Crit* InPed Puslespill
inPed is a Norwegian brand that produces a variety of educational products designed to compliment the kindergarten curriculum and aimed at professionals and assistants working within learning environments. The packaging for inPed’s latest product Puslespill - a word association tool created to promote creativity, teamwork and problem solving skills as well as hand-eye co-ordination and concentration - was recently developed by design agency Ghost working in collaboration with illustrator Jonathan Calugi. The agency’s solution manages to resolve the theme of connections, its professional target market and the young end-user through a bold but simple combination of modular elements - inspired by inPed’s unusual logo-type - a flat, bright colour palette and fairly neutral but professional typography.
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“The design of the boxes will help inPed clearly differentiate themselves in a market where "clipart" cozy drawings are the visual norm. We have gone for a playful look, with touches of professionalism. Wonder and philosophy, undefined shapes, rough streak and good humor were key words for design work. The boxes are letters from the logo cut out and put together in new ways, to enhance the expression and identity of the sender. The illustrations of the pieces are made of a unique, simple, colorful and humorous style to compliment the form language of the boxes and will engage children and adults.”
- Ghost, Google translated.
Jonathan’s illustrative combination of a single, heavy line weight, loops, concentric circles, large curves and rounded terminals, creatively remixes and expands on the odd but distinctive qualities of the inPed logo-type. The overlaps, joins and breaks move away from the more isolated elements established by the brand’s Aktivitetskort range, adding a second communicative layer that works well to convey - to the adult market - the theme of interconnectedness. Its abstract and modular qualities really benefit from a multitude of real world similarities - motorways, pipes and underground networks etc - which relate well to the composition of the game and to repetitive learning practices. The illustrations make great use of elongated structural qualities of the boxes and deliver a nice sense of motion around each panel.
These elemental forms are complimented by the neutrality, consistent stroke weight and the associated corporate professionalism, quality and functionality of a well spaced sans-serif typographical choice.
Although the illustrative work is consistently replicated in the same format across each box, the range of colour manages to make this quite difficult to notice. Its on-trend mix of bright and diverse but complimentary flat colour and abstract form manages to straggle the line between sophisticated - reflective of the wholesome, educative quality of the game - playful without appearing tacky or overtly childish, and delivers a nice sense of simplicity, energy and creative play. Sensibilities that are perhaps reflective of the Nordic origins of the company. The base colours - again a deviation from the black backgrounds of other ranges - provide clear and quick distinction between sets while a white interior tray cuts clinically through the colour of the exterior and neatly frames the detail of the cards within.
What looks like a light linen emboss across the surface of the boxes adds a light crafted-sensibility that resonates well with the quality and wholesome style of the illustrations.
The illustrations while very simple manage to convey cognitive connections whilst establishing a proprietary and iconic - rather than verbal - brand language with a contemporary subtly that feels conceptually quite smart - ideal for the professional - and, superficially, bright and stimulating for children.
Richard is a British freelance design consultant and writer who specialises in logos, branding and packaging. He has written for Brand New and Design Week, featured in Computer Arts magazine, Logology, Los Logos, Logolounge, The Big Book of Packaging and runs the blogs BP&O and Design Survival.