Cacao Barry - From Concept to Actualisation

January 21, 2016



A sales kit. Almost everyone has received a sales kit, invite or brochure before. They might be in an electronic form or printed on some fancyful paper. But what you may not know is the amount of work that a designer has to put in to bring it from concept to end product.


This post is about a project I was commissioned to design in 2015. The scope of work includes conceptualisation -> production -> delivery.


For seasoned designers, this post might be "been there, done that". For the young designers, this is probably a good post for you. And for the clients, these are the "behind the scene" work you may or may not know. I must say, for my good client at Cacao Barry, they are very apprecative of the work I have done. And for that, I thank you!



After getting the project brief, I will arrange for a meeting with the clients to find out more details. Like what is this sales kit for? Who are you giving it away to? What else will you be adding into the kit? When's the dateline? blah blah blah... The more information you get from your client, the easier it will be for you to work. Also, getting the clients to repeat their brief to you (if they have the time) also helps them to have a clearer picture of what they want to do.


The brief from Cacao Barry was straight forward clear:

- Different from the usual sales kit

- To include additional products for their clients to try

- Functional, as they will like their clients to keep the sales kit and use it.


Research & Conceptualisation

The next step after the meeting will be to research what kind of look and feel is suitable for the sales kit. How to make it functional as well? Do we make it into a tool box? A bag? A box? A folder? What are the best method of production and cost for each of the idea?



Normally, I start with sketches of my ideas. I will then select 3 and refine it before I present to the client.

Sketches of the initial ideas




Presentation of the initial ideas to clients




Selection of Concept

Once the ideas has been presentated to the client, they will take some time to tell you if they like it or if they don't. Sometimes clients will have a preferred ideas from different concepts and will request that you try to combine them. Or some modification of the selected concept is needed due to preferrence or cost.


In the case of Cacao Barry, they decided to go with concept 1.



Design, Mock ups & Sourcing

After confirmation of the changes, I proceed on to the design of the sales kit. In this project, mock ups are necessary for designers to know if the item they are designing is of a good size or if it made sense.

Mock up helps you to know if your design works


Earlier on, I mentioned about costing. This is also the stage where some modifications to the design was made due to costing as Cacao Barry was producing it in bulk. Any additional cents or dollar has a huge impact. For e.g, the amount of laser engraving on the sales kit was also reduced due to the restriction of the laser engraving machine. The tray that is suppose to hold the items (pens, chocolates & etc) was modified to a paper tray with holder as it reduce the cost and also, the initial idea of using cow gum to secure the items on the wooden tray is not feasible for food items. Another 2 concepts was presented to the clients for the deisgn of the tray.



 Mock up also helps your client to visualise better how the end product will look like


It is also at this stage of the projects where I start to meet vendors to discuss how to produce the sales kit and to discuss about cost. This is also the part where being a design has the most fun and frustration. Fun in the sense that it brings you to places you will normally not go. I had to venture to some remote industrial places in puggol to find the vendor to produce the wooden box. And vendors are all over the place in Singapore. The laser engraving vendor's factory is in Tuas. It can be pretty refreshing and fun to visit these vendors at their workplace.


The frustrating part is the negotiating part. I don't think I need to go into further details. -_-''



Approval and FA

After finalising the design, the next step is to produce the technical drawing so that the vendor will know exactly how to produce the sales kit. My technical drawing might not the most perfect, but it helps to reduce confusion during discussions.


kAi gwee style technical drawing



After sending the drawing to the vendors, I will request for a mock up to have a close to 99% feel of how the product will look like. Some vendors might charge for the mock and some vendors are kind enough to do it as part of the service.


Only after I am happy with the mock up, then will I go ahead with the actual production. This is also the last stage where you can make any adjustment or amendments to the design. So designers, take note. Once the vendor goes ahead with the production, there's no way changes can be made.



Wrapping up

As my job scope was to ensure that the sales kit was produced and delivered, I had to make arrangement for the despatch and delivery of the 300 over units.




Normally, a designer in an agency will probably be involved only in the conceptualisation and designing part. There are other colleagues (e.g suites, traffic & etc) in the agency who will take care of liaising with the clients, vendors and billing. However, as a freelance designer, it's all one leg kick and this is also where the fun is. You get to make decision yourself, travel and meet people from different industry and ultimately make sure your design speaks for iteslf.






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