Design Force supports the toy and entertainment industries with package design and brand licensing design.
We support the global brand leaders in toy and entertainment with unparalleled design for their brands through two distinct disciplines: package design and brand licensing design. And, we do them both extremely well. We’ve evolved our unique philosophies and proprietary methodologies to perfection over the last three decades. And our work engages consumers on an emotional level while providing our clients and their partners with everything they need for their consumer products to be successful at retail.
Learning happens quickly…
but true expertise takes years to develop.
We believe that the best design partners to engage are those who have a finite area of focus and approach their work with passion. Being an expert rather than a generalist means that your skills are so incredibly honed that you do what you do better than anyone else.
Here’s where our passion lies…
RESEARCH & CREATIVE STRATEGY
All of the design work we do is built upon a foundation of thorough research and a sound creative strategy. Our pre-design research is custom-tailored to each engagement to ensure that we understand the brand, its competitors, current and emerging trends within its key categories, and the appropriate visual cues to leverage to appeal to its target audience. This insight allows us to begin design development with clear focus.
CHARACTER ART & ILLUSTRATION
We develop character artwork and illustration assets to support our clients’ licensing programs and package design initiatives. We can match or emulate any conceivable style or generate a look that’s unique to a particular brand. And we manage the entire development process from pose creation and composition to final execution in vector, raster or 3D, whether the artwork is created by members of our talented internal team or through our external resource partnerships.
DESIGN ELEMENTS DEVELOPMENT
Whether core or trend-based, the most important assets found in a licensed brand’s style guide are its design elements. These “ready- made” assets showcase the licensing program’s unique visual aesthetic and are the primary tools that licensee partners use to develop their consumer products. A licensing program’s design elements may include compositions, badges, patterns, type treatments, borders, frames, backgrounds, textures and iconography.
A modern approach to style guide design relies quite heavily on the development of product concepts representing the key retail categories being pursued by a licensed brand. We create innovative product concepts to serve as examples of the proper visual aesthetic for licensee partners to achieve as they develop their product lines. Bringing the licensed brand to life on product also transforms a style guide into a powerful sales tool that will inspire new licensee partnerships.
STYLE GUIDE DESIGN
By definition, a style guide is merely a vehicle designed to deliver a brand’s assets to licensee partners. However, we view a style guide as the portal through which partners enter the world of a licensed brand. We treat every aspect of its design as an opportunity to communicate the essence of the brand and its values, and create a highly-immersive and differentiated experience that inspires creativity and innovation among those who use it.
A brand’s most equitable and recognizable visual assets are its logo, trade dress, design architecture and iconography. These are the elements that create an emotional connection with consumers in every retail category. Whether we’re establishing the look of a new brand or an evolutionary revitalization of the branding for an existing one, we carefully construct an image that accurately and effectively communicates the brand promise.
We believe that packaging is a brand’s most important consumer touch point. After all of the marketing and advertising hype, it’s through packaging that consumers first come in contact with the brand in a tangible way. We refer to package design for non-licensed brands as package design system development because it must always be conceived as a functional system of verbal and visual brand communication with a clear segmentation methodology.
LICENSED PRODUCT PACKAGE DESIGN
Over the past 30 years, we’ve established a unique philosophy and a proprietary approach to the development of licensed product packaging. Unlike packaging for traditional, non-licensed brands, packaging for licensed brands must be designed and standardized from a modular point of view, which allows a licensed product packaging program to accommodate a diversity of structural configurations across a broad range of consumer product categories throughout the retail environment.
We view package structure as a powerful brand differentiator and another opportunity to build visual brand equity, especially within the visually chaotic toy and entertainment product categories. We develop innovative structural design strategies that extend across entire product lines and work with our clients’ internal package engineering teams or with our own package prototyping resources to bring our solutions to life.
A brand can only capture the mindshare of its target audience if it speaks in a single, cohesive brand voice at every possible opportunity. We extend the visual brand assets that derive from its packaging to the entire retail experience. We create countertop and free-standing displays, endcap and aisle displays, shelf danglers, ceiling hangers, floor graphics and any other conceivable point-of-sale vehicle that fits into a brand’s visual merchandising strategy.
