Esther Lalanne and Shay Hamias create an “energetic gathering of limbs” for Skittles Pride Month pack

NERD Productions partnered with the sweet brand on the project, allowing its LGBTQIA+ talent to create something “that represents them and their community”.

We recently introduced NERD Productions, a diversity and inclusion-led creative production company that has collaborated with the likes of Nike, Instagram, Apple, and Google, to name but a few. Founded in 2016 by executive producer Milana Karaica, NERD was the result of years spent in a creative industry that was still grappling with racism, marginalisation and a distinct lack of diversity. These experiences led Milana to carve out her own corner in the creative world, setting up NERD as a way of truly embracing the values that she felt many other companies were failing on. She believed too much time had been spent paying lip-service to these issues, without actually making any real, tangible changes, and NERD was the answer to that – a company that didn’t just talk the talk, but also walked the walk.

Eight years on, and NERD has brought together a stunning array of hand-picked directors, illustrators and photographers who are committed to creating showstopping work across the fields of animation, illustration, photography, live-action and mixed-media. The team deals with television, digital, social, editorial and any other medium or platform you can think of, and they do so in a way that effortlessly champions diversity. As Milana attested to in our earlier interview with her: “These days, we have fun together, work hard together and we do it all to make a difference, so no one has to fight just to be able to have the opportunity.”


Esther Lalanne / NERD Productions: Skittles Pride Pack (Copyright © Mars Inc, 2024)

With this in mind, NERD has recently worked on a project that puts this ethos front and centre. Collaborating with Skittles, the team has designed the company’s annual Pride pack, which serves to spotlight the LGBTQIA+ community in a fun and upbeat way. Having rolled out its first Pride-themed packaging way back in 2020, Skittles has since made this an annual tradition, finding ways of reworking its iconic design each year to raise awareness and make its customers smile. Often reaching out to creatives around the world to help them on this mission, this year saw NERD take on the mantle.

“Seeing the initial brief was extremely exciting because it aligns with NERD's ethos of creating opportunities for our diverse talent and crafting truly relatable art and films,” says Milana, speaking on the collaboration. “It was about allowing our LGBTQIA+ talent to create something that represents them and their community.”

Eager to craft something special, Milana looked to NERD’s prolific visual artist and illustrator Esther Lalanne to lead on the design. Known for her vibrant, dynamic style, and the ability to turn her hand to any brief, the French artist set to work reimagining the Skittles packaging. Alongside her colleague, creative director Shay Hamias, Esther transformed the iconic Skittles rainbow into an energetic gathering of limbs, with each expressing itself through different gestures and activities. Being based in Berlin, she chose to draw inspiration for the artwork from the city’s famous Tempelhof Field, where, during the summer, thousands of people can be found playing, dancing and exercising. “It’s a disused airport in Berlin that serves as an unusual melting pot of play and expression,” she notes.


Esther Lalanne / NERD Productions: Skittles Pride pack inspiration (Copyright © Mars Inc., 2024)

In the finished design, hands, feet and a single head come together to depict a group that is composed of diverse backgrounds and interests. One foot glides along on a roller skate, a hand plays a musical instrument, and multiple hands unite to form a love heart, or simply to embrace one another. Tucked inside the tangle of bodies is also an easel with paint splotches on it, and a camera that seems to be documenting the many activities taking place. The overall tone is one of confidence, and carefree expression. This is further emphasised by a subtle tagline that reads: ‘When you find your community your colors shine’.

Speaking on the process, Esther says: “Balancing diverse identities within the overall design framework was a nuanced task, with the final design aiming to reflect a supportive and creative community spirit. As the idea evolved, the creative interpretation evolved as well to ensure that we are truly being inclusive and speaking to everyone while still retaining the spirit of togetherness and expression.”

The design for the Pride 2024 pack was also created in partnership with global communications agency Weber Shandwick, who recently collaborated with Skittles to create a 353-square-foot micro-apartment in New York, celebrating the release of the company’s latest addition to their line-up of confectionary: Skittles Littles. “Collaborating with an agency that has the same passion for representation always feels thrilling and moving to me, especially when talking about marginalised communities,” says Milana.

With Pride Month upon us, the limited-edition pack is now available to consumers, and Skittles has promised to donate $1 for every pack sold (up to $100k), as well as match donations up to $25k. These contributions will go to GLAAD, a non-profit LGBTQIA+ advocacy organisation that has partnered with Skittles for Pride Month every year for the last five years.


Esther Lalanne / NERD Productions: Skittles Pride Pack (Copyright © Mars Inc, 2024)

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NERD Productions is a diversity and inclusion-led creative production company championing an award-winning roster of hand-picked directors, illustrators and photographers. We craft animation, illustration, live-action, mixed-media, and photography for television, digital, social, editorial and everything in between.

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Esther Lalanne / NERD Productions: Skittles Pride Pack (Copyright © Mars Inc, 2024)

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