2020 / 01

A conversation with Joey Lo

Founder and Design Director of Box brand design, Hong Kong / Shanghai, China

Petfood Packaging: What role does design play in pet food packaging in general?

Joey Lo: Design plays a critical role in pet food packaging. It speaks to who you are and what you buy. For those brands that emphasize functionality or have USPs, the packaging says it all. Above all, food needs to have “appetite appeal” to your audience.

Petfood Packaging: Packaging design helps to a great extent with brand building. How do these processes work for you?

Joey Lo: Know your customers and know who you compete with. We do in-depth analysis and ultimately identify if your client’s request aligns with the market.

Petfood Packaging: To what extent do you involve your clients in these processes?

Joey Lo: We always work together and inspire each other. We are one team once we sign the contract. A high-quality output requires a team to communicate effectively.

Petfood Packaging: Pet food packaging design is interpreted differently in different markets. With a view to Asia: which parameters must necessarily be incorporated into the design process here? Are international manufacturers’ products only “localized”, i.e. are the typeface / language adapted or are there very specific design guidelines for the Asian market, so that the packaging actually only carries the same logo internationally?

Joey Lo: You can’t deny globalization as a trend at this point.  If you plan to sell in Hong Kong, the size of the package would be relatively smaller as compared to China because of the housing issue. In mainland China, it’s more accepting of diversity now due to the E-commerce boost.

Petfood Packaging: What are the general design trends in China and Asia for 2020/21?

Joey Lo: Young, energetic, and fun--the keywords that can satisfy Gen Z’s appetite and leverage social media power.

Petfood Packaging: Humanization of pets: is this an issue in Asia? How does it affect packaging design?

Joey Lo: It is very common in China. People love to use animal names as an IP or make them a logo (like the two Chinese e-commerce giants: Tmall uses a cat and JD uses a dog). The package can be more intimate and reduce the distance between you and your customers.

Petfood Packaging: How do you see future developments for packaging design in the Asian pet food markets?

Joey Lo: As fewer young people are likely to get married, having a pet is less expensive and can provide companionship. Millennials are picking pets over people. The food packaging needs to satisfy Gen Z’s appetite--fun and playful, as I mentioned above.

Petfood Packaging: Which packaging materials are currently used the most?

Joey Lo: The aluminum foil self-sealing bag has great resistance and it’s easy to store.

Petfood Packaging: The topic of recycling and recovery of packaging materials is at the forefront. What is the situation in Asia, especially in China? What moves consumers in particular?

Joey Lo: Environmental friendliness is a trend for sure, although this is not the Chinese audience’s priority for now. Millennials have great buying power and thus they would buy for its brand/product over the material. However, this may help your brand to boost sales if you make it as one of your USPs that you promote.

Petfood Packaging: Small food producers: how do they stand out? Are there niches and how do they present their USP?

Joey Lo: If you plan to sell in China, look into the online platform before you step in. Some start-up brands can go viral quickly on social media because they know what triggers sharing in the first place, which means that your packaging needs to embed social interaction and create a buzz-worthy topic.

Petfood Packaging: Mr. Lo, we thank you for this conversation.

Learn more about the company: boxbranddesign.com

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