Leading through innovative trims and packaging design at Trimco Group
Jan 15, 2024
A Spotlight on Trimco Group’s Head of Design - Morten Frost Madsen
With his proficiency in both product and graphic design, Morten Frost Madsen and the design team are pivotal figures in our global setup, tasked with defining the design of our core solutions, trims, and packaging. Serving as the Head of Design at Trimco Group for the past 15 years, Morten is based in Denmark, where he leads an international team composed of 12 talented graphic designers and works closely with the Group Creative Director and CCO, Benny Nyborg. A team driven by their enduring passion for innovation and authenticity, Trimco Group’s design setup is a creative bunch that masterfully blends trends, form, and function to produce aesthetically appealing and practical trims and packaging.
A design road to trims design
Kick-starting his career in product design more than 20 years ago, Morten’s transition to trims came naturally. “The process behind a product design and a trim design are very similar, and I get just as big a kick out of designing, for example, a logo badge as do by designing a chair. In both cases, consideration must be given to aesthetic expression, material choice, production, and function.”, he mentions.
While the process might be similar, the industry plays a critical role when it comes to working with design. The fashion industry, compared to the product and interior industries, requires a greater readiness for change because everything just moves faster. “Deadlines are shorter, and trends shift quicker. It demands design versatility and the ability to understand many different styles and expressions,” says Morten. “My background certainly means that I strive to create well-thought-out designs that have a long lifespan - even if they are created for an industry characterized by short-lived trends.”, he adds.
Living in Scandinavia, the Danish design has naturally had an impact on Morten's work. He cites Danish designers Arne Jacobsen and Verner Panton, admiring their ability to be both outstanding form-givers and skilled graphic designers, embracing the concept of design as a total, creating harmonious wholes where architecture, furniture, lamps, plants, and textiles meld seamlessly.
Navigating Trends and Brand Identity
At Trimco Group, Morten's role involves integrating new trends into his work while preserving the identity of the brands he collaborates with. He doesn't believe in imposing new trends onto a brand's identity just because they're new. Instead, he focuses on understanding the unique DNA of each brand and integrates trends that can enhance their expression.
While there should always be room for innovation, it's also crucial to respect tradition and history. Morten aims to create a long-lasting evolution of brand identities, with an emphasis on sustainable designs that can endure aesthetically and materially for many years ahead4.
When working on collections, the design team allows themselves to be more experimental, freely implementing new trends and tendencies into collection solutions. These then hopefully inspire clients to follow a similar path. “Trends are both opportunities and threats”, Morten shares. “They provide a new and exciting space for innovation but can also result in serious problems -especially if one chooses to turn a blind eye to them. And the art is to hit the right trends and know how to channel them into our products.” In his view, it's more important to create designs that are "on trend" rather than "timeless designs". However, he strongly believes in the idea of creating long-lasting designs that are also "on trend".
Design is how it works
Steve Jobs once said that “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” When designing products or even packaging, function is a “must”. But where do form and function meet in brand identity item design? “In my world, form and function should be equivalent, and neither can stand alone in a design sense. It is in the interplay between form and function that good design arises. This is what distinguishes design from crafts. While crafts exist for their own sake, design also fulfills a functional purpose. Therefore, it is not enough for a design to look good - it must also work.” shares Morten.
In terms of trims, hangtags, badges, care labels, these are often seen as “throw-away” items. But lately, the “duty” of carrying important information about the product and brand, which end-users must access easily is a function trims must fulfill. “Waste sorting information, the implementation of circular fashion initiatives, or compliance requirements, use trims as the bridging element between the brand and end-consumer”.
Sustainable Design and Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Fashion
Instead of focusing on microtrends, Morten prefers to discuss gigatrends that he believes will most influence the fashion industry. He predicts that sustainability and AI will leave a considerable imprint on the sector. “The focus on sustainability has been prominent for a while now, but I only see this focus strengthening as pressure mounts on the world's resources and the climate crisis continues. There is still a need for sustainable solutions, and we cannot think about development and growth without incorporating sustainability into all decision-making processes.”
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is both fascinating and daunting, but it cannot be ignored. Morten mentions that “we cannot afford to close our eyes to it. I am a strong advocate for viewing artificial intelligence as a collaborative partner, not as a threat. Technology and humans become better together, and those people/brands that manage to leverage AI will gain a decisive competitive edge. In this light, I see myself as the designer who has something to say, intends to make a difference, and knows in which direction to go - AI should merely help me get there, and I look forward to embarking on that journey.”
Thousands of designs. ONE team.
“At Trimco Group, the magic lies in our seamless collaboration and collective effort. Each role, from the Creative Director to every graphic designer, is instrumental in shaping our work. We uplift every project and delve into every detail meticulously. It's a privilege to be part of such a dynamic team," concludes Morten.