How Iranian Agency DESIGN VAND Achieves Form and Function

“We believe not only that design is not art, but also it has nothing to do with it at all,” stated Touraj Saberivand, Logo Designer at DESIGN VAND. The Iranian agency instead focuses on solving problems and making designs that have an impressive aesthetic quality but, more importantly, communicate on their own. We spoke with Touraj at DESIGN VAND to learn more about design in Iran, how Iranian culture seeps into DESIGN VAND’s work, where they turn for inspiration, and much more.

This post is a recurring series where we interview designers and agencies with ties to the countries affected by the immigration ban. This is an effort to promote an understanding of the cultures, and we hope that these insightful Q&As highlight the need for diversity in all aspects of life. If you are or happen to know agencies or designers in any of the included countries, please reach out to us directly: theresa@dielinemedia.com

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First of all, tell us a little bit about the DESIGN VAND agency and the team.

DESIGN VAND: DESIGN VAND is a studio with dim lights, smooth instrumental music and the scent of coffee. No more than two or three people are there at the same time. Though freelance designers, strategists, typographers, illustrators and motion graphic artists, programmers and communication experts do cooperate in different projects with us, DESIGN VAND longs to be silent. Outside the studio on the other hand, it’s not as quiet at all. DESIGN VAND has been the focus of branding community and media for its international partners, awards, minimalistic logos and various articles. But the black shades of the office are almost always closed! Well, we are obsessed with black and it’s the color of our visual identity.

What is your design philosophy at DESIGN VAND?

DESIGN VAND: We believe not only that design is not art, but also it has nothing to do with it at all. Designing is problem solving in our opinion, and in order to do that we go through a process. The most important point in this process is to find the right and trusted solution. The answer should be rational and correct. Aesthetic and creative qualities are not as important as that. We have completed four self-inspired research projects to find out which logos in Bank/Insurance/ Airline industries have been more successful so we could follow their style and system in our own work.


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What is the meaning behind the name of DESIGN VAND?

DESIGN VAND: ”Vand” is a suffix in Persian language used to give the meaning of “having a quality” to something. So DESIGN VAND means something that has design. I was also inspired by my own surname “Saberi vand” for the name of the studio. It means someone who has patience. Although I tend to work fast and don’t have much of a patience in my life!

What are some of the most recent design trends that you’ve seen pop up in Iran lately?

DESIGN VAND: Iranian visual culture has been full of details and complications since decades ago. This visual taste has been led to simplicity and minimalism in the recent years. We might be experiencing a transformation of taste and preference in our country. However this shouldn’t be intimidating. Minimalism is the style of 21st century. It’s rooted in the East and in Asia and it has humane and moralist values and concepts. What makes minimalism move forward is that any culture could celebrate and perform it with its own tone and accent.

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What are some of the unique cultural aspects of Iran?

DESIGN VAND: When we talk about Iran we are talking about a 15000 year old culture BC to the present day. It’s not at all simple. There have been different eras during decades and decades of our history and each era has had it’s own individual cultural and visual identity. Although, when you put them all together you could see a system, an integration. The history of Iran is filled with miniature paintings, calligraphy, carpet weaving, architecture, pottery and performance and they all have been evolving and renewing until this moment. This, however makes it difficult to be influenced by Persian visual history and identity as multiple and grand sources could become quite confusing.

What role does Iranian culture play in your design work?

DESIGN VAND: Amphibology is one of the most beautiful and popular techniques in Persian literature and poetry. Many Iranians still read ancient poetry from decades ago as part of our culture. Even the routine conversations of our people is filled with ambiguity. This quality has found its way to visual elements as well in the recent years. You can see it in movies and in photography. Most of my designs also have this quality. I also have to confess how much obsessed I am with turquoise and navy blue and can’t help but use them in my works over and over again! Colors that I believe have shaped a part of Iranian architectural identity.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face living in Iran? What about with running a design agency there?

DESIGN VAND: One big challenge that Iranians keep complaining about is the low speed of internet. Most of us have 3G or 4G internet on our cellphones and except for our grandparents’ houses we have high speed internet almost everywhere, and yet we keep complaining.

Of course, one other concern that our people are facing these days is the Iranian presidential election coming up in the next weeks, fearing that someone like Trump might win the election!

Tell us about one of your favorite logo or branding projects that you’ve worked on.

