As designers, we always try to implement a ‘personal touch’, extracting the perfect balance between colors, images and fonts to tempt the viewer and/or user. That sometimes means overstepping your personal ‘style’ boundaries because the client asked for something ‘extra’.

But what if you found a new international client that really asked you to throw away all your boundaries? Because the niche market is so specific and the target group really special. Well, say ‘Hi’ to Exo Terra (The Hagen group) – one of the world-leading companies in the market of reptiles (not the animals themselves, but rather all the ‘garnitures’ around the animals).

We create all online and offline tools for Exo Terra, but the packaging would be the most adventurous task: we do that for Europe (EU) and North-America (NA). So that means 6 languages, different apparel features, different voltages, different instruction manuals, … But the most exciting part would be the design: flashy colors, ‘Living Hell’ fonts and lots and lots of reptiles.

My first packaging I finished one evening at 11 PM and I really had to watch the design over and over and … Did I have a drink, did my eyes hurt? One of my colleagues said: ‘Wow did you take speed?’ (note: I don’t!). Because as a DM-specialist we had to break some rules. A lot of attention-seekers in one view… but in the end: it works. After a while you get used to the target group and the new designs flow out of your Wacom tablet.

By implementing these designs, we also found out that these kinds of complex designs have to be discussed through personal contact and not by email/phone, as this would lengthen the design process. So we decided that we would sit in-house, as part of the team. And after 4 months we can say it: we are part of the team, we even have our own desk (and on Fridays we can all indulge together in Belgian Fries)!

PS: don’t look at their website ? we will rework the complete website in September, when the print work overload is behind us.

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