Loughborough Design students respond to Signet Branding live brief with innovative designs

As part of Loughborough Design Week, Signet Branding invited second year Loughborough Design students to respond to their live industry brief to develop and create a new pack design for one of their fictitious rum brands.

Signet Branding has over 25 years of experience as specialists in brand-enhancing embellishments and packaging accessories for luxury goods. Since 2006, the business has focused in the premium & luxury spirit and liquor sector, and is now operating on a global scale.

The aims of their brief presented to students were to:

“Develop several fictitious brand designs to showcase innovation within our packaging embellishment products. We are looking to develop the brands to produce marketing material so we can share ideas with our customers. We love to innovate, and our goal was to challenge the students to see if they could develop new ideas that push the boundaries and make extraordinary embellishments.“

Each design was analysed on 5 key factors:

  • The bottle opening experience and the journey it takes the consumer on
  • The embellishment created and the story it told
  • Ideation and development process
  • Beauty shot or final visual of the product
  • The final design and its wow factor

Jake Wise, Designer at Signet Branding, along with Directors Ian, Roy, and Roger Lyon, judged the student responses and have awarded the following places:

First Place – Edward J Bromilow

Student comments:

"Blackout Bourbon is a snapshot of the prohibition era. It was hidden away, smuggled, and distributed through underground channels on the black market and enjoyed throughout a number of secret speakeasies. Created in secret distilleries, hidden away from the view of the world, it was enjoyed by only those brave enough to dare."

Judges’ comments:

“Edward has taken us on a creative journey through a sophisticated ideation process which explores and clearly shows his thoughts and the design process. The opening experience and bottle sleeve provides several moments of drama or excitement which helps to create a unique brand with a bold design language. Edward has created a luxurious aesthetic that would be very appealing in the market and he has truly considered our product range as well as the design for manufacture aspects.“

Second Place – Sarah-Jane Brown

Student comments:

"During the briefing on the first day of design week, we were told that 70% of purchase decisions were made in store, I wanted to really use this to my advantage, designing a bottle that would create intrigue the moment someone picked it up, and so asked myself what if packaging could tell a story? Which is where my concept came from - I wanted to show the story behind the rum, and how its created.

The surrounding base is made from recycled sugarcane pulp. The sugarcane residue is extracted and pressed into the pulp board which can be formed into different shapes for packaging. Once used, this can be composted and biodegrade back into the ground it was taken from. The cross section view at the top of the casing shows what's inside the natural sugarcane displaying an insight into the manufacturing process. The subtle sugar crystals creeping up the side of the bottle then represent how it goes from the raw material into a delicious drink. Allowing customers to enjoy the taste more when they know where its coming from."

Judges’ comments:

“The final concept tells the brands story well by creating a hand-crafted aesthetic with a contemporary feel. The idea of utilising the waste products from the rum production is incredibly innovative which not only generates a feeling of responsibility but provides an amazing experience through its tactile quality, smell, and the natural colour. I would like to think that this would awaken all the senses which would connect deeply with the consumer.”

Third Place – Rory Allen

Student comments:

"The task was to create a bottle design for a rum brand, '6 Pence Rum', which incorporated a unique and memorable opening experience, as well as a high end bottle embellishment. My design uses the coin, which has ties to the company's history, to create a resonating gong sound when the bottle is opened, similar to the experience of opening champagne. The bottle has embossed lettering which spells out the original Paliamentary order from which the company was established."

Judges’ comments:

“The opening experience for creating theatre through sound is unique and interesting. Rory’s bottle design is impressively striking, and it would certainly stand out from the competition.”

Notable mentions were also awarded to Chasrai Jhita, Natasha Faye Bolton, and Harrison Martin for how their designs pushed boundaries, their sketch ideations, and innovative concepts.

Speaking of the experience, Jake explains that:

“We are very impressed with the students results, and we have enjoyed the process of delivering a brief, specific to our industry. Seeing the brief explored in so many different variations has really given us a lot to think about in terms of our innovation. To be able to have a connection with one of the top design courses in the world and to provide a brief to the up-and-coming talented minds has been an incredible opportunity and one that we would hope to build on in the future.”

Jon Sutton, University Teacher in Design Practice also explains that:

“Design Week is an invaluable part of the student experience enabling real world insight within their academic course.  Loughborough has a reputation of producing highly employable graduate designers and it is events such as Design Week which position our students well when leaving the University”.

As a result of the design work submitted, Signet Branding have advised they may also reach out to students in view of a future collaboration.

Congratulations to all our students!