Packaging Brand Design | 0 Comments


NTGJ is a Lisbon based studio specialized in strategy, marketing and packaging design for the fine food and beverage industry. Their goal is to work in close partnership with fearless brands, creating a difference and helping their clients to improve their business. NTGJ provides creativity that sells. They work with food brands, drinks brands, fine food chefs and restaurants.

Interview with Guilherme Jardim (Creative Partner of NTGJ)



Where do most of your clients come from—how do they find you?


We have a sales department focused on the Portuguese and Spanish market and most of our clients come from a contact made by us. But we also have a lot of enquiries from abroad. Normally clients find us on the web. Nowadays the distance between countries is minimized by communication through services such as Skype.


What inspired you to pursue a career in packaging design?


I graduated in Industrial Design but packaging was my favorite discipline in the design industry. In my 4th grade I had the opportunity of going to Finland in the Erasmus Exchange Program and joined the Lahti Institute of Design and the Packlab Department. Up there in the “bad weather country” I met an amazing talented team and an inspiring guy called Ian Rooney, who is my biggest reference for the Packaging Design Industry. I can say Packlab was my main inspiration to pursue a career in packaging.


When did you decide to take this particular direction in design? What skills / education does a designer need for packaging design – how do these abilities differ from other creative design work?  How do you balance aesthetics with functionality?


Packaging is the ultimate design experience. It is marketing, graphics and logistics as well as product technology. You need to be talented but more than just talented – you need to be passionate and committed to hard work. In terms of functionality, I believe “form follows function and function follows fun”. In these times you must be able to think outside the box. Boring designs will not work. In this industry, you need to be a hard worker, be prepared to do a lot of research and be humble enough to learn new things everyday. 


Are there any artists or designers who have influenced your work / education? Can you give examples of packaging designs that you admire or consider groundbreaking?



I admire my entire design team – all the guys are very passionate and talented. The commitment here to make things happen is huge. In terms of designers,  I don’t admire designers in particular but I admire teams. Packaging design it is all about team work. If you had to compare the design industry to a sport it would be rugby. You cannot win without your team mates. That proves the same for his industry, people with different skills create the best overall packaging product. I do admire many companies but Packlab Partners, Pearlfisher, Aloof Design and William Murray Hamm are my favourites apart of NTGJ of course [laughs].


What does a typical client brief contain? Can you explain the process/steps from beginning to end as to what is involved in a packaging design (from the moment a client approaches you to the final approval of the design)?



All the briefs are a different experience. And the brief is also the first step. We discuss the brief in an internal meeting and brainstorm with our team. Everything starts from designing a strategy, then research, sketching, creating mock-ups, developing graphics, typography and so on. I think this is a standard design process. We normally present one design concept with two different visual paths


Using one of your own designs as an example can you explain the visual steps involved in creating the design?


Our last project was Think Global Taste Local. The client came to us with a name and an idea to make a standard gourmet food brand. Then together with the client, we developed the concept from zero and turned a normal gourmet brand into a food hunting brand, differentiating it from all the others and surprising the market. We started with a huge brainstorming session and designed a brand strategy focused on differentiation, then sketches and graphics. We designed the concept, identity, brand strategy, packaging, website, etc. We believe the final result was very interesting.



What are the current trends in packaging design? Can you give examples?


I believe people are looking for new experiences – simple concepts that are cleverly executed with fine detail.

Packaging is the first experience that the customer has with a brand and it should be a big moment. It is about the senses. I love packaging that becomes important to the brand experience. From the moment a customer falls in love with the product on the shelf to the moment he or she opens it at home.

Also being green is very important. Packaging needs to go on in a green direction – one that reduces the waste of material. This also reduces costs and helps the planet. I also love packaging that has a secondary function.


Which trends do you predict will have more influence on packaging design in the future (eg green/sustainability)?


I believe the re-utilization of packaging will be the biggest trend. It is not easy to design packaging that has a secondary function without being clichéd or boring – the design team has to be very creative and the project will take a lot of work and time to develop something both meaningful and resourceful.

I also believe there are currently times that minimalism is not enough. People needs to focus on details and how their packaging can be a nice experience for the user.


Is there anything else you’d like to add about yourself or NTGJ?


I am very passionate about packaging design and innovation. I love good food, wine and working for the F&B industry.

I’d rather not talk about myself too much because NTGJ is about a group of talented guys, trying to create a difference and make our clients’ businesses better. I am just a small piece on the studio chess table.

Despite having started as a packaging design agency we are turning into an agency that specializes in creative ideas for different fine F&B topics. This includes: Packaging Design, Branding, Retail Environment Design, Restaurant Branding and Interiors, ‘Chef branding’, and everything else related to the industry.

Also, I would like to say that design adds a lot of value to a business and is a real and tangible investment. If it is professional and well-made the return will be huge for the business.