5 Popular Brands Re-Imagined by Students

This week, we’re spotlighting 5 popular brands re-imagined by students. From Epson Ink to Wonder Bread, their designs offer a fresh perspective to the classic products we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. First up:

1. Parker Brothers Board Games by Sam Kittinger

This design, which is also hosted on Lovely Package, “…stemmed from a desire to de-construct the overdone packaging board games nowadays are so known for. Drawing inspiration from vintage, modernist game box design, these re-inventions focus on simplistic imagery, experimental typography, and limited color schemes.”

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2. Wonder Bread by Marisol Escorza

This re-imagination of the popular brand is meant to capture a looks that caters to the European market.

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3. Sony Earbuds Cassette by Alyssa Phillips

One of the goals with this project was to give “…the now rarely used cassette a fun new purpose.”


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4. GE Energy Smart Light Bulb by Michelle Wang

The goal of this project “…was to reduce carbon footprint — finding a way to use the least amount of material while still offering protection…by using a single sheet of chip-board, no glue, and minimal ink.”

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5. Epson Ink Cartridge Packaging by Ali Prater

According to a comment on Lovely Package, Prater “…wanted them to have a clean and elegant disposition as well as a unique exterior, both of which distinctly separates them from their competition.”

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Waste and Opportunity 2015: As You Sow

As You Sow, a sizable organization that works “to promote environmental and social corporate responsibility…” recently ran a report on the packaging industry’s overall performance in regards to sustainability and packaging. Their Waste and Opportunity 2015 analyzed the practices of several large companies and found that to varying degrees, they all “…are wasting valuable materials through poor packaging sustainability policies – to the tune of $11.4 billion a year.” Many of these companies do not take responsibility for their actions, either, as they are not only wasting valuable materials, but are also greatly contributing to pollution.

As You Sow’s report analyzed 47 major companies based on four core practices of sustainability, ranking them on their overall performance:

  1. Source Reduction: using less materials and switching to those which are reusable if the option is available.
  2. Recycled Content: using recycled content when creating new products, which they point out “…helps create a market for recycled materials and requires far fewer resources.
  3. Recyclability and Materials Use: avoidance of materials that cannot be recycled easily.
  4. Boosting Materials Recycling: when possible, make it easier for consumers to recycle products after use (this more so applies to brands which have established storefronts, where they can have designated recycling bins).

According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States from 2012, some types of packaging materials are better than others. Recovery rates for plastics are extremely low–only 13.8% of these materials are recycled. Glass and aluminum are also moderately poor, at 34.1% and 38%, respectively. Paper and paperboard products ranked the highest, at 76.1%, though they note that these rates are skewed “…primarily due to high recycling rates for corrugated cardboard; only 25 percent of all other types of paper packaging is recycled.” Steel packaging does moderately well: 72.2% of these materials are able to be recovered.

As You Sow highlights how their core practices of sustainability can be put into use in both the fast food restaurant and consumer packaged goods markets, and gives examples for each:

For fast food restaurants, reusable cups and dining-ware should be available (like at Panera and Starbucks). Use of recycled content should be maximized (Starbucks and McDonald’s), and companies should entirely avoid materials that are difficult to recycle (like the foam cups from Chick-fil-A).

As for consumer packaged goods, more reusable and bulk options should be made available, and goals should be set to increase the use of recycled content (PepsiCo is off to a good start, while Coca-Cola is lagging behind). Companies should also be designing packaging that is easy to recycle: Capri Sun is a very common bad example in this department.

In their 5 key actions brands must take to drive packaging sustainability, As You Sow points out that brands should be disclosing their production information on the creation of packaging that we don’t have very much information on (like plastic pouches), stating simply that “what gets measured can get managed.” They also note that “some companies generate millions in revenue recycling corrugated cardboard,” and brands who do not already should be capitalizing on this. Lastly, if companies do feel the need to be using materials that are hard to recycle, they should be working with processors “…to develop new, cost-effective recycling processes to ensure they are recycled. All brands need to fund new investments in materials market development…”

As You Sow says it best: “It’s time for companies to step up and take the lead on recycling.”

Packaging Conventions to Look out for in 2015

Conventions are a great place for networking. You can meet potential clients, learn the latest tricks of the trade in the industry, connect with industry professionals, and more. This week, we’re covering some of the upcoming shows to look out for in 2015.

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Pack Expo Las Vegas is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year from September 28th – 30th in Las Vegas, Nevada (venue TBD). Pack Expo covers the leading trends and innovations in the industry as a whole. With over 1,800 exhibiting companies and 29,000+ overall attendees, Pack Expo is a show you don’t want to miss.

