Jones Knowles Ritchie: Brand First

The guest lecture series at uni during my first year has seen a great variety of different designers and companies visit us on a Friday afternoon to talk about their work. Previous speakers this year have included Ken Garland, Graham Rawle and David Pearson among others and this afternoon was the turn of Ian Ritchie and Isaac Sodipo from Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR). Ritchie, being one of the founders of the company told us about its origins and how it was founded in 1990 as a brand packaging specialist at a time when many other companies were doing a bit of everything.

The one thing which interested me the most throughout the talk however, was their main concept of ‘Brand First’ which they have applied to many of the products that they have worked on over the years. The purpose of the concept is to play down the similarities between the product and its competitors and bring to the fore what makes the brand what it is. This ultimately results in a fresh new design which is free of the similarities which can make some products indistinguishable from each other.

One product that Ritchie and Sodipo talked about which really uses this concept well is JKR’s work on Silver Spoon sugar. Before the redesign, the packaging was very bland, containing imagery that had become generic across many other sugar products. JKR stripped off everything but the name of the product and created a brand new visual identity that involved a forest of spoons populated by colourful insects. This fantastic idea has made a truly eye-catching range of products that look miles apart from any of their competitors.

Before and after:

Video on the Silver Spoon redesign:

This short video talks about the JKR and their beginnings, as well as information on the ‘Brand First’ concept:



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