DESIGN VAND: Five years ago I designed the logo of a Telecommunication operator. I decided to redesign it last year as I noticed some points that should’ve changed, so I did and it also won the silver award of Graphis.

We also did a branding project for an insurance company with the concept of “friendship and flexibility.” We used minimal representations of important rivers of all over the country in its visual identity. We worked with Mr. Rob Janoff (the designer of Apple logo) as the design manager in this project. Rob’s based in Chicago and works with three other studios including DESIGN VAND (Tehran).

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When looking for design inspiration, where do you turn? What inspires you and the DESIGN VAND team?

DESIGN VAND: We surf Instagram and Pinterest everyday as well as cultural books about architecture, tilings, carpet, etc. I’m also curious about musicians, architects and designers from Middle East. I believe that us designers and artists of this region are gradually representing a new image of the new Middle East to the world. A region that has decades of culture and history and yet breathing in the 21st century at the same time, contemplating a brighter and unrestrained future.

How do you hope to make people feel through your design work?

DESIGN VAND: I believe the fact that some politicians and their media are trying to present a dreadful image of Iran and the Middle East, and also inducing the sense that we live like we used to in past centuries, is quite unfair. I hope our designs could help demonstrate our contemporary and updated reality.


Photo credits: Arash Khamooshi, DESIGN VAND

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Get Twistd With These Tasty Portion Controlled Potato Chips

Snack time is now more shareable and more fun with Twistd. Hornall Anderson designed these tubes of potato chips to not only make it easier to mix and match flavors (and have a good laugh while you’re at it), but the smaller size of the container aids in portion control and promotes healthy, balanced snacking.

“‘Once you pop you can’t stop,’ is the slogan for Pringles, which popularised the sharing tube. But as we crave a little portion control in the way we eat crisps, Twistd could provide just the answer we are looking for.”

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Design Director at Hornall Anderson Gareth Ball says: “In the sharing sector all you really see is one big bag everyone can dive into. But Twistd offers portion control by separating the tubes into different sections, as well as the added excitement of different flavours.”

“This fun and colourful multi compartment tube allows consumers to mix snacks and flavours in unique and unusual combinations.”

“Each of the four compartments contains a mixture of sweet potato chips, lightly salted crisps, tortillas and snacks. Consumers just have to give the lid a little twist to add a range of four quirky flavours, including Sea Salt & Seaweed, BBQ & Honey, Chill & Chocolate and Cheddar & Stilton.”

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Ball adds: “We really wanted to shake up the category with the use of fun characters for each flavour, such as a cowgirl for BBQ & Honey or a hipster fisherman for Sea Salt & Seaweed. We were aiming for millennial men who drink craft beer so the branding is designed to be clean and contemporary. There’s a range of unusual flavours populating the craft beer sector showing this demographic is adventurous. We think the Twistd format would be great fun for social occasions with a group of people who may all have different tastes.”

“Twistd would feature shakers being sold separately and limited edition seasonal flavours with new characters.”

“Out of home marketing and promoting it on Twitter with #getTwistd would engage with consumers too. The adverts would spin in the same way as the sharing tubes, creating combinations that are sure to raise a smile—a gruff fisherman’s head on top of a cowgirl body? Nobody’s getting any more Twistd than this.”

 


Designed by: Hornall Anderson

Country: Global

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Fortnum and Mason’s Biscuits Will Make For Extraordinary Teatimes

For extraordinary teatimes: Design Bridge has designed the vibrant packaging for Fortnum & Mason’s core range of biscuits. The designs draw inspiration from decorative ceramics and fine china, the very objects most often found being utilized for tea time.

“Independent brand design agency Design Bridge is delighted to share details of their latest work for Fortnum & Mason: redesigning the packaging for their core range of biscuits. The new designs put a contemporary twist on the decorative ceramics and fine china traditionally used for a British teatime and reflects Fortnum & Mason’s ongoing focus on bold and beautiful design, as well as delicious product.

“Chloe Templeman, Design Director at Design Bridge commented ‘We were inspired by the very Fortnum’s, and also very British, institution of having tea and biscuits, especially the designs of the special china used to serve them on. Referencing the Fortnum & Mason archives, architectural details of the Piccadilly store, and fine Georgian ceramics we designed our very own decorative plate to incorporate into the new packaging designs. The result is a range of tins that feel so special and considered that people want to show them off next to their finest china instead of decanting the biscuits onto a plate.’

