Interview: Old Navy Packaging

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We had the chance to chat with Jason Rosenberg, Senior Packaging Designer for Old Navy about his latest packaging that recently hit stores! The rest of the interview after the jump!

What was your involvement with this project?

I was heavily involved in this project from the very start and was tasked to art direct for the ‘mother load’ of Old Navy packaging –our basics for the men’s and boy’s divisions. Products like our tees, underwear, socks, belts, shoes, etc. This meant presenting a new creative design direction as well developing new package design to house the various products in our stores.

What was your timeline?

From the day I was presented with this project: developing new creative and a new packaging architecture, I had a little over 5 months to present creative, land on structure, and materials and keeping costs within budget and make it into Old Navy stores for a Fall 2007 release.

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What sort of problems or complications did you run into?

There were many challenges. As a large retailer and with so much product to package we use vendors across the globe. A key feature to the packaging was to create a realistic look on the various stamps used throughout, not to mention using my actual handwriting to call out the product itself. We worked on digital production solutions to ensure that our printed packages would really look “freshly written on” and just “received from the mailroom”. Conveying the complexity of how to properly produce this effect and ensuring quality control across so many vendors was a real challenge. At the end of the day, I wanted each package to look like it came from the same supply factory, but have unique characteristics from blemishes to hidden stamps, to a truly realistic looking scotch tape.

How many total SKUs were there?

For our US and Canadian stores there were about 80 SKU’s for around 900 stores.

What is the design process you typically go through from concept to production?

I find that a great way to start a project is to go competitive shopping. I want to find out what other products are doing well and what they may be doing poorly. This is a great way to find out what to avoid and also if your lucky, find a technique that might work well for your project or lead to something innovative. It’s also a good way to get cross functional partners involved in the beginning and set up a platform, if you will of how things may develop.

At that point, it time to grab inspiration from the direct to very conceptual. This is a way to create a mood, a point of view, show color ways, type treatments and even preliminary copy to create messaging or enhance brand POV.

With buy-off at that point, its time to just get in front of the machine and task the team to begin the process of flushing out first pass design concepts. Having an idea of what substrates and some package architecture can really fuel the creative process. Its a very spontaneous time to explore and see what happens and get feedback from creative partners.

I will have already started working with sourcing and print production at this point and even work directly with some vendors to develop initial samples for substrates, materials and color selection. In this program we developed an antiqued metal hanger for the men’s program. That in itself was a big explore.

Then after a few rounds of creative concepts presenting multiple options, its time to narrow things down based on aesthetic, messaging, price, etc.

Then we go into the big production phase. With a program this big it takes a few weeks of solid digital production work. There’s a lot of details and overseeing something this complex with so much room for error takes a lot eyes and a lot of time.

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