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Dutch Design Series Featuring Anthem

by Jessica Deseo on 11/09/2016 | 6 Minute Read

Today we dive into the design of the Netherlands, in our Dutch Design Series we will featuring until our upcoming, The Dieline Conference. Today we are featuring Design Agency, Anthem and featuring the brand, Unox. 


Tell us about your agency? Anthem is a global creative agency that actively connects brands with people by amplifying desirability—creating an insatiable thirst for brands from package design to brand campaign. Anthem sells brands to drive brand performance. Anthem is an SGK Group company and SGK is a division of Matthews International Corporation (NASDAQ GSM: MATW).

How did all start? Clarence W. Schawk founded the business in 1953 from the basement of his aunt’s home on the northwest side of Chicago. He was newly married, and with his tour of duty as a U.S. Marine in the Pacific Theater and a few years’ experience in the industry making printing plates behind him, he realized, as many entrepreneurs do, that he could make a better product. He invested the $500 he and wife Marilyn received as wedding gifts in himself and the American Dream.The business began to grow, and through the years the name Schawk became synonymous with superior quality and outstanding customer service. Like many entrepreneurs, Mr. Schawk was passionate about the business and setting new standards in the industry for both the products he produced and the people he employed.

Following a four-decade period of acquiring more than 25 prepress companies in North America, the Company began expanding its capabilities to include design and technology and to expand its footprint into Asia Pacific. In the mid 1990s, SGK began acquiring established award-winning design agencies in the U.S. and Canada. And in 1997, SGK created a global graphics management software service for brands, the first created for the graphics industry to meet the unique demands of consumer product packaging. In the late 1990s, SGK entered the Asian Pacific market and began serving the needs of global companies in the region with local insights. During the 2000s, SGK acquired additional branding and design agencies around the world, further expanding and deepening its competency in this area of the business and branded these Brandimage and Anthem. In 2014, SGK was acquired by Matthews International and the Matthews Brand Solutions Group was integrated into SGK. 

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What is your showcase? What can you tell us about it? With the Unox Soup Portfolio & Range Architecture as starting point we’ve initiated to develop a specific Unox Design Architecture. The visual brand identity system that we created and build over the last 4 years has proved to be solid, effective and flexible. It consists of the Unox branding in combination with the beacon shape that allows us to express the specific characteristics of the different propositions whilst strengthening Unox’s brand equity. It respects the heritage of Unox and its well loved ranges like Stevige whilst providing a strong platform for new introductions like Proeverij aimed at attracting new consumers to the brand.

Creative director: Sara JonesSenior designers: Merle Waterman, Kim DeroDesign Strategy: Arthur Brandenburg van den GrondenAccount: Monique Linders

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What was your solution?The main objective of the brief was to reflect the various propositions from value, lower & upper mass and premium. So the extensive soup portfolio becomes much clearer for consumers as client felt that the proposition differentiation was rather weak and confusing. A visual brand identity system (Unox logo & U-beacon) has been created to: 

  • Clearly identify and differentiate the various propositions
  • Strengthen brand recognition and blocking on shelf
  • Facilitate variety navigation

The U-beacon can vary in size, colour and texture as well as in content. Also the background is flexible in colour, photography and texture. Within this system food photography is playing an important role to express the lead message of the proposition. Ie. in the recently introduced ‘Proeverij’ range the delicious, expertly crafted and artisanal recipes are being reflected by seductive & honest photography which is enhanced in the final execution by a combination of mat & gloss finish.

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Why is this work so special and what does it say about your agency? The work for Unox represents our agency well because of the absolute attention to food appeal. We pride ourselves on being able to give Unox a real identity when it comes to the quality and depiction of the food & ingredients – from the way the shot is lit, to the imperfections & rustic feeling of the backgrounds and the attention to typography. Even without the Unox logo we aim to breathe the brand through the remaining visual cues. Above all, we believe that photography is the 'make or break' of food packaging, it has the ability to create desire, make you feel hungry, make your mouth water – all without a single word.The special quality of this work is the flexibility of the Design Architecture – innovations and new varieties are all able to be encompassed under this true Unox signature. Clear thinking, beautifully designed.

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What makes the design Dutch?Dutch design often is simple and powerful. No-nonsense if you like.Unox designs are always simple and always bold as a result of the visual architecture that is centered around the U-beacon that allows for a single lead message presented with impact. So in this sense one can speak about a design with a typical Dutch signature

Although the brand is Dutch, the audience is Dutch, the design team isn’t. For more than 25 years the design team consistently has been an Anglo-Dutch combination so in a way this typical  Dutch signature actually is an eclectic mixture of Dutch no-nonsense with the typical Anglo ability of creating food appeal that is aspiring and desirable. No-nonsense design that aspires to be desirable. 

What way would you describe Dutch packaging design?Dutch packaging design is a reflection of Dutch culture that has a strong international orientation.Dutch people like being Dutch, no-nonsense and without unnecessary thrills.At the same time their orientation is beyond the national borders because of trade, travel and holidays. And with that one can clearly see that Dutch packaging design is characterized by a Dutch no-nonsense foundation that aspires to be international inspired or fueled by international (eating) cultures.


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BNO NEXTpack: the next step in packaging design BNO NEXTpack is the packaging design source of the Netherlands. Inspiring convincing and surprising information about the importance of packaging design in the daily lives of everyone. NEXTpack stimulates the imagination, provides insights into the discipline and responds to relevant developments and social discussions. BNO NEXTpack represents the main Dutch packaging design agencies: Anthem, Bataafsche Teeken Maatschappij, BooM creatives, Bowler & Kimchi, Brum Design, dBOD, Design Bridge, Dream Catch, FLEX / design, Millford, OD, PROUDdesign, Reggs, SOGOOD, VBAT and WAACs.

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