Creative Spotlight

The Iron Society – Creative Spotlight

Posted in Branding, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Creative Spotlight, Design, Design Library, Uncategorized on September 3rd, 2013 by Chris Penfold – 13 Comments
The Iron Society Product Range

The Iron Society Product Range

In the latest of our Creative Spotlight series here is a recent brand design that stood out for us. “The Iron Society, is a private men’s barbershop focusing on the clean classic yet modern look of today’s well groomed man, with very few things as important as craftsmanship” according to founder Chris DeSanty. These classic men’s grooming products are designed to have a rugged feel yet everything still has a modern touch for that man looking to be well groomed…and we think they look great…so check out further information and pictures HERE.

Pack To The Future – Packaging Design & Innovation at NTU

Posted in Academia, Business News, Creative Spotlight, Design, Events, Innovation, Materials, Opinion, Technology, Training on August 24th, 2011 by Chris Penfold – 9 Comments
Packaging Design & Innovation 19th Oct 2011

Packaging Design & Innovation 19th Oct 2011

As many of you may know, as well as running Design Cognition, I am Chairman of the East Midlands Packaging Society (based in Nottingham UK) and in that role, my main focus this year is to entice more of you, our valued members, to take part in events and also to encourage ‘new blood’ into the industry.

We’ve got some fantastic events lined-up, in which you could participate in a number of different ways and at a number of different levels – it’s up to you how far you want to get involved.

Much of it will be FREE and could directly benefit you personally and your business.

You may want to participate yourself, or you know someone else that could be interested. Either way, I’m looking for partners and I’d love to hear from you. The aim of the whole exercise is to help raise the profile of packaging but also to facilitate the integration of academia and industry for everyone’s benefit. So this is applicable to:

Students – who may want to learn & enhance career options

Universities – looking for business avenues/partnerships to help commercialise their ideas

Product development companies, packaging suppliers & design agencies – wanting to keep up with latest technology & also identify high calibre students for job placements & opportunities

The first of our events is on 19th October at Nottingham Trent University, 4.30 – 8.30pm with a free buffet and refreshments (see flyer attached).

All are welcome, members and non-members, but pre-registration is essential – just drop me an email to:

Come along and listen to some exciting & leading-edge talks from the university & from the packaging design industry. Network with industry & academic experts – with various table-top demonstrations, discuss your design projects in an informal atmosphere and get practical mentoring help & advice.

Some of the highlighted topics will include:

Smartphone technology & how it can enhance the consumer experience

Using packaging technology to tackle counterfeiting

University research into brand design

Display technology for packing applications

Design of packaging for reuse / recycling

You can find out more about this and other East Midlands Packaging Society events on our ‘ning’ site:

East Midlands Packaging Society website

and also on our LinkedIn Group & Facebook Pages:

EMPS LinkedIn Group

EMPS Facebook page

This is the first of three planned university partnership events during the next 12 months, so whether in academia or business – You decide how you want to get involved, which could be as a speaker, sponsor, exhibitor, trainer or as a participant – how could it best benefit yourself? I really do think that ‘everyone’s a winner’ with this. More details to follow in future blogs.

If you’ve got any other ideas yourself, let me know.

Chris Penfold

Chairman – East Midlands Packaging Society

00 44 115 846 1914

Elo – packaging designer under the ”Creative Spotlight’

Posted in Branding, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Creative Spotlight, Design, Design Cognition News, Design Library, Drinks Packaging, Food Packaging, Gift Packaging, Marketing, Opinion, Uncategorized on February 25th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 10 Comments

At Design Cognition, we are passionate about packaging, design & creativity. We like to work with some of the worlds’ leading edge packaging designers, but also identify and nurture some of the brightest up-and-coming talent coming into the industry. We’re on a mission to unearth the very best designers and creators to see what makes them ‘tick, what ‘fires them up’ to get out of bed in the morning and who/what inspires them. We’re starting a a new initiative called the ‘Creative Spotlight’. In the first of the series we’ve interviewed a fantastic designer from California called ‘Elo’ (MarcELO), who has a very distinctive style all his own. Enjoy! and watch out for other great designer interviews coming soon! Chris Penfold

1. Elo, could you tell us where you’re from and how you got started in the field?

I originally come from South America, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I’ve also lived in Europe and Canada. Today I live in sunny San Diego, California. I came here for school, I graduated and I run my own freelance design company, ElO Designs. I was always involved with art ever since I was a kid. My sisters and I did some plays together and then I thought I was going to be a singer. I took singing classes for 1 year and I formed a band. We were great but too many. Then things started to fall apart and the band was over after a year. Since I like traveling, I wanted to create a website to show my friends and family the places I was visiting at the time. So, I bought my first HTML book and started to learn all by myself how to create websites using only the codes and the notepad. I thought it was a lot of fun and after that I never stopped. My older sister was a graphic designer at the time, she didn’t have a computer and was doing all the arts by hand. Using amber leaf and ruby leaf, gluing stuff together, using the T ruler and ink
pens that needed to be soaked in water over night. “What a mess it was”, (laughs) but I learned a lot from her as well!.

