October 1, 2023


Travel Adventure

The power of brand differentiation

4 min read

“Every touchpoint should speak the brand,”​ said Van Gerwen, noting that goes for the packaging, too.

“It’s not just about the product itself, but the brand story behind it.”

Ahead of London Packaging Week, organisers Easyfairs spoke to Van Gerwen to gain insights into his world: the realm where art intersects with packaging design.

Building a culinary identity

A film director and director of photography, Van Gerwen’s expertise entwines both the technical and creative mechanics of building brand value, a process the Amsterdam-headquartered agency coins as its ‘culinary identity creator’.

It’s every brand owner’s dream to have their brand instantly recognised and remembered without much effort, but despite some very strong trends and dominant category traditions directing the landscape, Van Gerwen contends “there is so much sameness in the depiction of foods”​ today.

“A culinary identity is a strategy that dictates choices in food depiction,” ​he says.

These are the visual signals – either tangible or intangible – that represent the food, something that every consumer falls back on when making a purchasing decision.

“We all make choices in food depiction that steer us first of all in the direction of consistency, but second of all to be distinctive,”​ adds van Gerwen.

“Your brand has to be recognisable and it has to be meaningful. It’s not just about the product itself, but the brand story behind it.”

Olaf van Gerwen

Olaf van Gerwen

Taking this concept further, in another interview Van Gerwen explained, ‘while wearing a neon beanie in Soho House may signal that you belong to a certain group, it fails to highlight a unique personality.


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