Innovation. That is the driving force behind Chef'n's relevancy in the kitchen ecosystem. With the power of an in-house industrial design team there is constant collaboration, conversations, and of course cooking (for product testing purposes). As a graphic designer at Chef'n we had to make sure that we worked closely with the ID's, learning about their practices, drooling over their sketches, taking notes on product dimensions. Designing packaging was just as important as designing products, in a self-service retail environment, packaging is the salesman, we had to make sure we let the customer know why we were different.
Packaging Dielines + Design
Packaging design is hands down one of Chef'n's most important design projects. Products are cleverly designed, the packaging needs the same attention to detail. When creating dielines, we have to be just as clever, surprise and delight is one of our favorite parts of this stage. Security and protection is the important part of dieline creation, but it doesn't cost anymore money to design safe and secure dielines that also bring a smile to consumers faces, even if it is just one extra flap with a fun food shot or a cheeky piece of copy. From researching, sketching, and measuring all the way up to approvals of factory samples I led 4 product launches worth of packaging design, which is around 8 products per launch, and 2 launches per year.
You know that packaing that holds all your Pokemon cards, the one you just couldn't let go of? I strive to acheive that allure with packaging I design, I want someone to chuckle to themselves when they read a cute piece of copy or just think for a moment, "Hey, this is pretty cool." when they find out a special feature that their product did that they didn't know about before.
Focusing on packaging was important, but we had to cater to our customers too not just our consumers. Selling to small mom & pop kitchen supply stores and to huge retailers such as Bed Bath & Beyond, our catalog had to be professional and easy to shop from. Layout and clean photography was our best friend when it came to catalog, things had to be simple, so our brand could shine. Working with photographers was a big part of the catalog process, art directing photoshoots in a hectic and fast environment became natural.
The Best Culture
Chef'n had some of the best company culture I have ever been apart of, the work atmosphere and constant strive to innovate powered my work ethic. The fun loving attitude of all my coworkers influenced my need to explore when creating. We were always allowed to experiment, that's what led to a fun side project, the mural. With the help of my designer friend, Alex Van Gilder, we created a huge chalk mural for the kitchen at Chef'n. Filled with inside jokes and product illustrations, it still stands today.
Churro Eating Contest
One of my fondest memories at Chef'n was the Churro Eating Contest. One day I (jokingly) mentioned that I could easily eat 10 Costco churros. Well my art director Jae Lim pushed the envelope and made it official. We got 25 churros and forced our intern, Calvin Lien, to participate. I was forced to stop at 7.5, everyone was a little worried for my health, but I did take home the win.