Honoured with the red dot: grand prix: Ilka Eiche and Peter Oehjne
The designers Ilka Eiche and Peter Oehjne convinced the expert jurors at this year’s red dot award: communication design with their excellent packaging design for the vitamin supplement “Nano Maca”. Having been recognized with a red dot: grand prix, "Nano maca" is the best work in its category.
“Nano Maca” is a vitamin supplement made from the South American Maca root that has been cultivated there for over 3500 years and which has an effect that has been further enhanced with the help of nanotechnology. The aim was to create a brand, including the wording of product claims and packaging design, for this new product. Ilka Eiche and Peter Oehjne thus created a concept which is unusual and innovative within the vitamin supplement industry: “Nano Maca” is to be marketed as a wellness product, distributed via drug stores and pharmacies.
The design combines the attributes of a pharmaceutical product with those of cosmetics. The designers consciously refrained from any kind of borrowings from Inca culture for the packaging, which inevitably would have ended up as being “ethnic design”. For the brand mark, they only allude to the sun, the most important symbol of faith for the Incas, and they do so in an abstract way. The simple, clear packaging design by Ilka Eiche and Peter Oehjne underlines the honesty and credibility of the product.
Ms Eiche, Mr Oehjne, what does the award, the red dot: best of the best, and the nomination for the red dot: grand prix mean to you?
Since 1995, we have been taking part – although not on a regular basis – in the red dot design award. And since 1995, since the beginnings of the award competition, the red dot has developed into a reliable seal of quality. We are very happy to have received the red dot: best of the best; the nomination for a red dot: grand prix has left us at a loss for words.
As designers, what plans do you have for the future?
Not to copy ourselves as designers, but to consistently follow our maxim of developing individual solutions for each of our clients; trying to find answers to questions such as “Is there a true brand?”; and eventually to incorporate these answers into designs.
In your opinion, what are the particular challenges that a designer faces these days?
We believe that one of the greatest challenges is in the use of old and new media and, in connection with this, in the rapid changes in consumer adoption. It is exactly here that we notice a shift in values, in terms of design. Another challenge is to develop fresh styles that have not yet been seen and which are more than just an interpretation of past styles. Succeeding in this, however, depends on many factors so – unfortunately – many good approaches end up in the infamous “drawer”.
In terms of economics, how important is design?
Design is a service. Design helps differentiate products that in other respects are becoming more and more similar. And design is an innovation and identification factor. In the economic context it is impossible to do without such an understanding of design.
Do you have any design heroes?
We are fascinated, on the one hand, by designers who focus on simplicity, like Karl Gerstner, Otl Aicher, Pentagram or Tsukamoto Masato Design. On the other hand, designers who follow a fragmented or multi-layered approach, such as ‘8vo’ or ‘why not associates’ are also interesting. And those who know how to keep surprising us, like Studio Dumbar.
About Ilka Eiche and Peter Oehjne
Ilka Eiche, born in 1971, trained as a typescript editor before
studying visual communication at Fachhochschule Düsseldorf
from 1992 to 1997. She worked for several design agencies
before starting her work as senior designer at CDC/Frankfurt
from 1998 to 2000 where she was jointly responsible for establishing
the design unit. In 2001, she became joint managing
director of the Peter Oehjne Design agency in Frankfurt/Main,
which was then renamed to Eiche, Oehjne Design, Agentur für
visuelle Kommunikation, and has been based in Bad Homburg
Peter Oehjne, born in 1968, attended arts school in St. Gallen,
Switzerland, and the art academy in Paris. From 1988 to 1991 he
worked at Rottke Design in Düsseldorf, and from 1992 to 1997
he studied visual communication at Fachhochschule Düsseldorf.
He worked for Fitch RS and Hesse Design in Düsseldorf and as
senior designer for Simon & Goetz Design in Frankfurt/Main
among others, and founded Peter Oehjne Design in 1999, which
has traded as Eiche, Oehjne Design, Agentur für visuelle Kommunikation,