution for our client. 



9. What are the biggest challenges you encounter as a designer, and how do you overcome them?

Trying to ensure everything we do is relevant and the concept is right for the brand and the client. Today there are plenty of solutions that have been engineered or 'sold in' that create mediocrity rather than addressing and solving the brief with original ideas and solutions.



10. What is your most valuable advice to an aspiring designer?

Think with your head and your heart. Always listen but don't always agree. Never stop looking and learning. Enjoy and take pride in your work.


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