Jump Jirakaweekul is a Bangkok raised, New York-based design director at the prestigious design agency Collins. He shares his thoughts on where premium design is headed and how to best approach it. 

What does premium mean to you as a designer?

“Premium means special. Special in a way that doesn’t always refer to the price point of something, and special in the way that it’s clear someone put a lot of thought and consideration into creating something. Essentially, it’s an experience from beginning to end.”

What was a typical premium brand in the past?

“Culturally, we link the idea of premium to brands that are high-end and higher in price. Many premium visual cues tie back to luxury fashion brands, which have been taken and applied to outside industries. Now, there’s a shift in what premium can mean. It doesn’t always have to be something expensive or high-end as long as the product and its packaging feel like a unique and enticing experience.”

What will premium represent in the future?

“I hope that premium will represent innovation in the future. Whether that’s technological or conceptual innovation, I think breaking away from the current definition of premium will open new possibilities of what else it can represent.”

 

For packaging to be really successful, it can’t just use all of the right tools. It’s important to use them thoughtfully as well. 

How important is packaging design for a premium brand? 

“Packaging is a huge aspect of premium brands – not only does it house the product, but it also creates an entire experience of how that product is meant to be perceived or interacted with. Premium packaging also usually has high quality materials, such as paper stock, and unique printing techniques, including embossing or foil. However, for packaging to be really successful, it can’t just use all of the right tools. It’s important to use them thoughtfully as well. It’s very easy for packaging to use gold foil and a thick paper stock, but does it feel special? Or is it just doing all the things you expect premium packaging to do? I think that’s where thinking about the experience and innovative aspect of packaging design comes in.”

Which brand packages reflect a premium product? 

“I think if a product is good and packaged in a way that feels special, that will make any product feel premium. Our work for Target’s Heyday is a good example of that. Heyday’s packaging is so sleek and thoughtful that it highlights the well-designed product while maintaining its utility and a sense of ease and delight”

Do you have any advice on how to signal premium? 

“There are so many traditional ‘premium’ cues in the design and branding world. Gold and black colour combinations, gold foil, elegant serif typography – question them all. Premium doesn’t have to come from a single aesthetic. It can come from anywhere as long as there is thought, consideration, and innovation. Think about how you would want to open up a product, and what’s necessary to communicate how we want people to use and experience it.
Of course high quality and special materials help the physical feel of packaging, but nothing unnecessary should be there. Everything should serve a purpose in the packaging experience.”