In Estonian „Koor“ means several things and the founders were aware of that as they chose the word to be the name of the design agency.The word initially has two meanings: Koor, koore, koort – someone’s or something’s outer surface, either literally or figuratively. (in english: peel, bark, crust, also - cream) Koor, koori, koori – voices or tones that sound in unison. (in english: choir) The founders main purpose was to refer to the outer surface which gives a lot of indications about what is in the core of something. In modern consumerist society which is overflowing with information, the outer surface / the package of every product is very important. At the same time, it has become clear that the clients and people that they know each understand, perceive and use the name KOOR differently. Maybe this sort of variety and abundance of opportunities for interpretation is a good thing in the case of a creative service as this is. So no rules here - everyone has the option to understand the name as they wish.
✖ WHO: Package design agency KOOR, koor.eu
✖ PARTNERS: Hannes Paesoo, Hanna Sõrmus, Jaanus Veerberk
✖ HOW MANY: 5 designers and a project manager
✖ WHAT: Packages
✖ CLIENTS: La Muu, Kalev, Saku Õlletehas, Valio, Liviko, Leibur, Balbiino
What lies beneath the surface
KOOR has founded in 2011 and as the founders had the passion and experience in package design, this became their main focus. The company was started by three designers: Jaanus Veerberk, Hannes Paesoo and Hanna Sõrmus, but today they have 6 people working there – 5 designers and a project manager. Although with people, the outer surface is often deceptive, you can’t say that about KOOR. They promise to work with package design and they really do. If a client wishes to have a new visual identity, a logo or web design, they kindly ask them to consider another design agency that focuses on that. They have kept that principle only with a few exceptions – this is when a visual indetity is followed by a package. In the early years, one exeption was also La Muu. In this case the whole visual identity was created before the package – the brief was very motivating and well written by the client. This is one exeption that they can’t really regret, since LaMuu’s quick success has also helped to make KOOR more known.
The decision to only work on packages also defines the clientele. Small and microcompanies rarely need a separate package design. For them the package is part of a visual identity, which is why they order the whole service from one design agency if possible. Package design is separetly bought in by the industry which produces for the end-user. Not much of this kind of industry is left in Estonia but the food processing industry is still here and really more and more understanding the need of a good package. This is why KOOR is now partnering with many of the „big shots“ of Estonian food industry. Such as Kalev, Saku Õlletehas, Valio, Liviko, Leibur, Balbiino, etc. Mostly the role of the design agency is to create the graphic design for the package since the industrial lines determine the material, shape and other nuances, that are developed in printing houses, plastic or glass industries. The designers would love to sometimes work with innovative modern package solutions in cooperation with the developers of smart technologies, but there isn’t much demand for this kind of a service. Gradually the export numbers have started to grow and right now make about 25% of the sales. Co-operation with the owners of Estonian companies and foreign branches of big trusts have helped to prove the quality of the service to the trust which really has encouraged export. The main foreign markets are Latvia, Lithuania and Finland.
The choir of praise
KOOR has received recognition from many different design competitions and on their office walls you can find different diplomas and awards from the advertising competition Kuldmuna, ADC*E graphic and web design competition, Estonian Design Awards and also golden awards from Latvian and Russian competitions. Recognition cames thanks to the clients who are inspiring customers. Best client is the one who trusts and who comes to a designer with a problem not a solution. Problem isn’t that the package should be green, but the problem is the the customer doesn’t notice the product on the shelves. It is always easier to find solutions to a problem that is clear and doesn’t want to suggest it’s own answer. Designers say good things about the Estonian industry as a client. In addition to trust, they know how to plan time in projects and don’t assume impossible things. Several Christmas packages are already in the works, and this gives people in the agency an opportunity to focus on personal lives in the weekends and finish work in time. Since promptness, precision, and quality matter to KOOR.