Angela Spindler, Depot Creative

Professional in Packaging Design.

About Angela Spindler, Depot Creative

  • Winner of 7 A' Design Awards.
  • 7-Time Winner of Packaging Design Award.
  • Specialized in Packaging Design.
  • 7 Featured Original Designs.
  • Highly Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Packaging
Jacobs Coffee Coffee Beans

Jacobs Coffee Coffee Beans

Packaging Design

Baré Cosmetic

Baré Cosmetic

Packaging Design

Sisidyll Skin Care

Sisidyll Skin Care

Packaging Design

Beanopini Food

Beanopini Food

Packaging Design

Sven's Island Personal care

Sven's Island Personal care

Packaging Design

Matriarch Wine

Matriarch Wine

Packaging Design

Margan-Field Blend Wine label

Margan-Field Blend Wine label

Packaging Design


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Interview with Angela Spindler, Depot Creative

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I have been in the design industry for 30 years. I come from the UK but my design career has taken me to Germany, New Zealand and now Australia. My interest in design started very early, I had a keenness for typography and calligraphy and my very first commission at 17 was to hand letter certificates for Oxford University.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
Depot Creative is a boutique packaging, design and brand consultancy and we help people create, refresh and evolve brands.
What is "design" for you?
I would need to relate that question to my main discipline of packaging design and with that I would say design is about capturing a single idea and expressing it in the most compelling and memorable way possible.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
All kinds really, but the areas that excite me most are in beverage, health and beauty and gourmet food.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
That is a hard question to answer, as at the moment I have two. My first would be a project I completed last year for a coffee brand-Jacobs Coffee, which took a very simple idea and completely shattered the conventional way of packaging the product. The second would be for Bare Cosmetics, a range of bespoke natural extracts, which articulates the beauty of nature and its life sustaining ability in the form of facial serums.
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
I was working for an agency in London and I had the task of creating their new company logo, not much to ask of the junior designer, but much to my surprise it was implemented.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
I really enjoy working with different substrates, one of my greatest achievements was creating a copper wine label, lots of research and a great team facilitated the outcome.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
I am very detail orientated, so everything really but crafting a beautiful piece of type whether it is the brand mark or a piece of romance text on the side of pack, it is all equally important to the over all design aesthetic.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
Emotions are complex when relating them to design, the whole spectrum I would say, but when you can trust your reasons and judgments and feel happy with what you have achieved then that is a good place to be in.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
Relief sometimes and even sadness as well when a really great project comes to an end, but then you just start the next one.
What makes a design successful?
In packaging I would say the design is successfull when it is commercially successful. It is no good having a great looking piece of design that totally misses the mark at POP. That is why I enjoy packaging design as there is so much bound up in such a small space and you have to get it right otherwise you get overlooked and over shadowed by the product sitting next to you.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
I think some pieces of design are genuinely bad from a typographic, layout, image and understading perspective, we all know what these look like, they are the pieces that make your eyes bleed and make you want to weep. However before I judge a design I think it is good to be able to understand the brief that was given and any constraints that were applied.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
Our responsibilities are to deliver well considered ideas in a way that respects our society and our environment. Particularly working in packaging I think we are duty bound to be mindful of the resources we engage to get a product to market.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
Design style is clean and uncluttered. I think this style evolved simply from the discipline of packaging design. When you are working in such small spaces and wanting to maximise impact, you are very conscious of the value of space. My approach to design is very rigorous, I always do lots of visual research, write down key words, develop very clear ideas and set territories for the concepts and so it rolls on.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
I now live in Australia but am from the UK and have worked in Europe for a long time. I think I have been influenced by my cultural heritage but also working in Germany gave me new insights in to particular design disciplines, I think I learnt how to be far more rigorous and ultimately accountable for what I was designing.
How do you work with companies?
In a very open way. At the end of the day, you both have the same objective—to deliver the best outcome possible.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
I think that when you have that first face to face with a prospective client, that is when you can tell if the relationship is going to gel. Without having that sense of whether it is going to work, what is the point. That would be my recommendation, it is a bit like going on a first date—would you want to see that person again or not!
Can you talk a little about your design process?
We have a very simple 4 stage process that all of our projects fit to.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
I love chairs. I sit on a Charles Eames, and have two Mies Van Der Rohe tubular chairs. My kettle is the wonderful whistling design by Richard Sapper but I also collect industrial pieces so have machinist boxes, traffic lights and numerous odd pieces that have lovely typography or badges.
Can you describe a day in your life?
It revolves around my family and my studio. I have a wonderful son that I spend as much time as possible with and I have a career that still excites me after all these years.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
Do lots of pencil scribbles to clarify your ideas before you speak to your creative director!
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
Being a designer gives you great personal satisfaction. You have the ability to make change, share ideas, create new things.
What is your "golden rule" in design?
Having a single clear idea and bringing that to life in the most compelling way possible.
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
We are all Mac based so the usual suite of creative applications but my program of choice is illustrator. My most faithful tool is my no. 5 long handled scalpel, it has helped me create thousands of mockups over the years.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
As sensibly as possible. We have a time management system program that makes managing projects and particularly time quite easy.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
Tricky question, every project has its own individual timeline and that is driven by many factors. Its a question I rarely answer.
What was your most important job experience?
My first job, I started right at the bottom and learnt lots of skills that have served me well over the years.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
I really enjoy working in beverage and most recently in natural beauty- products that have a lifestyle edge are a lot of fun.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
I will continue to be a packaging designer but I am currently working with some industrial designers to bring out a range of my own products.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
Fortunately we have some very interesting works going through at the moment in the personal care category, so you may seem them entered next year.

