Kit Hinrichs on Elevating Brands Through Masterful Packaging

By: Kit Hinrichs, Founder, Studio Hinrichs

Packaging is the first opportunity for brands to establish their value with a consumer and is therefore vital to a company’s ability to make an impression—to make a first sale and then, hopefully, convert a consumer into a brand ambassador.

The Standard 7: Packaging Perceptions is the latest in Sappi North America’s educational/marketing series on their premium paper and paperboard offerings. The series is in its 10th year of production and is the company’s primary print promotion.

The Standard 7 concept was based on research stating that the perceived value of a product and its desirability to consumers is always elevated by a strong sensory experience—the visuals and the haptics—of its physical packaging. Industry research noted that one-third of purchasing decisions are made based on packaging alone!

Standard 7 is filled with unique packaging demonstrations in several product categories. Understanding that different markets need specialized product perceptions, like Precision (chronometer), Elegance (cosmetics), True (hair color), Practical (garden shears) Sophisticated (cologne), Handcrafted (tequila), and Traditional (English tea), was key in engaging the audience’s emotional resonance to the packaging.

While we certainly explored enhancing traditional packaging forms, we were particularly excited to create new shapes (an elephant box) and configurations (an origami box) to spark the imagination and to include production techniques like textured coatings (a woodgrain UV coating) and varnishes, specialty inks plus embossing, foil stamping, and rub-off chocolate smells to make each page of the promotion a delightful surprise.

Besides being a demonstration of the best in packaging production, each concept is illustrated by world-class artists and photographers and combined with an array of innovative typographic iterations. In addition, the inclusion of production notes provides a complete inventory of printing techniques for reference and use in their next packaging project. Standard 7 not only continues to extend the value of the series, but it also re-affirms the quality and reliability of Sappi paper to print, design, and marketing audiences across multiple industries.

Design: Studio Hinrichs

Writer: Delphine Hirasuna

Illustrators: Nancy Stahl, Mario Zucco, Mallory Heyer, Daniel Pelavin

Photography: Getty Images 

Printer: Jeff Hernandez, Classic Color

Kit Hinrichs served as principal in several design offices in New York and San Francisco and spent 23 years as a partner of Pentagram before opening Studio Hinrichs in 2009. His design experience incorporates a wide range of projects, including brand development, promotion, packaging, environmental graphics, editorial, and exhibition design. He is also a noted American flag collector and founder of the Stars & Stripes Foundation.

Kit’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Denver Museum of Art, and the Letterform Archive. In addition to authoring Narrative Design, he has coauthored five books, including Typewise, Long May She Wave, and The Pentagram Papers. He co-founded @issue: The Journal of Business and Design. Kit has chaired the AIGA California Show (the first regional show in AIGA’s 100-year history), the AIGA Business Conference, and the San Francisco Design Lecture Series. He is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale and an AIGA medalist.

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Narrative Design: Kit Hinrichs

An extraordinary book and unparalleled collection of work, celebrating Kit Hinrichs creative life as he recounts his narrative design work covering over 50 years and all stages of his career.

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Author: Graphis