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What goes into our gifts?

Ever wondered how we get the ideas for our eye-popping gift range? Lush’s gift designer Suzie Hackney invites you inside the gift development rooms to see what inspires our seasonal and all year round gift lines.

What can inspire a gift range?
Inspiration can come from anything, a film, a quote from a book, and then develop into a theme so the whole range can work as one. The Neon Love gift was based on the soap, but we needed a fun, shower-orientated, gift so that’s where the fluorescent hearts and stripes came from. The paper design came from Japan and was originally destined for a knot-wrap, but when we mocked it up as a box it looked awesome! I thought ‘how can we make this into a collection?’ and I instantly thought ‘80s.’ It was a Cocktail theme, with neon signs and that went through into the whole collection. 

The Toucan love print was originally a design meant for the all year round range, but I saw it and the name came straight to me. It seemed the perfect name for a sharing valentines gift with two fabulous products inside.

Often the collection is initiated by the idea of a season but sometimes the best designs can come from an abstract idea such as the 'Ziggy Stardust' theme from last year's Christmas range.

So themes are important?
Yes, I work quite a lot with themes. I think it helps structure a collection otherwise you can get a big fuddled mess. Even if during the process the theme evolves, the original idea is still running throughout all designs so its the gel holding the collection together visually. I work better in threes when creating themes – I’ve got a thing about that! For the 2014 all year round range, our themes are Fauna and Flora, Optical and Geometric, and Vintage; inspired by packaging for children's toys from the 60's and 70's such as those by Galt toys, as well as supermarket packaging.

Do you go on any inspirational trips?
We often go as a team, then we can all work from the same stimulus. For Christmas last year we went on the Harry Potter studio tour as this was where the initial theme for Fireworks gifts came from. There's nothing better than opening your eyes and seeing, but really looking and taking notice of what is going on around you. Its great to share this with the team working on the collection, and also nice to take in an environment in your own time too.

Do you enlist guest designers?
Yes we have started working a lot more with external designers. Not only does it give us insight into what’s out there in terms of current design, but enables us to work with designers all over the world who wouldn't necessarily add their designs to packaging, which creates something really unique. Sometimes I go to agencies and see who is on their books, or approaching designers directly. They will all work differently and it's nice to have that variety.

You work with designers all around the world, how do you share your ideas?
We use Pinterest in the UK, and I send mood boards to our other global designers. With freelance designers I work very differently as it is often their style that is the attraction, so the idea for the print will be partially inspired by them.

Is appealing to the senses is important when you’re planning a gift range?
Touch and senses are a huge part of what we do. We’re always trying to think about how to make our gifts appeal to the senses. For example with the Christmas fireworks-themed gifts, and using the cracker snap effect and the confetti in Surprise. We are also experimenting with sound too! It’s about heightening the experience and enabling shops to demo gifts as they would products.

What’s the best thing about your job?
I’ve worked for Lush for about six years. I almost feel like it’s a reward. It’s an incredibly creative and inspiring department to work in. Being able to be a part of the Lush gift-giving experiences accross the world is something myself and the gifts team are all very proud of. 

Gift designer at lush choosing ribbon
gift inspiration at lush

"The best designs can come from an abstract idea such as the 'Ziggy Stardust' theme."

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