Colombo Design Studio (CDS), an Industrial Design and Innovations Consultancy, has continuously worked with Atlas Axilia(Ceylon Pencil Company) over the past five years to create a range of water drinking bottles and other stationery products to compete in the highly competitive entry to mid-level market in Sri Lanka.The purpose of the long-term collaboration is to bring new and exciting products to the Sri Lankan marketplace that are both designed and manufactured locally, thus reducing the import burden on the economy and increasing the pride and use of local design and innovation.
The true merit of this investment in design can be readily seen from the increase in market share and sales for Atlas: In the last five years the sales numbers have gone from 200,000 bottles per year to over 1 million. Realizing that design can be a powerful conversion tool with the ability to turn strategy into tangible business results, companies in the healthcare, technology, economics, transportation and entertainment sectors are moving towards spending more time and investment in optimised design strategies to support their next phase of growth.
The initial requirement was for a range of three designs to suit school children from 8 to 16 years, then a bottle with a straw and lid for young children and subsequently larger bottles to suit older kids and adults. Over the past five years or so CDS have been engaged to keep the range of bottles up to date as well as add new designs in to the mix, with over ten unique Atlas branded bottles now on the market.
Marketing Director Ramani Samarasundera confirmed “Working with Colombo Design Studio
provides us with fresh thinking for our new product development streams. The team at CDS are
able to turn their minds to the many different products that we currently produce from bottles
and caps to lunch boxes, glue bottles and math boxes to create new and innovative designs that
are not only unique and differentiated, but also hugely valued by the end user.”
At the time the two companies met Altas already had a strong position in the market for products such as the Chooty pen, Felta (felt tip colouring pens) and other stationery items, but not such a great market share in the reusable plastic water bottle space. They felt it was time to invest in some design and get their own range of water bottles that would be designed and made here in Sri Lanka.
CDS Director Lee Bazalgette says “The benefit of working with a design consultancy like ours is that our broad experience and exposure across a plethora of diverse product sectors gives us a unique outlook which translates itself into unique design propositions. Over the years we must have drawn over 500 bottle concepts for Altas, each one with its own different form and aesthetic, yet each one a 3D representation of the Atlas brand within the Sri Lankan context”
According to Adobe's State of Create 2016 report, “59% [of the global survey] will choose to do business with a company over one of its competitors based on good design, and 45% customers have even paid more for a product or service with good design that can offer them benefits such as greater usability, increased functionality and improved aesthetics. The effective use of design gives customers a reason for buying from you and not from your competitors. It's a valuable source of differentiation - a well-designed product or service will stand out from the competition.”
(https://www.adobe.com/content/dam/acom/en/max/pdfs/AdobeStateofCreate_2016_Report_Final.pdf - Section 4).
Ever since its inception in 1959 AltasAxilia (Ceylon Pencil Company) has been a trusted company with its flagship brand Atlas synonymous with excellence in Sri Lanka, and proved its strong presence in the market by having recently been acquired by Hemas Holdings PLC.
To find out more about product design and innovation visit colombodesignstudio.com and to view the Atlas range of products visit. www.atlas.lk