A Brand Design Q&A with Chris Edmunds of United Creatives

When MHW was tasked with helping brand owners create new-to-world brands in 2020, we looked at our vast network of clients for brand design agency recommendations, and many of those referrals led to one place – United Creatives. Ever since we had our first chat with Founder Chris Edmunds, we knew we were in safe hands with the United Creatives team. Located in Manchester in the United Kingdom, Chris has more than 10 years of experience working with brands of all shapes and sizes across wine, spirts, beer categories, as well as many different product types – from craft CPGs to large multinational brand agencies. United Creatives brings so much diversity in their finished product offerings, from brand naming, brand storytelling, brand world creation, brand design and social media strategies. Together, our customizations allow MHW to offer a wide array of services based on the needs of the client. We are extremely excited as we look to work on plenty more innovative projects with United Creatives on our Concept-to-Commercialization program.

The following is a Q&A with Chris Edmunds, Founder, United Creatives


Q: What are the main must haves in terms of packaging design?

A: Before the packaging and good design, you need a great product and a really great name. I see a strong name, a strong product, and strong design and being the holy trinity. We find there is sometimes a rush to get something to market without due diligence on securing a great name. You can have the best design in the world, but if your consumer can’t pronounce your name or it does not communicate a strong message, the best design in the world will fall at the first fence.


Q: What do consumers look for in packaging / design?

A: It’s a fact that more and more consumers are faced with ever-growing choice. As an agency, we are becoming more and more interested in co-partnering brands with charities so that consumers can also buy into the active side of a drinks brand that is doing more than just slinging drinks. Some brands we are working with are effecting change in ocean conservation and are helping endangered species. Using good as a brand awareness tool, we think that this is an exciting prospect, it also really helps positive change whilst increasing sales. It’s a win-win.

Q: How do ethics play a role in packaging and production?

A: All the papers we specify are FSC certified (Forestry Stewardship Council) and can be tracked back to an individual forest and sustainable source. We avoid inks or print seals tested on animals and the use of plastics. We are also constantly reminding our clients that using wood can be sustainable in packaging design and working to use recycled paper and pulps wherever we can.


Q: How do I differentiate my brand / product from competitors?

A: Charity endorsement and off-pack activation such as events, merchandise, and education are key to any brands success. We are also getting more involved in masterminding and art directing concepts for continued social media feeds. We essentially set them up and then have a partner agency work closely with our clients to deliver them and their content over time.


Q: How can artwork & logos convey my brand’s identity effectively?

A: By generating appeal and having a visual or written dialogue. This can be achieved in any number of ways from adorning high quality tactile papers, print finishing techniques, or by purposefully avoiding them! Establishing the attitude and tone of voice of a brand comes just as much from the specification of the print and print finishing as it does from the choice of typeface, approach to copywriting or brand development.


Q: What main trends should I consider when designing a brand?

A: Thinking long term about social media, off-pack events, and education and thinking how that brand can do good in the world. See above notes about charity co-partnering.

Q: How can I simplify my brand’s identity but still get my message across to the consumer?

A: The answer here lies with ensuring there is a level of art direction that doesn’t lose sight of an agenda, whilst making sure said agenda isn’t muddled. It’s a fine line between too much innovation and just enough to break through the competition.

Use simple designs that do not compromise the brand’s direction. There is a fine line between too much innovation and just enough to break through the competition.


Q: What design pitfalls can I avoid when designing a new brand or product?

A: Due diligence can avoid many pitfalls such as working to a container that is likely to go out of stock or a name that is already trademarked. Setting the ground to avoid these kinds of things is key in the early stages of a design process.


Q: In terms of sustainability, are there any new innovations or trends in packaging I should consider?

A: There is so much happening in this sector it’s hard to keep up. We love what James Cropper is doing with Colourform, a packaging innovation that uses thermoformed containers. We’ve also worked with Flexi Hex and love their no-fuss approach which avoids plastic for distribution. Paired with good design, new methods such as these can deliver hard hitting comms.


Q: How can I avoid greenwashing my sustainability message?

A: Partner with organizations that align with the company’s identity.