Remark Studio - The studio system

Winner of several design awards for packaging design, Remark Studio is a creative design boutique involved in graphics, and brand marketing and design with an international presence. Beverage Packaging Innovation reaches out to Cristian Stancu, the company's director, to learn more about this rising star.

Can you please introduce your company and provide us with some background information?

Cristian Stancu: Remark Studio was set up in 2012 by two partners with a common passion for design: an experienced designer - the 'art' - and an experienced marketer -the 'strategy' - each with 15 years of experience in their field. Mostly, we concentrate on packaging or product design, and brand identity.

What do you feel are the main trends in beverage packaging design currently?

I would say storytelling; developing packaging concepts that try to connect with consumers, and give the brand a history and life of its own. In addition to this, I am seeing a rise in customisation of packaging design in order to be closer to the consumer, which is mostly being achieved through digital printing. Finally, I would say structural design is becoming more important to global brands looking to improve the convenience or ease of use of their products, and it is becoming more important than simply branding a product and relying on this to do the selling for them.

Can you tell us more about the history of your award-winning PET can?

At a recent design ceremony, one of the best-designed cans on display was a Budweiser can in the shape of a bow. We felt this was technically very impressive but we did not feel that it offered consumers an improved or enhanced experience. So we asked ourselves what shape a unique can could be and what materials it could use in order to make the beer consumption experience more complete.

Looking at the Romanian market and at beer trends, we noticed three key points: that the consumption of beer in PET was increasing, that can consumption is increasing and that the percentage of consumers drinking beer in pubs was decreasing due to the financial crisis.

This led us to our concept of a German-pint-in-a-can-shape made from PET that would engage consumers with the feeling of drinking a beer with friends. The design was created to articulate the joy of a unique design housing a quality product that could be shared with friends in any social setting.

The name Volksbier came from the pint shape and, as it is a popular drink, we wanted it to be for the people.

Where do you see PET being most successful?

From experience, I have seen PET becoming more present and evolving in the food and beverage markets; it is lightweight, versatile and provides excellent shaping ability. While PET is 'established' as a material in water or CSD, we are seeing it start to gain traction in beer, particularly in the Eastern European markets. This growth is such that even the major global brands and those in Western markets are seeing the possibilities of PET in alternative applications, so I see it being successful across multiple markets and formats as this growth continues, and consumer understanding and appreciation of the material increases.

What, in the design concept, is the most important part of the process for you?

Depending on the brief, finding the right concept that will express the brand solution. The concept should be a kind of 'symbiosis' between design, shape, materials and branding. I think this is the most challenging aspect and, when an agency can manage it, the results will be amazing.

What design are you most proud of?

Volksbier - although this is still in the concept stage and has not yet been made a reality, we consider it a challenge to produce, but one that would be incredibly beneficial to the right producer that wants to innovate in the field. There are many marketing and cost-reduction advantages. For instance, if the container is produced in house using blow-moulding technology, all the logistics costs related to the supply of cans from manufacturers will almost completely disappear. Finally, I believe PET cans would require less energy to produce than aluminium.

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