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The Need for Product Representation

February, 2020

What separates an okay product visual from a great one? The answer to this question lies in the product’s representation, a key concept for designers working on brands to know. No one knows that more than Daniel Gonzalez, one of our art specialists. He shares some of his insights on techniques, software, and the importance brands should place on receiving the best representation of their products.

But what is representation? According to Daniel, representation is about how to interpret concepts realistically. “It’s about depicting products visually and realistically,” he says, “the main goal is to offer clients distinct types of representation.”

Offering different techniques for representation is important because every technique offers something unique. Clients may need a visual that’s easy to edit or something that is adaptable to extremely large sizes. By understanding these needs, a designer can know that the technique to use would be vectors; which are files that are easy to edit and to scale.

Another technique used for product representation within 121 is matte painting. It’s a discipline that in part uses photographs to create compositions. Commonly used in the film industry because of its realism, it has eventually found its way to CPGs. As Daniel describes it, matte painting applied to client projects is “like retouching a photo, but in a way that’s more extreme.”

A big part of matte painting’s realism has to do with the exact nature of the work. While reviewing past matte work for a client, Daniel points out small details. The filtering of light here, a shadow there; little things that at first glance don’t seem like much, but when they are missing, their absence is glaring.

This same level of detail is seen with the CGI work created by 121. What starts off as blank base modeling evolves into something photorealistic and lifelike. Through careful development, designers are able to recreate existing products digitally.

Being able to develop CGI offers more than just realism to clients. This technique is cost effective, especially when compared to photoshooting. Unlike photoshooting, changes can be made at any time to the final product—a valuable characteristic for brands while testing different designs among different audiences. Design trends, such as 360 degree models on e-commerce pages, can be created, making consumers feel like they can hold the product in their hands.

It’s this connection between brand and consumer that is at the heart of digital representation. With e-commerce purchases continuing to rise year after year, overcoming the screens of desktop and mobile devices becomes more important. It’s attention to detail that Daniel, and other art specialists and designers, know that clients appreciate.

Having designers that understand the principles of representation helps, but so does working with the right software. Showing a CGI example of jars of jam, Daniel explains where the program of choice internally comes into play.

He says, “Glass is a tough texture to get right, and so is the texture of the jam. But it does turn out well. Sometimes we’ll take a picture of the texture as a starting point. We’ll then apply that to a material within the program, which the program will then take that information to form the texture of the jam as well as shape the form of the object where the texture is being applied.”

The results of this technique speak for themselves. Even though it is for an imagined line of jams, it is easy to see why brands would appreciate this treatment for their real products. Brand equity is a topic that marketers across every industry, including CPGs, are consistently addressing. Having excellent visual representation plays a large role in managing brand equity.

Whether a product has been on the market and part of consumers lives for decades or just launching, it must always be represented in the best light at all points of contact with external audiences. Working with a team that understands the finer points of getting representation right is a boost to any brand.

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Last Edited on May 25, 2018