Can’t make the Las Vegas show? There’s also Pack Expo East from February 16th – 18th in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with over 300 exhibitors and 4,000 attendees.

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The Converting & Package Printing Expo is another one you don’t want to miss if you’re in the Chicago area. From September 13th – 16th, they’ll be covering flexible packaging, non-wovens and tissue converting, corrugated converting, folding carton/boxmaking, 3D printing technologies, and more. With over 120 exhibitors, it’s a sizable convention where you’ll be joined by many other industry professionals.

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Info Flex runs from May 4th – 5th in Nashville, Tennessee. This particular exhibition has been running for over 30 years; they have a solid track record, drawing in 240 exhibitors and 2,000 attendees. According to their site, 98% of exhibiting companies from 2014 plan to return this year, and 89% met potential business prospects. Both the size of their venue and the attendance rates have increased by over 30% in recent years. They cover flexible packaging, tag & label, corrugated, folding carton, printed electronics, and more.

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Lastly, we have Luxe Pack, whose New York show runs from May 13th – 14th. Luxe Pack is the only show of its kind, as it is dedicated specifically to creative and innovative packaging. They offer innovative solutions for all sorts of packaging types and industries, with a strong focus on aesthetics. To date, they have been running for 9 years, bringing in over 3,300 visitors and 200 exhibiting companies.

Which shows are you planning on visiting?

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What is Nano-Enabled Packaging?

What-enabled packaging? While it may sound complicated to someone who’s unfamiliar with the subject, nano-enabled packaging is actually far more common than you may think. As of 2013, the global nano-enabled packaging market was worth 6.5 billion dollars, and that rate is expected to more than double by 2020. What is nano-enabled packaging though? Nanotechnology “involves the uses of nanomaterials, which have external dimensions of less than 100 nanometres.” Basically, it’s work that is done on a very, very small scale. According to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies’ ‘Nanotechnology 101,’ “At the nanoscale, scientists can start affecting the properties of materials directly, making them harder or lighter or more durable. In some cases, simply making things smaller changes their properties-a chemical might take on a new color, or start to conduct electricity when re-fashioned at the nanoscale.”

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You may have recently heard of this bit of nanotechnology floating around (I know I’ve certainly seen a few of my friends posting videos of it on social media). Scientists have recently created an incredibly hydrophobic metal–so hydrophobic, in fact, that droplets of water bounce right off its surface upon contact. To do this, tiny etchings were made into the surface of the metal at the nano scale, which helps to create air pockets and repel water and other substances. This technology could have many applications, including self-cleaning smart phone screens, water (and consequently ice repellant) cars and planes, and a way to prevent metal objects from rusting.

In the food packaging world, nanotechnology is generally used to prolong the lifespan of the product. With a growing customer base worldwide, “…food packaging requires longer shelf life, along with monitoring food safety and quality based upon international standards. To address these needs, nanotechnology is enabling new food and beverage packaging technologies.” Nanotechnology in packaging could take many forms, such as moisture absorbers, gas permeability, and antibacterial properties.

Some of the biggest names in nano-enabled packaging right now include Amcor, Bayer, Danaflex-Nano, Honeywell, and Tetra Pak International (the later of which you may recognize from their 100% renewable carton).

4 Unique Sustainable Packaging Options

1. Method’s ‘Ocean Plastic’ soap bottle

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Working alongside their recycling partner Envision Plastics, Method has created the first bottles made from ocean plastic. According to Method, “there are more than 100 million tons of garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean alone.” With the help of local volunteers, Method has collected over 1 ton of plastic from Hawaiian beaches. The bottles are then created from a blend of ocean and post-consumer recycled plastic.

2. Tetra Rex 100% renewable carton

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TetraPak is on a “mission to make a 100% renewable carton.” While getting to that goal isn’t easy, it seems they’ve finally managed to create “…the industry’s first carton made entirely from plant based, renewable packaging materials.” Any films and caps used to keep the product fresh are derived from sugar cane, while the body is also a plant-based paperboard. In early 2015, they’ll be giving their Tetra Rex package (currently made from 85% renewable materials) an upgrade, bringing the 100% renewable version to consumers.

3. The Alfred Cone (of Alfred Coffee & Kitchen in Los Angeles, CA)

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Instead of wasting resources on materials like foam and paper for your coffee cups, why not make your packaging edible? That’s what Alfred Coffee & Kitchen in Los Angeles has done with their “Alfred Cone,” Made by Zia Valentina at a local farmers market. The Alfred Cone is a 4oz waffle cone, with an interior chocolate lining (1. for flavor, and presumably 2. to keep it from leaking everywhere).

