Whether you’re active in industry or retail, there is one thing you can’t get rid of: the barcode. Being able to identify products in a matter of seconds is essential, so we better leave some room for that dull barcode on our packaging designs.
Sustainability has become an important part of (marketing) budgets for 2013 and the need to think green is sure to continue for many years to come as both regulation and consumers become stricter on ecological issues.
Some companies have already made great strides in reducing the impact of their products on the environment. For example by embracing sustainable packaging, companies have been able to reduce their ecological footprint considerably.
1. Why bioplastics will become even more important in 2013
Compostable and recyclable packaging is a growing trend and Coca-Cola targets to produce all of its plastic bottles with plant-based materials by 2020. This new form of packaging will be known as PlantBottles.
Pepsi is able to one-up Coca-Cola with its own green bottle which is made completely out of plant-based materials, while the version Coca-Cola developed is only 30% plant-based. Both are of course 100% recyclable.
Plastics made out of plant-based materials, also known as bioplastics, are a material that is sure to play a key role in many companies’ sustainability strategies. There are two common variations on the bioplastics concept: non-biodegradable and biodegradable plastics. Both kinds are predicted to grow significantly the coming years, but biodegradable plastics of course offer companies the best environmental benefits as they can be composted or recycled.
Even within biodegrable bioplastics you can opt for very different methods. To use more technical terms PLA and Mater-BI variants of biodegradable plastics will provide the very best in sustainable packaging. Why you might ask? These variants are made of sustainable materials, they can be composted or recycled after use AND they are produced in an ethical way.
2. Fiber pulp from tomato plants as packaging material
Of course Coca Cola isn’t the only example in the world. Researchers from Wageningen University (The Netherlands) show that to be sustainable often requires a creative approach. They discovered that the fiber pulp from tomato plants can be used to produce packaging material that even smells like tomatoes.
The packaging could be used for many products from ketchup, vegetables to fast food packaging. But the most effective use might be for the tomato growers themselves. By producing their own packaging they would be able to reduce their carbon footprint and save money, while being able to present their products in a more attractive manner.
3. By-product of red meat industry to be used in bioplastics
Another promising initiative – not kosher but no less inspiring – is the use of by-products of the red meat and poultry industry to create bioplastics. A New Zealand based biopolymers company is currently developing bioplastic using bloodmeal to create plastics for the manufacturing sector. As with the previous examples, the aim is to reduce the effect of petrochemical plastics on the environment.
4. Producing biodegradable bioplastics from algae
Bioplastics company Algix has partnered with the University of Georgia and Kimberly-Clarck to commercialize the cultivation of aquatic biomass, such as algae, for bioplastic conversion. The company is developing customized bioplastic formulations for industrial, commercial and retail applications.
The market of bioplastics is still young, but the demand for sustainable packaging is high. We have no doubt in just a few years innovation will lead us to a market where biodegrable plastics are the norm and plastic waste is a thing of the past.
Packaging design is more than just creating a “pretty box”. You have to consider marketing, logistics and of course the weight and dimensions of your product. Creative packaging designs allow you to combine all of the aforementioned even for more difficult products like say wine.
Wine bottles require special attention if you want to transport them safely. A lot of room is lost due to the form of the bottle; they are fragile and quite heavy so the packaging needs to be sturdy. With the right design software anything is possible though.
Starpack design contest winner
A student project shows just how amazing a design can be created, even with limited resources. The “Crest” design won the Starpack design contest 2012 by combining tradition with modern design.
By opting for geometrical shapes for the wine packaging, the designer was able to limit the amount of air between units when in transit.
Even more importantly, the design looks fresh. Among the often boring rectangular boxes and standard wine bottles the triangular shape stands out.
The unorthodox shape could be a risky choice, since wine lovers are usually of the traditional type. But by showing off the cork, the design is able to incorporate a part of the bottle that has been part of wine tradition for centuries; entirely compensating the risky shape of the box.
The best packaging design maximizes the printable area
We’re leaving the best for last and in the case of this wine packaging design, it’s the printable area. The triangular shape allows graphics to be shown at nearly any angle. This gives a large boost to your brand recognition.
Any brand can adapt the design to their corporate identity, but the designer did have a few ideas himself. By incorporating the texture of a bottle in the design you can give a more traditional look to the packing, while still retaining the modern shape.
Creative packaging meets cost efficiency
Creating new packaging will always be a costly affair, especially if you want to stand out in the crowd. But if you create a structural design that can be easily adapted to suit other products or brands, while still looking very distinct, you’ll save a lot of time and effort in the long run. The Crest design does just that!
Crest design by Miiro Seppänen – Finland.
When do you know that your packaging is truly innovative? A good answer would be when it becomes inseparable from the product itself. That can sometimes be achieved by an amazing design that becomes your brand identity, but another option would be a technological marvel.
Egg packaging with a twist
Gogol Mogol – named after a Russian egg dish – is exactly that, an amazing innovation in the way we eat breakfast. Okay maybe we shouldn’t go that far, but this particular innovative packaging design shows just how much can be achieved with a good idea and modern packaging materials.
With Gogol Mogol all you have to do to eat a beautifully boiled egg is pull the lid, wait 2 to 3 minutes, depending on whether you’d like a hard boiled or soft boiled egg, and turn the top of the packaging to the right.
Packaging that creates added value
Yes the packaging boils your egg and does it faster than you could in water! This is done by using chemicals that are contained in a membrane between the cardboard shell and the egg. The chemicals generate heat when combined with water; by pulling the lid you set the chemical reaction in motion.
Although it is the first time this technique is used with an egg, it’s not unique per se. You might already be familiar with self-heating cans that are popular among campers and of course the applications used by armies around the world to provide soldiers a warm meal in the field.
Sustainable packaging worthy of an award
One small issue you might have with the design is the fact it can’t be reused. Of course the designers didn’t forget about that. The cardboard shell is made out of recycled materials and can in turn be recycled itself.
After reading all this I’m sure you can agree the fact it won an award from the European Packaging Design Association is more than deserved! All that rests for the design to become commonplace in our breakfast routine is to figure out mass production, because there is a limit to what we are willing to pay for a boiled egg.
Design by KIAN.
This “Children Pharmacy” design project by Emmelie Golabiewski, an illustrator based in Stockholm, is an illustrated packaging series featuring everything from a toothbrush and toothpaste stored in an open mouth to tissue dispensed out of a nose.
Designed for children, but it may work for adults too!
As long as you try to avoid a sad grey box, everything is possible for a pizza box.
25 yummie designs for pizza boxes found on http://www.topito.com