Mix & Match: from an idea to a bottle
“Brainstorming” –what’s your spontaneous reaction to the word? In this regard, there tend to be two different types of personality:
- Those totally motivated people who start to collect their thoughts and firm up their inspirations.
- And the others, who sigh and attempt to wrest some creativity from their reluctant brains.
Among our clients, too, as experience has shown, there are representatives of both groups. For all those who are inclined to struggle with new ideas, a team of our colleagues has now come up with a remedy.
One specific case of brainstorming could be a new container design as part of an upgrading project. For instance, the client already has a line, but now wants to alter the design of his product. In a meeting, LCS staff attempt to identify solutions that are as closely as possible in accord with what the client wants, while conforming to the technical framework conditions involved. But so far there’s always been a snag with this: you see, prior to the meeting, lots of clients simply didn’t know precisely what they wanted. Which is why large parts of these meetings were regularly employed on developing shared wishes and ideas. And then rejecting them. And then developing new ones again.
It’s precisely here that Mario Casper and his colleagues come in. The intern Giulia Nemmert originally developed a “Design Book”, making it easier for clients to decide on their future bottle design. The whole thing has now been given an even more practical form: clients can very simply try out variations online under www.krones.com/mixandmatch/. There’s not really very much that needs explaining – the application functions quite intuitively, like designing an avatar in a computer game, or like some children’s books: the bottle is divided into three parts, with different options to choose from for each component. Since these can be freely combined at will, the options involved are innumerable. This is why Mario Casper has an important caveat at this point: “When we send the client the link, we always point out that the application is intended only as an aid and an inspiration. Whether the bottle can actually be implemented in precisely this form is something that then has to be checked by the designer in a meeting with the client. With the bottle bases, particularly, we’re constrained by technical preconditions, of course, and what’s more, the bottle has to be suitable for the machine installed at the client’s facility.” And there’s one other restriction: “Unfortunately, we can’t use the application for hotfill bottles, because there the technical preconditions are simply too complex. But this basically simple tool makes most other projects quite a bit less complicated.”
The first step has already been taken: the client now has an option for developing an idea for his future bottle undisturbed, without any outlay and without any time pressure. This, says Mario Casper, also has a psychological advantage: “Our experience so far shows that clients are very much happier with the end-product if it originates from an idea of their own. Even if we ourselves would perhaps have come up with something similar in our brainstorming, the idea would then always have been a little bit “ours”, a little bit “not theirs.”
When the client has put together his “ideal bottle”, he can simply print it out and supplement it by hand if necessary: which makes it much easier to discuss structures, logos or the label placement during the meeting with the client. “Quite generally, it makes communication a whole lot easier,” emphasises Mario Casper. “Language barriers and lack of drawing talent, for instance, are much less problematic if you’ve got something visual in front of you.”
Meanwhile, the tool has been in use for several months, and the five-strong LCS bottle design team has every reason to be satisfied.