What we did
- Structural Packaging
- Brand Design
Cast, a new jewelry collective, is utilizing storytelling to reinvent how consumers define and shop for fine jewelry. Behind this renaissance are Rachel Skelly, formerly of Olly Vitamins, and Eric Ryan of Method, Olly and Welly fame.
B R I E F
Cast was created with the intention to inject both metaphoric and literal color into the world of traditional fine jewelry. This vision created a brand with meaning behind every part of it -- from the designs down to the packaging.
Since the jewelry was going to be something special, Rachel and Eric wanted the packaging to do the pieces justice. Which is where we came in.
B A C K G R O U N D
Getting the Band Back Together
For this project, we got to work with some familiar faces. Rachel and Eric, with whom we've worked on Olly and Welly projects and as a extra bonus, our friends at Mythology for the branding side of the project.
Rachel's overall dissatisfaction of shopping experiences, specifically when it came to jewelry, presented her with the unique idea and opportunity to create an experience she would actually enjoy. She described traditional jewelry stores as feeling very sterile and colorless with the jewelry behind glass, no price tags, having to ask to try things on, and the overall experience as off-putting. Cast means to change this experience (or lack there of) into a narrative. For Rachel, "the jewelry [she] wears tells a story about [her], and makes [her] feel powerful. Everything ties back into telling a story,".
With that, “Story” was the first potential name for the brand. When explaining how the final name was eventually landed on, Rachel elaborated: “Mythology must have come up with more than a hundred names for us. But when they presented Cast the excitement in the room was palpable. We of course love a short and memorable name, and loved the confident sound of the word. It didn’t feel overly fussy or jewelry focused. We got excited about the various meanings of the word and how they were all so relevant to us and this brand that we were creating. Obviously we love that it speaks to the craft of jewelry making. But even more so that it speaks to the cast of characters in your life, that you make memories with. The cast of light that comes off of gorgeous jewelry. The cast of energy that comes off of someone when they feel amazing (as wearing jewelry has the power to do). And the list goes on…”
But it wasn’t as simple as just finding a name and wanting to change the shopping experience. Rachel elaborated on how, “We set out to create a brand that felt both fresh and timeless. It was important to Mythology that it had a sense of history and grounding and from a packaging perspective we wanted to create something that would be a keepsake - not just a fancy box. So the designs needed to be rich with character. Working with Prime and the team at Mythology was kind of a magical journey where the brand began to reveal itself and the layers have continued to build from there.”
P R O C E S S
Because the players in this project had such good previous working relationships we decided to challenge ourselves to a 4 month sprint with us working on the physical aspects in tandem with Mythology working on the brand development to get to a point where we had a "GO or NO GO" feeling about the concept - and it ended up being pretty down to the wire.
However, then the pandemic hit and the project’s timeline was forced to shift gears. Rachel confessed this change worked out for the best though. She explained that both her and Eric were accustomed to a fast paced work environment and the pandemic was a lesson in how to slow things down. This allowed more time for even more thoughtful design and decisions – very fortunate as there was a lot to think through.
In terms of the packaging, Rachel said she wanted the packaging/cases to be like pieces of jewelry themselves. To tell a story, to be something people are proud to display, and to do the jewelry inside justice. And for the jewelry itself, Rachel wanted to create a brand that paid respect to the traditions and craft of fine jewelry but also had a modern spin she thought the industry needed.
For us at Prime one of the challenges was that we were creating packaging for pieces that didn't even exist yet and another challenge was that we were tasked with developing designs that would work equally well at retail and e-comm channels.
The creative process was a series of 2 or 3 week check-ins where each team would present their fresh creative work and as a group we would decide which directions were working and how to combine them into a holistic vision. So our designs helped inform branding decisions whilst at the same time we were taking cues from the graphic brand development.
One of our early form ideas that resonated was the idea of an iconic drop shape - originally conceived in brass and glass but eventually translated into the rich bold patterns of the packaging today.
Throughout the development process we were considering how the design would scale to the entire packaging suite, potential construction methods and the purchase experience - both online and in person. This was a very fluid process and helped inform the preferred final direction for the brand.
Eventually the three teams - Cast, Mythology and Prime decided to move away from the concept of rigid, clear packaging to an approach which leaned more into color, pattern and materiality. This decision was influenced by a number of factors - the continued brand development from Mythology, the practicality of developing packaging suitable for a diverse range of jewelry from different artisans and also some preliminary costing information on potential cost of goods. We all wanted the packaging to be premium, covetable and keepable but we also wanted the actual jewelry pieces to be the hero.
This required some nimble rethinking on our part which lead to our final GO or NO GO presentation, some excerpts of which are shown below. This was a high-pressure meeting and all of the teams entered it not knowing if we had a big enough idea to move forward. Thankfully we all agreed that we were happy with the potential and Cast was born.
After the decision to move forward with the brand we kicked into gear with our usual Industrial Design efforts - CAD, Prototyping, Vendor Liaison, Sample checking etc.. and we couldn't be happier with the end result. It's one of the projects that everyone wants to pick up and feel when they visit our studio.
“Stuart and team were an absolute delight to work with—the best collaborators in the business. They navigated every aspect and challenge of the project with creativity, empathy and such a depth of technical skill, there wasn’t a single detail they didn’t consider.”Rachel Skelly Cast