Today’s Popsop guest and speaker is a very bright personality with a multicultural background and broad variety of interests and skills. French-born from Serbian parents, he speaks 5 languages including French, English, Mandarin, Russian and Serbian, holds degree in Applied Maths from prestigious Ecole Centrale de Paris and Management Science degree from Shanghai Jiaotong University. This is the man who dared to take a dive into the China world back in 2001 and launched a successful brand and research ‘laboratory balancing between rationality and creativity’ there. Now Shanghai-based Labbrand, founded and headed by Vladimir Djurovic, is an internationally recognized brand expert with clients such as ClubMed, L’Oréal, P&G, Disney, Volkswagen, IKEA, Gucci Group, Häagen-Dazs, ING, Nestle, TESCO and many others.

American packaging design industry veteran, Ted Mininni of Design Force, considers how the design providers became more ‘left-brained’ and analytical over years, shares the firm’s ‘survival strategy’ for the recessionary times and recommends some good and inspiring read for the U.S. peers.

A world-renowned brand and design expert with the 35-year history, with dozen of international design awards, which has repositioned Glenfiddich three times and Campari and Chivas Regal twice, — this is all about Claessens International. Company’s creative director, James Boulton, shares his vision on some latest trends in packaging design for alcoholic drinks, talks about their experience with Russia and discusses how globalisation influences the drinking culture around the world.

Today’s Popsop interview (the last one this year) is with Darren Foley, Managing Director of Pearlfisher studio in London, a packaging design specialist with fresh approach, unique culture and a long list of happy international clients. We asked Darren about how the UK design industry came through the post-recessionary 2011 year, about overseas opportunities and his vision on what’s to come in 2012.

This week Popsop has interviewed Coley Porter Bell CEO Vicky Bullen, who has led the team to the international recognition amongst clients far beyond the UK, including Russia. She tells about the projects with Pernod Ricard Rouss and Krupskaya Confectionery, discusses overseas opportunities for the UK design businesses and spots how to prevent Creative Britain from going in reverse.

While David Cameron’s visit to Moscow on Monday, 12 September, can hardly be regarded a full ‘reset’ in quite ‘chilly’ UK-Russia political ties, it should definitely have a positive impact on strengthening bilateral business relations between the countries. Talking business without politics, Russia has long been and still is an appealing market for UK companies in some key economic sectors. Taking into account a growing number of Russian companies looking to create and develop strong national brands, and, on the other hand, Britain’s vibrant expertise in branding and design, UK and Russia seem to be ‘uniquely placed to help each other grow’ in this direction, indeed.

Have your say, share your thoughts with other readers

Over the past few years, we’ve seen the Russian business grow bigger, demonstrating interest in overseas expertise in nearly every aspect of economy and public life. Brand and design area has been no exception. When it comes to branding, major Russian companies are more likely to entrust their branding budgets to the UK design experts. Think, for instance, of the latest collaboration between and CampbellRigg who have unveiled the new retail design concept for its stores in Moscow this week. While the UK’s creative services become more popular in Russia, the number of international projects of such kind is growing each year.

As a part of our research on the UK-Russia collaboration in the area of brand and design, we at Popsop have decided to interview the top-notch UK brand industry stalwarts well-known in Russia for their branding work done for the local clients.

Without a doubt, FITCH heads the creative ‘list’ of pioneers who dared to enter the Russian market and make a difference on it, literally, by changing the perception of branding as a key value for some biggest (and the most successful in their segment) Russian businesses to date.

We had a pleasure to ask Elena Chuvakhina, the Head of Business Development, Russia at FITCH about how the company’s ‘success story’ in Russia began and what their future expectations on working in Russia are.

A successful story of Russian-British collaboration in the area of design goes back to late 1990-s — early 2000-s, when such Russian brands (now among the most valued domestic ones, by the way) as Russian Standard Vodka (1998, Identica) and MTS (2006, Wolff Olins) were designed. That was the crucial moment, when the biggest Russian business entities from various industry sectors realised the power and value of the design and branding ‘made in Britain’.