What’s it like being a Colour, Trim, and Graphics Designer?

Laurence Bourghol, Betty Forget, and Jenny Holm | Hands & Minds

KISKA’s CTG Design team is united by brand building. Using colour, textures, graphics, and materials they express and elevate brand identity through products.

What do you do as Colour, Trim, and Graphics (CTG) Designers?

BETTY: We make sure a product becomes a product OF a BRAND.

LAURENCE: Yes! Also known as CMF and Product Graphics Designers, we are in charge of the look and feel of products. We make sure that their emotional appeal fits their brands’ core values, while also being relevant to users for a long time. It’s all about establishing consistency.

JENNY: To do this, we work with Transportation and Product Experience Designers to accentuate products with materials, textures, graphics, and colours. All with an eye out for future trends, or creating them ourselves.

BETTY: And it’s all done while serving the overall function of a product. Every element of a design has a job to do. Nothing is just for show.

Describe your day-to-day work.

LAURENCE: No day is like the other. One moment I’m working on trend research, trying to figure out what the future looks like. The next, I’m focussing on presenting CTG proposals to the client. Another, I’m hands-on, working with the motorcycle models and checking our concepts in 1:1 scale.

We are involved from the start of a project, which means working with people across the studio. We spend a lot of time connecting the dots between the different areas of brand and design to deliver CTG proposals that bring everything together.

BETTY: To maintain some routine, I like to start my days with a little tour around the studio to chat with the designers. They’ll update me about the progress of projects, or any changes. I work on several projects daily; switching between products and tasks often, so this approach keeps me in touch with everything.

JENNY: We also work with other services like Product Experience Design, UX Design, and Apparel Design. But we always carry over the fundamental CTG tactics. We work from ideation and concept sketching, to illustrating with tools like Photoshop and Illustrator. Then, we create graphic templates from the products, matching them 1:1, which allows us to control and evaluate colours, textures, and finishes in-house. Finally, we transfer it all to production.

How would you describe your team dynamic and how you work with KISKA clients?

JENNY: Our team is very international and vibrant, and we love to share ideas with each other.

BETTY: Jenny is right. It’s great to work with people with all these different skills. Everyone brings something unique to the table. 

LAURENCE: In a fast-paced environment it’s important to keep things collaborative, supportive, and solution-oriented. This is the mindset we foster in our team.

This tracks with how we work with clients, too. We really listen to them, so we can understand their needs and propose accurate solutions, while still pushing boundaries of expectation.

BETTY: Working directly with a client is always an exciting exchange of ideas. You get real perspective about what is best for their brand, because they always tell you much more about their needs than what you will ever read in a creative brief. You find out where they want to go, and you can think ahead to the next step, so long-term strategy is always in-mind. When I’m working on one product, I’m always thinking about the next.

What’s the best thing about your job? And, the most challenging?

LAURENCE: The people at KISKA definitely make the difference. I love being part of this environment where there is a common effort to build up new visions for brands. And working on three-dimensional products that trigger such emotion is as rewarding as it is challenging.

JENNY: I’m so happy to be part of such a broad variety of projects so far. If you show a desire to develop further, there are lots of opportunities to do so. There are many great minds who are happy to share their expertise here. 

Betty: The most rewarding – and challenging – part of the job for me is explaining the importance of CTG to a client who isn’t familiar with what it is or what it can do. CTG is the identity of your product. A colour or texture can make a big difference when you need to stand out in the market. We always get there in the end.

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