The Condé Nast College was delighted to welcome renowned award-winning packaging creative Vincent Villéger this January to our virtual lecture theatre via Zoom.
About Vincent Villéger
Born in France, Vincent studied for a Foundation in Orléans, and then a degree in Paris at École Nationale des Arts Appliqués et Métiers d’Art. Vincent came to England for his Masters degree where he immersed himself in British life. Vincent ran his own business with his wife Angela, producing designs for top beauty brands including Givenchy, Yves St Laurent, Boucheron, and Issey Miyake.
He subsequently joined Burberry for eight years where he was asked to set-up and lead the packaging design team, to build and drive the packaging design function to “make Burberry the number one British luxury brand.” The emphasis was on sustainability as well as on brand expression.
His achievements at Burberry include iconic packaging for fragrances “My Burberry” and “Burberry Bespoke” amongst others, as well as the redesign of the retail and digital commerce packaging. Vincent now provides support to luxury brands globally as a consultant. His recent work includes designs for online furniture retailer Made.com, contemporary jewellery brand Vashi, and British beauty brand Molton Brown.
Vincent has been awarded a D&AD pencil, a Dieline Award and British GQ’s Editor Award for the design of the Molton Brown Fine Fragrance Collection.
Vincent Villéger Industry Talk
Vincent began his talk by taking the students back to the beginning of his career when he produced his first design for Issy Miyake 25 years ago. He went on to explain how he came to the realisation that he was interested in creating luxury product design. Confessing to being extremely niche in what he does, Vincent proclaims that “Sticking to your lane can be a good thing.”
Why you should care about packaging
“What we need to understand is that shopping is not a commodity… we don’t shop because we need stuff. We shop because of how it makes us feel. It’s about the experience… that is a key reason why packaging matters.” explains Vincent. He went on to explain the connection between the story, the essence of a brand, and the outcome of luxury packaging. He used his work for Burberry as an example. He elaborates further about the necessity of packaging explaining that “your packaging is your only opportunity for your customer to experience your brand in a tactile way.”
Breaking down the importance of packaging to the CNC students, Vincent put great emphasis on packaging being sustainable noting great options such as mushroom and recycled coffee cups as standard materials available for use, and their fantastic appearance, “To opt for sustainable materials is no longer a creative choice. You can [get the] look of your luxury counterpart by using more sustainable materials” says the dynamic designer.
“The consumer now has a different idea of what luxury should look like. It’s what it does to the environment before what it looks like. If you’ve got the strong story to back it up and a strong point of view, your consumer will go along with you on that journey.” Vincent Villéger
See Vincent’s iconic Molton Brown bottle design featured in the 2021 British GQ Grooming Awards…
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Sustainability in Packaging
Sustainability in package design is of utmost importance to Vincent and he has been integral to creating a more sustainable output for Burberry. Vincent elaborates on how he reformed the packaging at the renowned fashion brand through his practice of always going with the design first and the graphics last. He explains that his process involved looking at the tactility of an object first and the graphics last.
“I broke about every single rule in the guideline document for Burberry… Sometimes you have to know when to transgress the rules, to just come up with something that is going to be the right thing to do.” Vincent Villéger industry talk.
Through many of his projects with Burberry and Molton Brown – to name a handful – Vincent has placed paramount emphasis on the importance of the materials used – often sourcing unique paper or card or indeed developing unique materials for the project. One great example of this is the special paper he developed for Burberry that was custom made to imitate the Gabardine fabric used for their iconic trench coats.
He also notes the incredible work he has done with brands such as Givenchy on their refillable Ange ou Demon fragrance as well as his GQ award-winning refillable fragrance bottle for Molton Brown, explaining the necessity of this perspective, “You place the value on the item and then you’re going to reuse this item time and time again. That circularity and the re-use piece, is probably the best thing you can do from a sustainability angle versus recycling for instance.” Continuing on the pressing matter of sustainability he explains, “The consumer now has a different idea of what luxury should look like. It’s what it does to the environment before what it looks like. If you’ve got the strong story to back it up and a strong point of view, your consumer will go along with you on that journey.” Putting simply how each and every brand could be taking the measures to ensure their impact on the environment is minimal on today’s production line.