Character design matters
Good character design informs the viewer who the character is, their name, what they are like. What they wear or choose not to wear, how they stand, how they are shaped, the contours of their profile, their facial expressions, what they carry on their person are vital decisions required to elicit emotional responses from the viewer.
This challenge was about how to use character design as a tool that is expressive of what the brand means whilst enabling a conversation between individual product identity and health and well-being conscious joe public. And from a business development perspective to build a stylish cross-over platform enabling SmoodyFruits Co. position its smoothie product range and associated food service in transnational markets – UK and Nigeria. The brand’s equity in my minds of people was emerging around a character called ‘Twisted Core’ steeped in fun. They enjoy soliciting people for healthy eating attitudes, they are obsessed with sourcing organic ingredients, feel alive immersed in sustainable packaging materials and having ethical relationships with their colleagues and partners. This project became an exercise in articulating a philosophy for a “Twisted Core” with an ethical dimension. It underlined the basis for mapping customer situations, evolving a service and business strategy for the Smoody-Fruit Company and setting up an own label “batch – fresh fruit juice – production” facility in Lagos
1. To develop an iconic and expressive character that will intrigue SmoodyFruits ‘ health conscious demographic.
2. To design a corresponding packaging structure.
3. To achieve desired development costs objectives.
Exploratory evaluation of concepts with people
We bench-marked outcomes of our idea with the competition in the UK, we decided to avoid what became apparent during research: a generic fruit juice category motif adopted by entrants into the space. The visual character had to be endearing, play to the audiences’ benign rib at gym-fitness humour and not take itself seriously. After multiple thumbnails and user-testing with professionals, buying healthy fast-snacks, on the consourse ot major London station. It became evident that the “dancing sumo” resonated with potential customers’ feelings about a character – called ‘Twisted Core’ – synonymous with the identity ‘Smoody’ – an anagram of smile & mood.
Prototyping efforts to make SmoodyPods’ idea viable in terms of concepts, development costs and production took us from London through Kuala Lumpur, on a UK Trade Invest Trade Mission, to VinPhu Ltd at Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam. We were able to realise physical interpretation of ideas as well as explore use of materials and possible adaptation of the character as a physical component of a product and service ecosystem.
Business strategy by design
Smoody Fruit company is developing and producing a family mix of fresh juice flavours, which pays attention to healthy eating interests of a increasingly savvy audience in Nigeria. They intend to develop food services supporting industry value chain with new food and drinks product categories.