Agency: Thought Over Design
Creative Director: Anushka Sani
Designers: Avantika Amladi, Shreya Vyas
Motion Designer: Anisha Sirur, Farshogar Vazifdar
Creative Team: Swati Dua, Sahil Behal, Sonam Chandna, Aesha Merchant, Priyanka Shah
Cast: Aaliya, Nitya, Kupu, Roselyn & Yvonne
Project Type: Produced
Client: FAE Beauty
Product Launch Location: India
Packaging Contents: Vegan Lipstick
Packaging Substrate / Materials: Plastic Bullet, Paper Box
Printing Process: Screen Printing, Digital Printing
India has a deeply rooted problem of colorism —where lighter skin is prized and coveted— and a very skewed notion of what counts as beautiful. Women in India grow up seeing a slew of advertisements and popular media that valorizes fairness even though there exists a spectrum of skin tones, across the subcontinent, ranging from light to dark. For those who are not light skinned the message is that one of being ‘not good enough’.
In part this is a hangover of colonial times and in part a historical bias — something shared by many other Asian and African countries. Most representations of ‘beautiful’ women in Indian media are of fair women. So systemic is the belief that ‘fair equals beautiful’.
The largest (also, most profitable) beauty and cosmetic companies are guilty of this and see nothing wrong in marketing fairness, since it’s good for business. It’s not uncommon to see both female and male actors/models white-washed or brightened for billboard / market appeal.
While the conversation over the last few years has definitely evolved with the language used- we still find many mass market brands (and even some very large international brands) visually tweaking and playing with skin tone to be more marketable.
When given an opportunity to work with a new beauty start-up, the first thing we did was a gut check on whether we’d be able to do something that questioned this status quo. Our client was on the exact same page, and that was a green signal to work together on something not just fun, but also meaningful. Even though it meant not fitting into what may be easier to market.
FAE Beauty was born from this thinking and ethos. FAE Beauty stands for Free & Equal Beauty which is exactly what we wanted our purpose to be.
We even named the lipstick shades with bold statements that people think of in their heads when they try on or look at a certain shade – playing on the unspoken perception largely created by media and society.
We created a strong brand ethos, a bold & dynamic brand identity and built a set of visual assets for the brand from photography to graphic illustrations.
Designing the packaging was about creating an iconic statement for the brand. We chose a clean white bullet to stand out from most brands in the beauty space in India. The iridescent finish on the carton, is meant to subtly imply the inclusiveness of the brand in every respect. We worked closely with the product development team to pick and choose size, finish, color for lipstick bullet.