Century consumers, and young people in particular, are finding more value in
experiences than in possessions. So the possessions they most aspire to are the
ones that enable unique experiences. This means marketers must do more than
explain the functional benefits of the products and services they offer—they must inspire
people to take action and use them to create unique experiences of their own.
This often involves leaving some things to the imagination and trusting
consumers to connect the dots. But when a brand moves beyond simply
communicating to inspiring, it creates an almost unbreakable bond with
invented the graphite pencil in 1794. He developed ways of making harder and
softer leads and pastilles for sketching. His inventions were an instant hit, so
in 1795 he founded Conté à Paris. The
company has been a leading name in art supplies ever since, and an
inspiring story for which most brands would cut off their drawing arm.
But over many years, Conté
à Paris’ design had become bland and generic, looking just like every competitor
in the market—hardly befitting a brand with its unique history. The
packaging used an obvious idea. It showed an example of a drawing done with
pencils. But a specific drawing limits the imagination by effectively saying,
“Do this”, when the artistic possibilities of a set of pencils are endless.
The brand’s customers are professional and amateur artists,
always on the look out for visual inspiration. So, since the brand is
inextricably linked to Paris, we started there. Paris is one of the most
visually inspiring places in the world.
We went around the city taking photos of the places that have inspired
artists to paint and draw over the centuries.
The images that appear in the visual identity and on
packaging are carefully considered views of Parisian landmarks with
visual ideas hidden within them. For example, a set of ‘white only’
pastilles has a shot of the famous white church, Sacré-Cœur Basilica,
subject. Likewise, the ‘black only’ set of drawing pastilles has a night
time shot of a black cat on a Parisian cobbled street. The putty
rubber, which is used to erase unwanted sketching marks, has an image of
dustcart used to clear unwanted detritus from the streets of Paris.
The logo was inspired by lettering we discovered, embossed on
an old pencil in the Conté à Paris archive. We re-crafted it, reviving the
brand’s heritage and giving it a modern edge. The packaging has removable
labels so that the artist can discard them to be left with a beautiful, subtly-branded
metal container. These details all add up to make Conté à Paris a brand that does more than sell pencils—it inspires
you to draw.