Elo's lovely 'te' packaging for an upmarket tea range

Elo's lovely 'te' packaging for an upmarket tea range

2. Elo, what gives you inspiration when starting a design project? How do you blend all of your ideas in a harmonious way?

Well, my inspiration comes from various places: TV shows, patters, nature, magazines, or just from playing my games sometimes. There are days that my mind is a complete blank. And there are some other days that I get up in the middle of the night with a great idea. Then I either have to write it down or go to the computer and start working on it right away… Now, if I’m working with clients I have a questionare that I send to them to try to understand what they want me to do. Most of the time things go smoothly but sometimes clients have no idea what they want and it gets a little bit hard. In that case, I would say that, when working with indecisive clients it’s always good not to send them too many ideas. Limit yourself to 3 concepts. I like working with colors but I don’t like it when the colors overpower the final composition. So, I try to be really careful on that. It’s also good to know and understand color theory, color wheel, primary, secondary and tertiary colors. That helps to find the balance in the final composition.

Elo's 'old globe' brochure work

Elo's 'old globe' brochure work

3. Did you study graphic design formally in school/college (did that include packaging & typography?) or are you a self-taught artist? And in your opinion what are the pro’s and con’s of each route?
I went to a great Design School here in California and I got an AA( associate degree) in Graphic Arts with great professors. I’m specialized in packaging and print design. I think that when you have some talent school always counts and you can learn great techniques from other professionals. I have seen great design work from people with no schooling and I have seen portfolios from people with Bachelor Degrees that make me think ‘Ummm…really???’. So, I guess it all depends. School helps, It will also help to get technical if you’re not so talented. But school won’t make you. You are the only one who will find your own identity as a designer or artist.

Elo's artistic 'Explore' range of book covers

Elo's artistic 'Explore' range of book covers

4. How do you define yourself as a designer and what strong point do you think that every packaging designer should have?

I define myself as an artist who has a design career for now. I think every packaging designer has to think ‘outside of the box’. It’s important to think about sustainability and about the practical part of the design you are creating. The most important thing is to think about the target audience you are designing/creating for, because they are the ones who are going to consume your product.

Elo's 'naturals' men's packagng range

Elo's 'naturals' packagng range

5. How do you feel that packaging design work differs from other areas in which you work? Why do you think that is?

Well, I like packaging and branding the most amongst all other things that I do.. I also love what I have been doing at the moment, called: “Photo Illustration”. It lets me be very creative and show the ‘true me’ as a designer. But I think all areas have their own importance. Today as a designer you must know a little bit about everything. We are all visual human beings and we are surrounded by designs everywhere. From the time get up to the time we go to bed. If the color differs, if the shape differs, if the usage of the product differs, if you respect the visual hierarchy, the product will cause an instant reaction to the consumers and will stand out from the shelves. That’s when you know the design really works, when it stands out amongst others.

'Birds' - an example of Elo's amazing 'Photo Illustration' work

'Birds' - an example of Elo's amazing 'Photo Illustration' work

6. What’s your favourite piece of packaging design work that you’ve undertaken yourself and why?

I’m happy with all my designs. I never put anything out there if I’m not 100% happy with it. But one of my favorite pieces is my “Eko” Home Cleaning Supplies Design. I put a  lot of thought into it. I was really happy with the overall result and I think I accomplished it beautifully, from the color pallet to the cohesion of the illustrations. The design was recently asked to be featured in a Japanese magazine about packaging and design. I guess I can call it successful right?! (laughs).

Elo's distinctive EKO packaging design

Elo's distinctive EKO packaging design

7. What’s your favourite all-time piece of packaging design that’s out on the market (i.e. designed by someone else) and why?

Oh Man…. that is a tough question for me ’cause I like so many designs. Target these days has great packaging designs. I like “Method” home products, I like “Scotch Brite” eco-friendly sponges, I like Paul Michel shampoo packaging, Aveda has great packaging and great ads as well, I like Michael Graves(industrial design) and Apple designs.

Distinctive packaging of the 'Method' range of homecare products

Distinctive packaging of the 'Method' range of homecare products

8. Thinking specifically about packaging design, who would you say provides you with “design inspiration,” meaning designers that you look up to; and also tell us why you feel this way about  them, what makes them special?

I try not to look much on already done stuff. So, this way when I design something I get my own signature to the product I’m working on. But there are tons of designers that I appreciate, I Like: Michael Graves(Industrial designs) visit his website at ( The guy is a genius. Everything he does has this round polished shape to it and when you look at his products you say: “That is Michael Graves”!

One of Michael Graves' zany kettle designs

One of Michael Graves' zany kettle designs

9.  Any final thoughts for our readers?

When you do something in life, do it with your heart. Always try to push yourself over the limit to get better and better. Read, undertake research, visit blogs, create your own blog, connect to some other groups. There are so many fantastic designers around the world. Never limit yourself. You won’t have fireworks all the time. And you might also find people with huge egos, who will try to cut you off or turn you down as in any other artistic industry. But if you stay true to yourself you will get there!

10. Elo, where can we find you on-line?

My personal website is always an endless work in process. Right now I’m still working on it but you can find me on-line in various places. Here are some:

That’s great. Thanks Elo and all the best for the future – you’re doing some wonderful work there – keep it up.