4. LifeBox

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Instead of recycling or throwing your packaging away, plant it! Made from post-consumer recycled cardboard, the LifeBox has seeds embedded throughout. Don’t worry–“The Tree Life Box™ only contains native and non-invasive species. It is only for sale within the continental U.S. and Canada because the tree seed mix consists of species that are native to the bioregions of the continental U.S. and Canada.” They’ve also been sure to obtain any necessary permits and licenses! Unfortunately, the LifeBox is only available for wholesale orders of at least 100 units.

Packaging Design Trends: Speculation for 2015

Design trends in 2014 brought us many places. We saw high contrast designs, we saw lots of whitespace. We saw watercolor, and we saw a stronger focus on sustainability. With the turn of the new year, we’ll see new trends enter the scene, as well as the evolution of some of the older ones. With this in mind, we’d like to share with you our speculation for where the design for packaging industry will be headed in 2015.

With the recent rise of sustainable products and packaging, we’ll be seeing an even greater focus on this sort of design in the coming year. Sustainability is more than a trend; with the state of the environment, there has been an increasing urgency to minimize our impact on the planet. The packaging industry is beginning to respond to this need with more and more eco-friendly options to present to consumers. It’s to be expected, then, that we’ll be seeing more of the hand-drawn fonts that go along with a naturalist feel (this goes for logos and illustrations too). Think clean designs, subtle textures, and flat, grounding colors to suit an over all naturalist feel.

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We’ve talked before about awesome packaging designs, ones that are unique for their aesthetics or functionality (or, both). Some of these have taken interesting design a step further, capitalizing on the element of functionality and usability. Shirt packages that transform into hangers, boxes that turn into pen holders…while this sort of packaging may not be at the forefront of 2015 trends, we suspect we’ll be seeing some interesting multi-use designs this year. Definitely something to keep an eye on.

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Another small but growing market is augmented reality packaging. With the ever-increasing integration of electronics in everyday life, it’s only fitting technology would be brought into even the disposable parts of our products (or, if you’re going for sustainability or functionality, maybe the not-so-disposable parts). Regardless of the opinions of naysayers, technology isn’t going anywhere. Period. With the rise of augmented reality products such as Google Glass, we’re seeing this now more than ever (even if at its infancy stage, augmented reality devices are very, very dorky looking). With a rumored consumer release in 2015, Google Glass will open new doors for augmented reality packaging. It may make you look like a huge nerd (I happen to disagree with this sentiment, but I digress), but regardless, even if augmented reality takes on a different form than headwear in the coming years, it will still be prevalent, and packaging designers that have not learned to work with the medium already will have to catch up.

Pantone

Lastly, we’ve got Pantone. Pantone knows color. They’re the ones who standardize it worldwide, making sure that the conversation between designers, printers, companies, and consumers is an easy one, where everyone is on the same page. Part of their job includes keeping tabs on (and setting) industry trends. They not only know a whole lot about color, but also have a big say in the evolution of design practices. Annually, they pick the Color of the Year. This isn’t just a blind bag selection; their industry expertise, from analysis of past trends to predictions about future ones, is what helps them determine what this color will be. This year, they’ve gone with Marsala, an earthy, wine red. Marsala creates a nice dichotomy (did you know colors can do that?): for a shade of red, it’s remarkably cool. It’s seductive, but grounding. Rich, but subtle. Marsala “…enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability.” Expect to see more of this color in the coming year.

GTS Packaging Solutions Product Spotlight: Paper Tubes

GTS Packaging Solutions is a full service design and packaging company. We work in the design and manufacturing of all sorts of packages: bags, pouches, tins, boxes, novelty items, and more. We also work in many different industries–we started out with tea (at our sister company, Global Tea Solutions), but have since expanded our reach into health and beauty, fundraising, pharmaceuticals, jewelry, and more.

One of our packaging specialties is our paper tubes. They come in all shapes and sizes, with a variety of fill styles, lids, and closures. Our materials are also eco-friendly and sustainable, made from 100% recyclable materials. They’re perfect for storing food (so of course come with available options of foil or spray on linings). Many of our canisters have a smooth, matte finish that has been very popular with clients in the past. Another common style is a kraft finish (cardboard). They are also label ready. Full color printing options are available for matte, kraft, or labeled finishes.

Two examples of our tubes:

This is our divider tube, good for packing two varieties of a product in one container. The middle base of the lid has a wall built in that extents to the floor of the piece.

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We also have mini tubes (the lid fits snugly over top of the base). Great for smaller portions, gift packs, and samplers.

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So what does a finished product look like?

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