Packaging is a brand’s single most important consumer touch point. The impression it makes is the brand’s most enduring and tangible. No matter how well a brand’s packaging is conceived and implemented, it may lose its effectiveness over time. Its package design may become visually outdated and its brand messaging may become diluted or irrelevant within the retail environment due to a multitude of factors.
Consumer brand perceptions and shopping behaviors change. New competitive offerings find their way into every conceivable category. As a result, every brand’s packaging needs to be re-evaluated, reconsidered and potentially refreshed.
- Are you unsure of your brand’s current packaging’s ability to motivate consumer purchase decisions?
- Are retail buyers questioning your brand’s current packaging’s potential for success within your category?
- Has your brand’s current packaging become confusing or visually disjointed as a result of rapid brand growth, poorly strategized product line extensions or too many levels of line segmentation?
The Package Design System Evaluation is a diagnostic engagement that evaluates the effectiveness of your brand’s current packaging and provides a path for its refresh. Fully customizable to address the unique retail circumstances and considerations of non-licensed packaging or licensed product packaging, the evaluation is a written report, which includes the following, depending upon relevance:
– Merchandising and Retail Environment
COMPETITIVE PACKAGING ANALYSIS
CURRENT PACKAGING EVALUATION
– Brand Identity
– Package Design Architecture
– Color Palette
– Segmentation Strategy
– Brand and Marketing Communication
– Structural Strategy
RECOMMENDED REFRESH STRATEGY
“Design Force has been one of our “go-to” design resources for the better part of the last two decades. Whether they’re helping us refresh the package design for our evergreen brands, or establishing a design system for a completely new brand, they never disappoint! Their expertise in developing a cohesive packaging look that works seamlessly across product segments and their innovative approach to structure design make them a valuable asset to the Spin Master creative team.”Kris Jackson
“It was amazing to work with the Design Force team on our most recent licensing style guide project. They provided us with great design solutions while accommodating our aggressive timelines. They were extremely patient with all of our feedback and the project was a success for the brand and for our company. We’re glad to have partnered with Design Force.”Sandra Jo
“We’re excited about what Design Force created for the WAL! We were blown away by how well the new logo captures the essence of our league. The design is classic and bold, with just enough attitude to stand apart from every other league out there. Their hard work gave us a solid visual base to build upon as the WAL continues to grow and dominate the sport of arm-wrestling!”Steve Kaplan
“Look at their work, read the testimonials, follow Ted's thinking. Try to find someone better. I dare you. Having spent more than 30 years in the design field, including 24 years at Hasbro in creative roles ranging from package designer to Vice President of Global Creative in Licensing, I've worked with countless designers and design agencies. To say that Design Force “gets it” is an understatement. Your design budget simply cannot be better or more wisely spent.”Michael Provost
“While at Toys 'R' Us, I worked with Ted and the Design Force team on the brand repositioning, brand identity and package design refresh, and style guide development for one of our biggest private label brands. Many demographic and cultural factors were taken into account during the pre-design process. Under Ted’s direction, his team employed the perfect balance of design and marketing savvy to execute effectively against our global brand strategy.”Arline Wall
“I’ve known Ted for as long as I’ve been with Marvel, and have relied on Design Force as a valued design partner on countless high-profile packaging and style guide design initiatives over the years. Their understanding of the Marvel Universe combined with their industry expertise, research and design approach, and passion for what they do make every project a success. And, they’re an absolute pleasure to work with!”Chris Fondacaro
“The Design Force team truly established a powerful and consistent retail presence for the Thunderbirds Are Go brand. They created a great look for our animated series’ packaging program, with guidelines that are intuitive and easy for our licensee partners to follow. We love how perfectly the design extends across the packaging for Vivid Toys’ entire line of products.”Sarah Baines
“We decided to work with the Design Force team on the consumer product style guide and packaging program for The Nut Job 2 because of the world-class work they do for the global brand leaders in the entertainment industry. And they did not disappoint! They perfectly captured the essence and attitude of the film and provided us with a powerful tool for our licensee partners.”Elena Lee