Achieving Revolutionary & Sales-Focused Packaging Design in Iran with Ali BaniShoraka
Creating something extraordinary as a designer means tackling the challenges that stand in your way—and what designers face around the world differs. Today we chat with Ali BaniShoraka, a freelance designer in Iran to learn more about the culture there, how it plays into the world of design, allowing outside inspiration to affect your work and more.
This post is a recurring series where we interview designers and agencies with ties to the countries affected by the immigration ban. This is an effort to promote an understanding of the cultures, and we hope that these insightful Q&As highlight the need for diversity in all aspects of life. If you are or happen to know agencies or designers in any of the included countries, please reach out to us directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
What was your journey to becoming a packaging designer?
Ali BaniShoraka: I started my career as a designer in a leather company. Then I got familiar with graphic design and started to design packaging and advertisement as a beginner in that very company. After that I designed Lina snack, which was my first professional packaging in Noor Marketing Center, one of the biggest advertising companies in Iran. But the summit of my career was working in Medya Group. I designed Sunich fruit juice, Shibaba Jelly and Mani nuts. Since then I have been working as a freelancer with many Iranian and international companies. In 2015, Rasha was chosen as the best packaging design of the year and I was chosen as the best packaging designer from Iran by WPO (World Packaging Organization).
What is your personal design philosophy?
Ali BaniShoraka: I believe that designing a package is more of an engineering job than an artistic one. The structure should be formed according to the brief, target audience, market elasticity, brand positioning and aims of the brand. In summary, however beautiful the design, if it doesn't lead to sales, it would not be successful.
What are some of the unique cultural aspects of Iran? Do any of these make their way into your work—and if so, how?
Ali BaniShoraka: Each culture has its own signs and elements. Persian handwriting, texture and patterns, carpet and architecture, gold and turquoise colors are signs that remind the audience of Iran. However I work completely according to the brief and in Iran most people have a tendency to use foreign products—so the majority of my customers like to have packaging designs similar to the ones of foreign countries so that they can compete with them. Therefore they have less interest in using Persian signs in their designs.
Tell us about one of your favorite packaging or branding projects you’ve worked on.
Ali BaniShoraka: The packaging of "Mani nuts" and the packaging of "Nooha.” Mani brand which entered Iran several years ago grabbed a lot of attention and its packaging had been designed beautifully and differently in the Netherlands prior to its entrance. After a few years when the number of products grew and other designers designed the new packaging, disorganization occurred in the family products. Therefore they decided to redesign the products from scratch. This scientific approach was carried out so that by maintaining the original advantages of the products which were successful, we can design a formula for the whole family of Mani. In addition to integrity, this change led to an increase in sales.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a designer in Iran? How have you overcome them?
Ali BaniShoraka: As a designer I have faced a number of challenges in Iran. The first challenge is the managers' old-fashioned school of thought; rather than being creative and a pioneer, they mostly follow the competitors and more powerful brands. The second challenge is the limitation of publishing facilities in Iran which confines us. In addition, the high number of governmental laws doesn't allow us much room for maneuver. Finally, the religious and traditional limitations in Iran play an important role and should be carefully noted.
How do you keep feeling inspired? When looking for design inspiration, where do you turn?
Ali BaniShoraka: Ideas are made because of the difference in vision, whether visual or mental. It is very important to pay attention to details and look more closely at our surroundings when forming an idea.
I always try my utmost to look carefully, analyze and break the boundaries and frames so that I can create novel designs. Therefore I always make an effort to create new ideas at any time and any place and I don’t confine myself to time and place.
How do you hope to make people feel through your design work?
Ali BaniShoraka: Undoubtedly I would like all the customers to see my packaging designs among the huge variety of products, take notice and like them. But what really matters to me is that my products lead to an increase in sales. In terms of design, my goal is to create a design which can create a revolution in the packaging industry.