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‘Making our first year through a pandemic certainly wasn’t what we expected’

Co-founder Louise Hinds looks back on the first year of Blue Chalk Design.

Well, what a year, and certainly one we won’t forget… making our first year through a pandemic certainly wasn’t what we expected.

It’s been a challenge, especially in the current situation, but we’ve learnt so much and worked with great clients on projects from style guides to product design.

One of the reasons we set up Blue Chalk Design was our passion for the licensing industry, and enjoying seeing product come to life from the concepts we have created.

Moving away from style over substance

Shortly after setting up, we were kindly invited to speak along with other industry professionals at The Retail Mentoring Programme.

Covering specific areas of the life span of a licensed product, it was a great platform to educate buyers on how the licensing industry works, and how to deliver great product.

We showcased licensed product we had bought from value to higher priced retailers, choosing products such as clothing, gifting and homeware.

We presented some examples of well executed licensed product and explored how the product stood up against the generic product it sat alongside. We also looked at how the graphics and styling had been thought out to fit in with the retailers look.

It gave us the opportunity to talk about how market saturation can devalue product, and how those retailers who remain risk averse will only suffer further losses in sales.

We showed product from competing retailers at different price levels, with the lowest price store giving increased value on most examples. The product was more styled and had more detail and application, than that of its higher priced competitor.

It really made for some shocked faces, and opened up the conversation regarding current retail handwriting and how to create commercial and engaging product.

It was a really interesting exercise and talking point, and it gave us a lot to think about when offering our creative services.

Setting up Blue Chalk Design

Back in June last year, we set out to use our past experience of working for a licensee, where we developed product for a broad range of retailers. We’d spent years using licensed style guides when designing product and we wanted to use this skill and knowledge for what works well.

In our previous role we worked closely with buyers and licensors to look at what product had sold well the previous season, and developed new, innovative ranges to keep the consumer engaged with that licence.

Now our main focus when creating any design is thinking of the end product/use – we always ask ourselves ‘is it fit for purpose?’ to ensure we deliver commercial design suitable for the licence.

We offer creative services from the initial graphics and concepts through to final product design. We’re looking forward to working on new projects, so please get in touch if there is anything we can support you on.

Blue Chalk Design is an agency offering creative services for licensors, licensees and retailers, offering a flexible service at any part of the design process. You can contact Louise Hinds by clicking here.

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