How design transformed humble DIY product to win DBA Grand Prix

Graft is an adhesive and sealant range, used by builders and DIY-ers. Not exactly glamorous but it’s amazing what a great bit of graphic design can do

Polyseam’s previous sealant pack and the new Graft brand

The Grand Prix at the 2017 DBA Design Effectiveness Awards went to Graft, a new all-in-one adhesive and sealant range designed by The Engine Room.

Graft is made by British company Polyseam. Previously, the company mostly manufactured own-brand products for others, including Wickes, B&Q and Homebase. The Engine Room as asked to carry out a strategic review and brand development project for a new product ‘IPT’ – an all- in-one adhesive and sealant.

Competitive products: “the competitive landscape was confusing, with shelf space cluttered with a mass of competing, yet undifferentiated products”

Following extensive research, workshops and consultation, The Engine Room recommended redrafting the brief to develop a new brand featuring a range of products, not just IPT. “Typically, the competitive landscape was confusing, with shelf space cluttered with a mass of competing, yet undifferentiated products that are hard to decipher from one another. This led to stress purchases from the DIY-er and quality versus price purchases from the trade,” The Engine Room say in their DBA submission.

“If Polyseam were going to complete, it felt like they needed to step into the brand space, rather than stick to their manufacturing roots. But the opportunity was to do something different and stand out on the shelf, being clear on its proposition and confident in its application.”

Developing a range of products, The Engine Room say, would enable Polyseam to exploit a wider opportunity and make use of its manufacturing expertise. “We knew that trying to compete by simply making bolder claims and including more information on the label was not going to stand out. A confident approach was required where more would be less,” they say.

The Engine Room came up with the name – Graft – and a bold, clear approach to type and packaging.

Graft in-store

The creation of Graft has seen sales rise from £101,000 for similar Polyseam products before its launch, to £490,000 in 2015 and forecast sales of £852,000 for 2016. The design budget was £60,000, representing a return on investment in design of 22:1.

A great example of how some smart thinking, ambition and stylish, appropriate design can make a huge difference for any product, no matter how mundane.

See all the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards winners here

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