Through a designer’s eye
BY MOANA WILLIAMS, DESIGNER
After years of study and hard work, it’s every creative’s dream to work with a talented team at an end-to-end design agency. For Moana Williams, it was her reality. Moana shares what it was like to join Baseline as a graduate, and the joy of being fully immersed in the Good Guise project from day one.
The dream team
As university came to an end, I was eager to enter the design industry. Soon after graduating I received a message on Linkedin about an exciting opportunity at a local design agency called Baseline.
During our first meet and greet, everyone was super friendly and the team’s shared knowledge was inspiring. I was amazed to discover that the design studio even included a full-on production facility. We were talking about the value of client workshops, in the context of developing the brand positioning, and the more we talked together, the more I wanted to be a part of the process.
I felt very lucky to have an amazing opportunity so soon! Within my first couple of weeks, I was flying down to Queenstown with my new team for my first proper client workshop. We met the Guise family (a farming family who went into cheesemaking when they learned real paneer wasn’t being made locally from cows milk) and co-designed their draft Purpose, positioning, and name territories.
We started the workshop by watching a Ted Talk by Simon Sinek on the importance of Purpose or why, and the amount of output we had in just four hours was amazing. It was a good learning opportunity to see the importance of starting a project with questions that got to the core of our clients as people, like “what gets you out of bed every day?” and “what’s important to you?” They made everything feel more grounded.
Being in the South Island, where the Paneer is made, we were able to properly connect with the Guise family and take in the Southland environment. Influenced by the mountains, landscapes, rich colours and textures around us, we learned about the processes and routines surrounding the Guise family daily lives. We started to consider the warm colours of the sunrise, fresh dewy grass, family banter and inside jokes.
It felt nice to work with the Guise family and together, articulating the brand positioning for their business. It was something they subconsciously knew, but it was challenged and clarified through our workshop and over the following weeks.
I think there’s something so special about family-owned New Zealand businesses. When things are just made the proper way. And every generation works hard for the next, which makes the business, and everything it stands for deeper and richer to each generation – so we wanted to make sure the logo and our work would honour this.
We developed 3 values: Challenge the norm, Connect our communities, and Create a legacy. They support the Purpose of Southern Hospitality (the “why” at the heart of their business and brand).
The final outcome was the result of a meaningful collaboration, underpinned by design thinking methodology, with our client and the Baseline design team. Using our “stand-up’s” to share ideas, we’d come up with different approaches, and then the next iteration would be built on a combination of both ideas.
I can’t imagine not working in this collaborative, way because you ideate based on the research and strategy. We landed on the new name Good Guise, based on their family name.
When it came to designing the wordmark, we went with a handwritten signature, their family name. It’s this idea of the pride you feel for something you’ve made by hand, and of course it’s a signature mark of quality that the Guise family is proud to stand behind.
Ideas into reality
When it came to designing and prototyping the shipper box for the paneer, we could create our design digitally and then test it physically with the product moments later. I loved the tangibility of having a full production facility at our fingertips.
There was a feeling of resonance in the studio as we applied the final label onto the product. Then seeing the product on the shelves at Costco (Auckland and Australia) was an awesome milestone for the project. We all feel truly proud, imagining people cooking and enjoying good quality, delicious paneer.
After the project, I was even inspired to make a cheesecake using the Good Guise paneer. One of their core values is “challenge the norm.” I was really interested in what paneer could be used for in terms of sweet desserts, so I had to give it a go! Their southland paneer brought this amazing texture and fresh flavour, which was a pleasant surprise. I brought the cake in for the whole team to enjoy and let’s just say it didn’t last long, the project had come full circle for us in the most delicious way.