Ananya Pathak
Design Digest

"A space that will see massive shift is packaging design": Preeti Vyas, Vyas Giannetti Creative

In our series 'Design Digest', we explore what the world looks like from the desk of brands' design heads, as they face new challenges.

Here's what Preeti Vyas, founder and chairwoman of Vyas Giannetti Creative, an integrated design consultancy, has to say:

How has the ongoing crisis changed the challenges facing design teams? What is the biggest change?

These are strange times, indeed. The biggest surprise for me was that we could be as, if not more, productive working from home. Having said that, whilst technology is a great enabler, many people don’t have uniform speeds. So, that’s a downer.

Of course, one misses the physical interactions and spontaneous discussions with the team. Also, it is challenging to check colours and work with packaging, signages, anything that needs to express itself in a non-digital environment.

How has the client brief changed? How are they looking to leverage design to gain customer trust - especially at a time when overall consumer sentiment is quite low? What role does design have in helping a consumer trust a brand?

As people feel, think, act and live differently, clients are also working hard to understand how their brands can add value in these times. In real estate, for instance, home layouts are being redesigned with home offices, multifunctional zones and more.

But largely, clients are in a maintenance mode, resisting taking any important decisions yet, as the future is still foggy. But almost all clients are planning new strategies and we have effectively done 'Design Thinking' sessions for some of them to enable new and innovative approaches and ideas, going forward.

How has the visual tone of communication changed since the pandemic started? Are brands turning to a new set of colour/visual markers of hygiene (such as foamy hands)?

As people are viewing almost everything on their phone or screens now, we are factoring in digital savvy layouts, tone of voice, fonts, colours and even animation, to make the communication effective in those formats.

"Good product design coupled with great communication can actually save lives in the current context."
Preeti Vyas

The pandemic has accelerated habit formation in a few sectors, especially personal hygiene. How can product design and the visual language of communication help accelerate habit adoption in consumers?

Good product design coupled with great communication can actually save lives in the current context. From face masks to shields in cabs and autos, we are seeing people all over innovate. This is surely going to have a long-term impact and some of these innovations are going to stay with us for a long time to come.

To add here, while product design is huge, communication design actually forms new semiotics and visual aids to instil new practices. As things start opening up, our approach to environment design will have to enable these new habit formations...

Another key space that will see a massive shift is packaging design and its applications and usage. In some sectors, they will play a much stronger role. While products will be reduced to a small thumbnail on screen, packaging design will have to adapt itself now more than ever before. Hygienic material usage, easy tear away modules will become stronger considerations.

"Largely, clients are in a maintenance mode."
Preeti Vyas

Everyone is dividing time and reality into pre and post COVID. For a design executive and leader, what does the post COVID world look like, in terms of work, skill sets and related demands?

One can only make some intelligent assumptions as to what the world will be like post this pandemic. Certainly, remote working, or working from home, will become a big part of every organisation. This also means that companies can hire and work with great talent from all over India and the world. There will be more flexibility in how we work and engage with one another.

Digital content and media have really emerged as the most impactful method to connect with the consumers. So, we foresee a lot of innovation happening on the digital front, especially in the methods and formats that people consume content. Therefore, the demand for strategic and creative digital solutions will be very high.

People have now learned the importance of evolving and arming themselves with multiple skills and expertise. Designers, especially, need to learn and adapt to new media, and also methods of working. Online collaborative tools like mural, etc., will also be used more often than before.

All in all, times of great disruption are also great opportunities. So, let’s not waste this pandemic by moping of the loss of what was, but be part of a new creative horizon that awaits us.