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My Interview with Brand Britain’s Russel D’Ambrosio
From:
Richard Gottlieb -- Toy Industry Expert Richard Gottlieb -- Toy Industry Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: New York, NY
Tuesday, July 5, 2022

 

Russel D’Ambrosio is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Brand Britain, a specialist creative agency working with some of world’s biggest toy and games brands.

Russ has honed his creative skills over 30 years and specialises in strategic creative direction, packaging design, ideation and in-store activation. He founded Brand Britain in 2010 with Co-Director, Steven Sterlacchini to focus primarily on becoming the leading toy and game creative agency in the UK.

Richard:           Brand Britain sounds, well, British. Do you only serve the United Kingdom, or do you service other countries?

Russel:           Don’t be fooled, Richard! Whilst we do love to celebrate our Britishness (as you’ll probably have guessed by our name), we’re very much an international design agency. In fact, we currently have clients in the US, Canada and Switzerland.

Richard:           What are your primary services, and what differentiates you from your competition?

Russel:           I’d say that catch-all term for what we do is ‘packaging design’ but to be honest, there’s so much more we get involved in. It sounds like a cliché, but we really do become an extension of our clients global team. That means we’re often invited to contribute at the embryonic stages of toy and games development (long before branding and packaging design even begins). Sometimes we’re even invited to engage with inventors. I think that’s what sets us apart from many other agencies. We’ve lived and breathed toy and games branding for so many years that we actually think like brand owners.

Richard:           One of your first questions for a new client is to ask what their brand intends to say about its reason for being. Can you explain why you ask that question and what it means? 

Russel:                        We ask that question to unearth purpose. We unearth purpose to articulate relevance. We articulate relevance because, well, if a toy or game isn’t relevant to its audience they’re never going to be inspired to choose it over the thousands of other toys and games available. It’s just design logic – before we can start to design a brand, we need a granular understanding of why it exists, why it matters.

Richard:           Brand Britain has undergone explosive growth over the last three years. That’s impressive any time, but particularly with a pandemic going on. How did you do it?

Russel:           I think the answer to that is consistency in both service and creative integrity. I know a lot of companies needed to pivot to survive, as a business owner I understand that. We just didn’t want to become anything else. We knew that by holding the ship steady, never compromising on the quality of creative design we provided, and continuing to be commercially prudent, we’d not only survive – we’d thrive. And that’s exactly how things have played out.

Richard:           Who are some of your major clients, and how long have you serviced them?

Russel:          Hasbro is probably our longest standing client in this space. They’re like family to us; we’ve worked with them for nearly 30 years now. We’ve also added many other highly respected toy and games brands to our client roster, including Spin Master, Golden Bear and Fox Mind. 

Richard:           One of your areas of strength is your ability to not just create packaging but to create packaging that is country appropriate. It’s not just the language; it’s the colours, the symbols, and other non-verbal messaging. Can you tell us about non-verbal language and how you go about it translating it from one national culture to another?

Russel:           The key to ensuring the packaging we design is ‘territory effective’ is semiotic research. Semiotics are important to designers like us, especially as our designs often need to translate well visually wherever they are sold, and that often means spanning several geographical markets. The research itself helps us to understand the visual codes (be that colours, shapes or iconography) that will resonate most deeply with the target audience. Put simply, semiotics allows us to study how a design concept or creative asset communicates meaning within that particular setting. How we go about adapting packs to maximise impact in a given market very much depends on the commercials (budget, distribution etc). If a toy and games brand is being rolled out globally but only one iteration of the packaging design is possible, we would actually use semiotics to ensure our design is as universal as possible and to avoid design routes that might alienate a significant customer segment. It goes without saying that, over and above the graphical tailoring, we can also handle language translations for on-pack copy, enabling us to deliver an end-to-end solution.  

Richard:           If someone wants to learn more about Brand Britain, how can they go about doing so?

Russel:           It goes without saying we have a website where people can find out more about our team and view some of our work – www.brandbritain.co.uk. We also love to hear from people though, anyone who wants to view some of our very latest work just needs to drop us an email to team@brandbritain.co.uk and we’ll be happy to share our very latest work.

Richard:           Do you have a toy on your desk or in your office?

Russel:           Of course! There are toys and games everywhere you look in the studio – we’re in the business of ‘creating fun’, we like to immerse ourselves in it. I recently came back from holiday, and while I was there picked up a great game called ‘Dobble’ to play with the kids. Now that I’m back in the studio, it’s taken residence on my desk – the whole team love playing it!!!

Richard Gottlieb

Global Toy Experts / Global Toy News

646 675 3019

richard@globaltoyexperts.com

 

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Richard Gottlieb
Title: CEO
Group: Richard Gottlieb and Associates, LLC
Dateline: New York, NY United States
Cell Phone: 646-675-3019
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