1. Nik, please tell us something about your company. What’s behind Plumen?
Plumen make beautiful lighting to turn people on to efficient technologies. We believe that creating desirable yet responsible products is the best way to encourage this transition and make it a joyful process.
2. Obviously, we really like your packaging. How would you describe it in a few words? What was your inspiration for it and how does it communicate your brand story?
There’s a horribly clichéd vernacular around green products that we wanted to distance ourselves from. We wanted a really simple, clean new language to express Plumen’s fresh perspective on efficient lighting and not just trade off our green credentials as mainstream lighting manufacturers have. We aspire to create products that are beautiful, efficient and affordable. So we wanted to use the packaging to create a clear, design-led identity but still feel accessible (i.e. not too luxurious / precious or out of reach).
3. Has it been difficult to turn your design idea into a shelf-ready product or are there any special packaging features that were difficult to realise?
It take years to get an idea into production. The packaging is less challenging in general but we still have some particular issues to handle, namely the delicacy of the products combined with our desire to maximise container capacity. So designing the internal workings of the packaging to hold the bulb safely during transit, within the minimum space was the main focus.
4. What do you think, to what extent do you have to focus on packaging and design in order to survive as a brand in a harsh retail environment?
I think it’s really important. But we think about it in a holistic way which is to say we don’t see the packaging as a separate problem to solve. It is connected completely with how we behave, our values and even how we tell our story. On the top of the box there’s an image we select from user submissions and/or social posts, Instagrams etc. It’s really important to show people how important they are. Our products are ingredients and it’s really up our customers to bring them to life, embellish, accessorise, enhance them. So we celebrate and reward them for doing so and one of the ways is to showcase the very best works on the packaging. It’s both a little fame and thanks and also a symbol to the buyer of how important their creativity is in bringing our products to life. Packaging is so often treated as separate and sacred, but I think this is a lost opportunity for cohesion.
5. We are curious, will you soon surprise us with any new product / packaging launches?
Well we’re in the process of rolling out a major revision since we launched in 2010 so hopefully everyone will like the new direction. We’ve learnt so much from the first design that we wanted to work these insights in to a new design before our range grows too much. The Plumen 002 is now available widely and the Drop Top Shades too. Made.com just launched a shade we made with them which is very exciting and we have new bulb designs hopefully surfacing at the end of this year and next year too. Lots going on!
6. So, now it’s your turn. Do you have any questions we can forward to a packaging specialist at the fair, do you need any tips or are you looking for a certain material or supplier?
We’d love to hear what people think about what we’re doing. We deliberately didn’t work with packaging specialists so we could create a fresh approach. But that may mean we’ve overlooked some really obvious opportunities!