Extended Interview with Angela Spindler, Depot Creative

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I have been in the design industry for 30 years, have a Masters Degree in Design and have worked across continents gaining valuable experience and insights.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
I became a designer as from an early age I had a very keen interest in type and calligraphy. I was very captured by the art of lettering, the forms and the power of type to express. My very first commission was at the age of 16, I lettered certificates for Oxford University and after that was lettering pub menu boards and anything where I could develop this craft. Becoming a designer, a packaging designer was a natural progression and my passion has remained constant. I am motivated by the idea that design can make aspects of the world a better place to experience.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I am a packaging designer and have found areas that interest me, so beverage, gourmet food, skincare and kids products.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
I think I was very privileged to work with some amazing mentors, so I listened, took criticism, and did things over and over again! That would be my advise.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
I think great designers are a fusion of many things, they marry creativity, intellect, skill, technical prowess, intuition with humility.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
Really good design has a unshakable idea behind it and is executed in a sharp and compelling manner.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
Good design can change the way you think, the way you experience and interact with all the things around you.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
I enjoy working with different substrates and so I have a dream project in mind that is product orientated and involves using some of my favourite utilitarian substrates-all going well this may be realized next year.
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
I don't think I have a secret recipe as such, I work in a very honest and genuinely passionate way and I never settle, so perhaps success lies in in a quest to always push harder, to always do more.
Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
The list is long and they rank among the classics but Mies van der Rohe, for his clarity and simplicity- less is more.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
Outside of being a packaging designer, I have a love of chairs and both my studio and home are filled with many- my current favourites are a string of circa 1930's cinema seats from a cinema here in Sydney, sadly I don't know who designed them - I suspect rather that a carpenter craftsman was commissioned. The design is simple, the detail quite lovely and they are enormously comfortable.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
If I have reached my greatest it would possibly be some work I did on a coffee brand where a very simple idea took a very regular, predictable format and shattered convention in its solution.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
For me personally design is about making things better in whatever capacity that may be, giving meaning and creating memory.
Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
As I mentioned, I worked with great mentors and my biggest supporter was Knut Hartmann, founder of Hartmann Design in Germany. He was generous with his knowledge, a brilliant typographer and hand lettering artist, a packaging design master and teacher who gave me space, autonomy and freedom to create and resolve.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
I have lots of interesting projects on at present but those involving collaborations with industrial designers are what you should expect to see.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
Those that remained true to the original idea, so little deviation from the initial concept.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
For a packaging designer all of these things contribute to awakening the senses.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
I work with a number of very talented people around the world who help bring projects to fruition.
How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
The awards are a great way of validating that you are contributing to better design and with that perhaps giving us all better experiences.
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
Favourite colour is charcoal grey, favourite place today is New Caledonia, all time favourite food is sushi, favourite season if I'm in the northern hemisphere is autumn, the southern spring, my favourite brand for as long as I can remember is Converse...
Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
Being asked to move type by 1 point by my creative director, doing nothing and representing my visual and receving a rapturous response of 'you see how much better that is'.
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
No two projects are the same and I guess I am genuinely lucky that 30 years on, my job excites me as much now as it did then.

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