Retail finalists from the Best Design Awards' Best Effects category

  • News
  • August 27, 2015
  • Idealog
Retail finalists from the Best Design Awards' Best Effects category

Rosehip by Essano, Jen Cheyne Ltd. Client: Mix Limited

Ever tried to shop for a new skincare product at your local supermarket? The blur of beauty brands on the heaving shelves can sometimes cause more stress lines than its worth. So how does a new skincare line break into that mass market... and successfully?

Part of that answer for Rosehip by Essano was its well-researched design. A brand that's designed for women by women, designer Jen Cheyne was led by an iterative design process involving formal and informal face-to-face research. The resulting design is honest, authentic, feminine and beautiful – the right shade of blush pink to appeal to women of all ages, a touch of gold to indicate affordable luxury, and careful choice of pump, vegetable inks and paper stocks to drive home the environmentally-friendly message.

Essano launched exclusively into Countdown supermarkets end of 2013, with a range of six products. Today consumers can pick from 11 skus, with a variey of giftsets, available in more than 3000 stores across Australiasia, as well as for US consumers. It's now the fifth largest brand by value, and is Priceline Australia's sixth top natural brand. 

Skinny Mobile, DNA. Client: Skinny Mobile

The Pak'n Save to its New World, Spark-owned Skinny is the no-frills mobile prepay provider. 

Back when it was the new kid on the mobile block, it relied heavily on other retailers to sell their product (and remember those ads? Did any of us really know what they were offering?), and by 2013 it was time for Skinny to take control of its own product sales and delivery of its text/calling/data bundles.

This is where DNA stepped in. From the short and sweet slogan – “Switch to Skinny, Be Happier” – to the punchy but pared back colour scheme, the website is now a breeze to navigate and is reflective of the Skinny mantra. The people were happy, and in 2014, the provider saw it land 150,000 customers. This year, it came out on top in the 2015 Canstar Blue Awards, winning the Most Satisfied Customers, Mobile Phone, Prepaid category.

“New Zealanders are well catered for in the mobile space and more than two-thirds of the country are on prepay – that’s a pretty big chunk of the market," says Ross Parker, General Manager of Skinny Mobile.

“The Canstar Blue Awards are based on consumer feedback. At the end of the day they’re the ones who count, so we’re pretty proud that we have come out on top, ahead of the bigger companies like Vodafone and 2degrees.” 

Credit: Envisage Images
Barkers brand, Barkers, Switch and AND. Client: Barkers

Since 2010, the Barkers team has quietly been working to polish its overall branding and last year the focus was turned to its design identity. Working with Switch and AND, Barkers set out to a bring a more tailored experience to its customers to reflect what was selling on the racks. 

Concept stores were built, paying homage to their geographical locations – Barkers Garage draws on Hamilton's petrol head heritage; Lambton Quay's Chambers is a nod to the Beehive; and Auckland's No. 1 High Street invites customers for the full experience: stroll in for a suit fitting, grab a coffee from onsite Burrs & Grind cafe, and finish off with a sharp haircut from the Barkers Groom Room upstairs. 

The website, catalogues and branding were given a high fashion and editorially-driven makeover, bringing the 42-year-old brand into the here and now. Barkers doesn't disclose its financial figures, but managing director Jamie Whiting does confirm that financially 2014 was "a very good year."

Les Mills Smartstep, 4ormfunction. Les Mills International

Did you know that there are more than 80 countries and 16,000 plus clubs around the globe charging people to sweat it out to a Les Mills routine?

Already well established with its pre-choreographed routines and fitness clubs, Les Mills International introduced the stackable Les Mills Smartstep to its merchandise in 2013, which has led to unexpected profits for the brand. With sleek black top and viper red stackable risers, the workout tool also caught the eye of Reebok... it's since led to a licensing deal with the fitness giant. 

The Best Awards celebrates the best in New Zealand design. See all the 2015 finalists at

This story originally appeared on Idealog.

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