Dispatches from Empack 2014, Stockholm

Not just pretty packaging: Aspiring designers back style with substance

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

2014 Swedish winners, 'Way Champagne', by Jenny Nolvand and Anna-Stina Nilsson
2014 Swedish winners, 'Way Champagne', by Jenny Nolvand and Anna-Stina Nilsson

Related tags Design

Aspiring packaging designers are becoming increasingly savvy at backing style with substance, says cartonboard packaging company BillerudKorsnäs, as it celebrates the 10th anniversary of its Packaging Impact Design Award (PIDA). 

The collaboration between industry, students and universities helps the company be part of the evolution of packaging, it adds.

Creativity meets business

Entries for this year’s competition were on display at Empack 2014 in Stockholm last week.

Agneta Rognli, marketing communication manager, BillerudKorsnäs, told FoodProductionDaily.com the competition asks students to think not just about creativity, but to take feasibility and the business case into account as well.

Generally we see the level of sophistication increases every year," ​she said. "We try to get entrants to understand you have to be able to sell the idea, and that part has improved tremendously."

We’re a packaging company, so we focus on sustainability and functionality, but also encourage the design. In every country a jury is mixed from industry, designers, and our own company​.”

BillerudKorsnäs’ competition started 10 years ago in Sweden in conjunction with universities, and has since expanded to France and Germany. A different design brief is set each year and winners are selected in each country.

The 2014 brief was ‘breaking the code.’ Entrants were asked to bring a fresh approach to champagne packaging to target a young audience (between 20 and 30 years of age) with a special occasion (such as a birthday, Valentine’s day, or graduation) in mind.

The designs for the secondary packaging had to be made from premium BillerudKorsnäs cartonboard.

In 2013 the brief was ‘food for thought,’ which asked designers to consider how they could reduce food waste.

The judges take functionality, design, user-friendliness, shelf impact, and the potential for commercial production into account.

Rognli with one of the 2014 designs

Part of the packaging evolution

The competition helps students get used to using cartonboard and develop skills in this area, and they also benefit from meeting industry professionals, Rognli said.

However, it also allows BillerudKorsnäs to keep in touch with ideas from the younger generation and become a ‘hub’ for both students and the industry.

We realize that if we do that, we will be part of the evolution of packaging​,” Rognli said.

BillerudKorsnäs manufactures strong primary fibre-based packaging material, using material from sustainable forestry. It has three business areas: packaging paper, consumer cartonboard and containerboard. 

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1 comment

Encouraging innovation

Posted by Eric Collins, MD of Nampak Plastics,

This article raises some excellent points on the importance of encouraging innovation within the packaging industry, with a focus on a young audience. As an often overlooked industry it is refreshing to see awards, such as the Packaging Impact Design Award, promoting collaboration between industry professionals and students. If a ‘packaging evolution’ is to continue then young talent needs to be inspired, bringing a fresh approach to the sector.

The packaging industry is too often battling against flawed perceptions amongst young people. In comparison to more ‘glamorous’ industries, such as automotive and aerospace, packaging is often seen as repetitive, tedious and dead-end. However, dated views like this couldn’t be further from reality. Promoting the packaging industry as the innovative, forward-thinking sector that it really is, has been a key focus for Nampak Plastics, using our Infini bottle market as an example of how quickly the industry can move to become more lightweight and more innovative.

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