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"Creativity is our greatest renewable resource": HP on personalising brands

HP partnered with Smirnoff and emerging designers, the Yarza Twins, to launch HP’s SmartStream D4D
HP partnered with Smirnoff and emerging designers, the Yarza Twins, to launch HP’s SmartStream D4D

Remember 'Share a Coke'? Well, form an orderly queue because the technology used to create the campaign just became available for designers. Eleanor Kahn speaks to HP's Nancy Janes...

Personalisation has become a prerequisite for brands. When recognising that it is more than just "name on a pack" and done well, it can surprise and delight.

New technologies can help brands creating personal offerings to consumers more easily. Choice overwhelms consumers and brands want to capture their attention in new, relatable and stimulating ways.

HP has just announced the launch of the beta programme for the SmartStream D4D (Designer for Designers) software that allows designers to create up to 20 variations on a single design.

Until now the software was only accessible to owners of HP digital presses and helped to create hugely successful campaigns such as ‘Share a Coke’. HP D4D is a simplified version of the full commercial software. It democratises design for the digital printing process. Designers can register to join the three-month programme, and have the chance to provide real-time feedback to influence further product development process directly.

To demonstrate the potential of D4D, HP partnered with Smirnoff and emerging designers, the Yarza Twins, to launch HP’s SmartStream D4D. The Yarza Twins showed of the technology through a design concept for Smirnoff 21. Through individualised bottles, posters, table wrappings, wallpaper, based on an ‘Everyone the same, Everyone different’ concept, they demonstrate the wide-ranging capabilities of D4D.

Watch the video to see the full story.

To find out more about what this technology means for brands and designers, Eleanor Kahn spoke to HP’s global head of brand innovation, Nancy Janes. Here are her best bits…

HP's Nancy Janes

D4D adds this incredible dimension of limitless variations. Without variable data printing, once you create something, it’s going to look the same a million times over.

D4D offers brands and their consumers constantly personalised experiences. For the first time ever, it puts that creative process directly in the hands of designers. If a designer is creating something that will live on millions of units, now with the ability to vary each one of those units – all of a sudden there’s a greater element of creativity added. It allows designers to take into account current events, play with core elements of a brand in incredibly fun ways, or just make a product more personal and relevant than ever before. It can be more topical, more locally specific, more real time.

D4D also helps creatives maintain more control from idea to shelf. No longer will designs go through multiple levels of versioning, rendering, prepress and variation across regions. What designers imagine can now become what consumers purchase. 

A brand should be dynamic, relevant and impactful. Consumers are swamped with choice so they are looking for brands to capture their attention in new and invigorating ways, and campaigns they can relate to and empathise with.

Emotion, has now become an important factor in the shopping experience. By creating personalised and exciting packaging, we make them feel and connect with the brand.

With campaigns like ‘Share a Coke’, brands have realised significant commercial success by blending recognisable iconography, with timely, personal and competitive innovation. Whether it’s a bottle with your name on it, a chocolate bar with your photo on it, or a bag of coffee with the day’s newspaper on its packaging – the possibilities are nearly limitless, and in each instance, they help forge a deeper bond with the consumer.

For marketing leaders, variable data digital printing has already reinvented the level of campaign sophistication possible at the point of sale. With D4D and the power shift towards designers, we will see better ideas, stronger creative and bigger leaps of imagination in a medium still very much in its creative infancy.

In consumer goods, competition is everything. Bringing richness and relevance, while reinforcing core iconography, creates more attractive products and significantly more dynamic shelf sets. It enables brands to engage with customers on this personal level, and at the same time affording the capability to enhance relevance around geography or current events.

The Yarza Twins did an incredible job leveraging the capabilities of HP Smartstream D4D to create vibrant, personal and impactful variations – that are all iconic Smirnoff. It was exciting to see these unique designs deployed across such an array of platforms, like shrink sleeved bottles, standard bottle labels, corrugated boxes and display, chairs, wallpaper, t-shirts and posters.

We had a very positive reception around the launch event, and I’m even more optimistic about the lessons that up to 500 D4D beta testers will be able to learn from the twins’ experience. As they start to get their hands dirty, these beta testers can trace the steps of this campaign to grasp the full capabilities and designer-focused interface of HP Smartstream D4D.

Creativity is our greatest renewable resource; we’re now offering designers this infinite platform finally on par with the breadth and imagination that’s always been in their minds. I think we’re entering one of the most exciting periods in the history of design, and CPG (consumer packaged goods) design in particular.

HP D4D looks to close the gap between concept creation, developing and editing the designs and the production stage. Brands can directly integrate designers into the campaign process – from creative concept to execution, injecting originality and playfulness to the brand image.

The new software will be trialled among up to 500 UK-based designers. From November 6 for a three-month period, designers will be able to register to be part of the beta programme by visiting here.

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