Third and second-year communication designers learnt an important industry lesson by working with Melbourne perfumery Peony.
Bachelor of Design (Communication Design) students learnt that a strong understanding of business is just as valuable as creativity when Peony enlisted their help to design packaging for a new signature candle.
With the possibility of student designs being incorporated into the final packaging, the candle would sit in store alongside brands like Cire Trudon, and compete with other luxury brands like Frederic Malle and Byredo.
For many students, the project was their first time working with an industry client.
Third-year student Kit Tran said meeting Peony proprietor Jill Timms and visiting the Peony boutique was “an exciting experience”.
“Finding out Jill had wanted to do this project for years was nerve-racking,” Tran said, “but it was a thrilling prospect to think that one of our designs would be sitting in her store surrounded by other exquisite packaging.”
But students quickly realised how strict industry briefs could be.
Used to having creative control as a student designer, Tran said the specific requirements – from colour palette to format – came as an initial shock.
“I’d never worked to an industry brief and for an actual client, so the constraints seemed too creatively limiting at first,” he said.
Limits turned out to be beneficial, as students were pushed to “raise the bar and do their absolute best work,” said communication design lecturer Renato Gallina.
Gallina said the knowledge that Peony would be putting designs into production meant students had to step up to the “deceptively challenging” brief.
“They worked tirelessly and learnt a lot about having restraint, being resourceful, project management and production and prototyping,” said Gallina.
Third-year student Miren Maloney Urdampilleta agreed that the project was a learning curve in how to manage business values against creative ones.
She said the challenge of standing out among 24 other white designs taught students the reality of working in the field.
“I experienced the pressures of working with a real client and gained a clearer understanding of working as a freelance designer.”
The chance to be featured in a boutique store, said Maloney Urdampilleta, also fostered a competitive but supportive studio environment that helped students overcome obstacles.
“There was a very healthy competitiveness within the class that pushed us to do our best work.”
Tran added that the project gave him a valuable insight into professional camaraderie.
“I learnt not only about handling client relationships, but also about camaraderie between fellow designers who genuinely wanted each other to succeed.”
The challenges paid off when students’ achievements were met with an emotional reaction from Peony’s Jill Timms, who “shed a few tears from the standard of work she saw,” said Gallina.
Timms said she was extremely impressed by the “beautiful packaging” from the communication design students.
Tran and Maloney Urdampilleta were chosen as two of five students whose work Timms liked the best, their designs showcased in a Peony window display.
“To say I was overwhelmed by the quality of the students’ work is an understatement,” she said.
“These students are wonderful young people who I am sure will have bright and successful careers ahead of them.”
Story: Jennifer Park