Creating On Fire Brand Design


In an often crowded market, how do brands stand out? What makes for on-point brand design? We sit down with the Founder of award-winning Onfire, Sam Allen, who offers some unique insight into making your brand visually appealing.

In 2019, Auckland-based design outfit Onfire was New Zealand’s most internationally-awarded branding and packaging agencies, having won Gold and Bronze at the prestigious Dieline Awards in Chicago, USA – the Academy Awards for packaging design.

So, what makes for award-winning brand/ packaging design?

Onfire has has received some great international recognition when it comes to our brand design work. We picked up a Red Dot award in Germany and gongs in Australia, UK and China for a variety of projects. Onfire was voted top 50 most creative global agencies by World Brand Design Society, in fact we got in the top ten in 2018 and 2019.

My vision for Onfire Design is longevity in business, work with great people…and have fun doing it. Consistently producing great work that is both highly effective and achieves the results for our clients (well, we aim to exceed these in each case) leads to building tangible relationships with those existing clients and naturally leads to working with other great people who either see our work or get recommended; the best brand ambassador is a happy customer. That’s our feedback loop for quality of work. 

We believe highly effective packaging comes from great ideas that are strategically sound, they need to tell a compelling story and get cut-through. It has to disrupt on shelf and delivery on the USPs.

To win awards you have to deliver on all these things and have an exceptional level of craft in the design. Plenty of blood, sweat and tears.

Our aim has been to create a high performance centre, with a great work culture and great people. We have no desire to be the biggest, but we do aim to be one of the best (like the All Blacks of design).

How important is your CX strategy in achieving great brand design?

Our customer experience strategy involves getting to know our clients products and consumer inside out, using this knowledge to design or refresh brands that people want. We also place importance in being as invested in the business or brand as the client, with that comes a level of empathy when we look to challenge where they have come from, where they are now and, more importantly, where they need to be. 

This allows us to go beyond the brief to answer real consumer needs with a simple solution and an authentic voice. Substance is just as important as style. We do this for clients of all shapes and sizes. And, we know talk is cheap; so, it’s worth mentioning that sometimes when we spot an opportunity, we apply this thinking ourselves. Yes, we use the same methodology to create our own brands. 

For more insight and advice on best practice when it comes to your brand, get a copy of our Brand Issue, on sale here.

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