Founded by Gee van Veijeren in 1995, and this year proudly celebrating its 20th anniversary, Fountainhead Design is managed jointly by Gee, who handles business and creative strategy, and Robert Sertic, who heads up the finished art and production departments.
Translating business ideas into high-impact design solutions is a 20-strong team of senior designers and account directors. Based at the agency’s trendy De Waterkant (Cape Town) premises, they operate across multiple platforms, creating concepts for anything from premium packaging and in-store point-of-sale material to trade communication, shopper marketing and activation.
Among this skilled team is head of DTP operations, Ryan Edwards, who has been instrumental in the recent implementation of Esko Studio to help build virtual 3D models of packaging – particularly wine bottles and wine labels – much faster and less expensively than physical prototypes, not only for customer review but also to create accurate artwork.
‘We wanted to eliminate the guesswork of printing and reprinting design ideas,’ Ryan explains.
As part of this quest, he downloaded a trial version of Esko’s Studio Toolkit and discovered a world of possibilities. This led him to Esko’s local sales manager, Peter Hargreaves, and, in turn, to Gareth Cork of Bob Cork Agencies, the company responsible for sales of these Esko software systems in South Africa.
As a result, Fountainhead has signed up for the full commercial program and is now using Studio Designer, Studio Toolkit for Labels, Studio Toolkit for Boxes, Toolkit for Flexibles and Studio Visualizer – only the third such implementation among South Africa’s packaging design fraternity.
Ryan has nothing but high praise for the local Esko sales team. ‘We’ve had excellent after-sales service and technical support,’ he remarks. ‘New software always takes time to assimilate, but this system is not at all complicated. It’s intuitive and easy to use, and above all it’s highly accurate.’
He also comments favourably on the advantages inherent in Studio’s modules being plug-ins for Adobe Illustrator. ‘As we’re familiar with the Illustrator platform, the transition to Studio was simple,’ he adds.
Another feature that really excites Ryan is the library of standard shapes that can be used, either directly from the online store or remodelled to suit a particular packaging design concept.
How does it work?
Why work in a flat world when packaging isn’t? Studio is a set of tools for 3D packaging design – specifically aimed at packaging artwork professionals, helping them to produce better artwork. With Studio, the designer is virtually holding the pack in his or her hands.
As Studio is a plug-in to Adobe Illustrator, it works within a designer’s existing data parameters and speaks the language of packaging.
Studio can revolutionise the way packaging designers and brand owners handle packaging and point of sale development and shorten artwork approval times with interactive 3D visuals. It also saves on the costs of mock-ups and studio photography.
It’s now a simple matter to turn ideas into stunning 3D images. Gone are the days of cutting, folding and gluing print-outs – now Studio allows packaging designers and their customers to see packs in 3D on-screen. It’s also a powerful communication tool, allowing the creation of impactful 3D visuals to show to clients, ranging from PDF files with 3D content, to movies, a virtual pack shot or a retail shelf.
As Ryan points out, the end result is the ability to work faster and more creatively, and to deliver technically-correct artwork to the printer. ‘So there’s no chance of a design being compromised during the production phase,’ he concludes.