Interview with Andrew Smith, Chairman and Managing Director of B Smith Packaging, UK

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Andrew Smith

Andrew is the Chairman and Managing Director of B Smith Packaging, where his expertise in packaging allows him to strategise the best packaging solutions for their products and services.

Interview with the 2019 MUSE Design Awards Winner - Andrew Smith

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.
I am an engineer by training but I have worked with brands and their packaging for over thirty five years. The technical usability aspect and the sustainability of the product are key factors when I am designing a box, bag, tin etc.
2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?
The functional design of the boxes is my forte and I am used to technical specifications, weighing devices, micrometers, CAD, how the product fits in the retail environement rather than the aesthetic and we work closely with our clients brand specifications and VI to direct us. We have our in-house team who liaise and advise with the client as to what is possible and what works to give it that stand out in presence.
3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.
We are a UK bespoke, sustainable packaging company, I am third generation and have been with many of our clients for nearly 50 years. As the figurehead of the Company, I am involved with all our key accounts and we work in strategic partnership with them to advise them of what is the best packaging solution for their product or service. We work across a plethora of substrates, sizes and products and have an extensive network os manufacturers and suppliers to help solve any packaging design problems a client may have. We are very focused on the brand experiential factor and how the recipient feels and our packaging reflects that WOW factor that the person opening the goods wants to have.
4What does “design” mean to you?
Design is innovation, creativity, delivering an experience that brings design to life and enables others to go ‘Have you seen this?’
5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?
Simple and sophisticated. Clean lines and structure.
6To you, what makes a “good” design?
Something that has stand out from the rest, is functional and has an aesthetic quality that is retainable to memory.
7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.
Our packaging design style is understated simple elegance to keep the clients brand front of mind without being too obvious or in your face.
8Tell us about your design process.
We try whenever possible to get involved at the concept stage so we can add value on how the packaging can look and feel across the different channels. Our starting point is getting under the skin of the clients aims and objectives and then providing a range of solutions to fit the purpose and their budget. We then go to market test stage with prototypes and samples and focus groups before finalising and committing to production.
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?
I think you have to flex to your audience. We supply packaging internationally and we are very cogniscent of cultural impacts. We try to keep it simple but stand out so it doesn’t become wallpaper. The packaging route to market has challenges in the E-commerce sector that is the same wherever you are. Some countries like gold foil embossed and don’t care about plastic and laminates. We are driven by our values and seek to be sustainable wherever possible.
10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2019 MUSE Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
This has been our first foray into awards like this and we were delighted to come away with an award. We hope this will seek to further reinforce our credibility and footprint in the very competitive arena of luxury packaging in the fashion and creative design sector. We hope that our recycled, reusable, recyclable ethos and the drive towards sustainable packaging will give us a platform as a leader in this arena.
11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2019 MUSE Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
We chose to enter our Trench/JacK1T proposition because it is an emergent ‘New’ brand and we have been involved from the start. It’s a very congested place out there and this brand is only available in the E-Commerce space so there were new challenges that needs to be considered. The packaging is an integral part to the recipient experience and therefore we felt that the story of their packaging was one worth telling.
12What was the biggest challenge with this project?
Ensuring that the box had the WOW factor, making sure that the outer case was strong enough to protect the product within.
13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

It’s too early to say yet but we hope this will raise our profile and accreditation in this sector. It serves as a case study to prove that we can offer a truly bespoke and sustainable packaging option for the luxury sector.
14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

Diversity, innovation, creativity that is constantly challenging and changing.

The belief that anything is possible.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the creative industry?
The UK has been at the forefront of fashion design from the Red or Dead days and functional brands such as Burberry, Barbour, Holland Cooper to the celebrity endorsed design a la Alexander McQueen, Victoria Beckham, Stella McCartney, Temperley, Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, Lulu Guiness the list is endless. The UK can be quirky and eccentric in these circles and that gives it the stand out factor.
16Where do you see the evolution of creative industry going over the next 5-10 years?
Environmental packaging and sustainability will play a huge part. Things will become more digitally enabled so the era I was trained in with hand drawn sketches is fast being replaced by the CAD systems. Lower unique production runs and smaller batch production will become sought after to avoid large stock holding. More one-off bespoke designs that are in smaller volumes, to specific market demographics and targets will increase in popularity as ‘individuality’ becomes more prevalent than mainstream.
17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Award submitter, what advice would you give them?
Think outside of the box. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries. Have a unique proposition and style that isn’t easily replicated. Keep an eye open on all channels to see what’s new and interesting.
18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the creative industry?
Intrigue and questioning what’s gone before. Openness and willing to learn. Experience as many creative process as possible to gain insight and knowledge.
19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
I can’t click my fingers on my right hand.
20Who has inspired you in your life and why?
Genesis and yes, music was a big influence in my formative years. Prog rock and even things like Roger Deans artistry for albums are imprinted in my subconscious mind. I was a fan of escapism and music aided this. I still love this genre now. Also Sasha Baren Cohen for his sense of humour and willingness to push creative boundaries.
21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Pure hardwork, diligence and tenacity.
22Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?
Don’t give up - keep going.

Winning Entries

TrenchLondon® and JacK1T™ | 2019

JacK1T | B Smith Packaging Ltd | Muse Awards
Our client came to us with a brief for packaging that oozes a premium look and feel and...
(read more at Muse Awards)

B Smith Packaging Ltd

B Smith Packaging

B Smith Packaging has been a specialist in the packaging field for over 50 years. We pride ourselves on offering a bespoke, personalised service to our clients to enable them to promote their brand and business and present their product or service to their consumers in the best possible way.

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