Fashion Brand Fossil Adds a New Dimension to its Tin Packaging with Adobe

Fossil is a watch and lifestyle brand that has been synonymous with a distinct, modern yet vintage midcentury design aesthetic since the 1980s.

Today, that tradition lives on in an array of stylish watches, bags, wallets, jewelry, and other fashion accessories. Yet perhaps no single item at Fossil symbolizes the company’s unique design heritage more than its iconic tin watch packages.

Simply called tins, these small metal boxes with a reclosable lid have featured countless creative illustrations over the past 30 years. From Fossil’s corporate headquarters to its retail locations, tins are a prominent design feature. They are perched on shelves and desks, and arrayed like an art installation in a dazzling grid of tin along the walls. They’ve truly become a bedrock of the Fossil brand, as well as a fan-favorite collectible for watch wearers and graphic designers alike.

Sarah Stanley, an art director for packaging and brand products, said taking a tin from concept to illustration to final approval isn’t always an easy process. She and her team are responsible for developing about 26 new tin designs annually — between six and eight new tins per season.

“Tin packaging can be a difficult thing to get approvals on because we have to create paper physical mockups for approval,” Sarah said. “We spend half our time designing and the other half going back and forth between creating the paper tin mockups and getting them approved. If there is a change, we have to go back to the computer, reprint the design, then mock up the tins again.”

So when Sarah and other designers at Fossil recently received training on Adobe Dimension CC, they immediately understood how the application could rejuvenate their workflows and replace the tin paper mockups with digital renders.

The application, part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, gives designers who have little to no experience working in 3D an easy yet powerful way to create high-quality, photorealistic 3D images, said Jeanette Mathews, a product manager at Adobe who led the Fossil training session.

“Because the 3D visualizations are so close to the finished product, the team can iterate faster, try out more designs, and get higher quality feedback in every review,” Jeanette said. “It’s about making your workflow easier, so you can spend more time being creative.”

The Fossil team said they were impressed with Dimension’s ease of use, its ability to import and reuse existing 3D models, as well as its familiar user interface and interoperability with existing Adobe workflows.

Because Fossil designers already use Adobe Illustrator to draw the tins and Adobe XD for its online shopping experience, Dimension was a logical next step, said Sarah. With Dimension, they can even create website images for e-commerce and bring them into XD as part of their web design process.

“I was very excited about how easy Dimension was to use. We’re always on a time crunch, so I can see us using Dimension for everything moving forward, especially on the product side,” said Sarah. “Our tins are so important, so being able to see the artwork draped around them in real time is going to be huge.”