Design Bridge went to great lengths to ensure that each of the six designs felt as special and unique as possible while still feeling part of the same family. The team hand-drew the decorative plate design and carefully varied its pattern of flowers and flourishes to create six unique crops, one for each biscuit flavour. Each crop has been applied to the design at a different scale, introducing a refreshing pace, energy and variety across the range. Their plate design has also been treated to give it a slightly worn feel, rather than being pristine and crisp, as if it’s been well-loved and well-used in many a teatime.”

“Chloe Templeman continued ‘On pack we’ve added strong, vibrant colours to the pattern to give it a contemporary feel and have applied the colours in bold blocks that don’t always match up with the edges of the pattern, adding energy and a sense of discovery. Combining metallic and non-metallic colours adds even more depth, while a de-bossed square in the middle of each design works as a consistent and calm focal point, displaying the flavour of the biscuits and added the new tagline created for the range: ‘For extraordinary teatimes.’

Design Bridge has also updated the structural design of the tin so they can be stacked seamlessly on shelf, better accommodating how the biscuits are merchandised both in London and Fortnum & Mason’s outposts around the world. The new lid is inspired by vintage tea caddies and biscuit tins, which brings a consistent band of Fortnum & Mason’s signature ‘Eau de Nil’ colour to the range. To finish it off, the Fortnum & Mason logo is proudly embossed on the front of each design in gold ink.” 


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Designed By: Design Bridge
Client: Fortnum and Mason
Location: London, UK

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Make Your Own Sushi Like a Pro With KataModo

Nucleus Maximus and Freelo Design have teamed up to created the packaging for KataModo, a new line of DIY sushi and sashimi kits. The kits aim to simplify the process of creating sushi while the packaging reinforces this notion by including easy-to-follow instructions.

“Let’s be real, sushi is intimidating.

It’s food as art, cloaked in tradition, and strikingly simple yet spectacular. There is a reason why we associate sushi with sexy and why we hold the artist (/sushi chef) to such esteem. But what if we could all master the art of making sushi and sashimi?”

“That’s the idea driving KataModo, a new brand offering the first complete lineup of retail products that provide everything you need to make perfect sushi and sashimi at home.

Named for and designed to evoke the essence of ‘kata,’ the image of perfection in Japanese culture, there lies a simple beauty and order to the brand’s packaging that instills confidence and sets an exciting expectation around what the brand and customer will create together.”

“KataModo’s color-forward mosaic curates a premium promise well beyond category standards in seafood, suggesting a brand reverence for fish in its purest and simplest form, while also serving as an efficient marker for SKU identification.

Envisioned by the brand strategy and package design team at Nucleus Maximus, and designed into being by Freelo, KataModo was born, named, logo’d, packaged and launched at the 2017 Boston Seafood Show in just under 30 days.”


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“The result? An iconic identity for an upstart brand that has since secured placement in Whole Foods, Aldi, Hanaford, Market District, White’s Market and international retailers in Mexico and Canada.”

 


Agency: Nucleus Maximus 
Designer: Agustina De La Plaza / Freelo Design 
Production: Dissimo
Instagram: @nucleusmaximus
Client: Uoriki Fresh
Location: Secaucus, NJ

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XO Flow is the Fresh Take on Feminine Hygiene Product That We’ve Been Waiting For

In a market where feminine hygiene products try to blend in as much as possible, XO Flo stands out. Murmur Creative created the beautiful packaging for this new menstrual cup line.

“XO Flo is a brand new, thoughtfully designed menstrual cup by the women-founded team at GladRags. The name is derived from the cup’s unique selling point: two structural rings that form an ‘X’ inside the cup. This innovative design was also the inspiration behind the logo, designed by Murmur Creative, which features a hand offering a flower in a gesture of love. The brand mirrors XO Flo’s desire to guide women on their journey to more environmentally sustainable periods.” 

“XO Flo wanted to break the aesthetic mold in the feminine hygiene category, while still remaining fun and approachable. The team at Murmur Creative was inspired by visually literal representations of ‘flow’ paired with modern colors and high-end production. The result is a gold foil marbled box that is more reminiscent of a sophisticated perfume than something you would typically find in the menstrual aisle. The infographic style illustrations and bold pops of color keep the packaging feeling fresh, playful, and eye-catching.”

 


Agency: Murmur Creative
Client: Lady Business
Designer: Catherine Renee Dimalla
Creative Director: Andrew Bolton
Printer: Precision Graphics
Location: Portland, Oregon

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