Design that Inspires: Prodigious Packaging

I tend to be more inspired by the areas where different ideas intersect and overlap. Objects which can transform to suit the situation, or that are hybridized to serve multiple purposes. For many people; aesthetics and singularity of purpose are how good design is judged, but I love to see creative things that break out of a niche and serve many needs.

With my background in fast moving consumer goods, my focus is often less on things that are kept forever as opposed to items that are single use; and nowhere is the need for good design becoming more obvious than when it comes to packaging.

Postage and Packaging is one of the key areas that our Global Retail App Benchmark identified as being a point of contention for online shoppers; with no design forethought put into the boxes and bags that are used to ship out products that may need to be returned. But even without taking that into account; so many companies are dropping the ball when it comes to packaging!

It is almost always overlooked – reduced to the boring sum of functionality + the most cost effective material + a graphic to ensure branding isn’t completely forgotten. It is such a disappointment when instead it could be made to inspire action, transform into something else, or even disappear to prevent any environmental damage. At the very least, packaging could be made into something fun, to delight the end user.

There is still a long way to go with transforming packaging into what it should be, but at least the journey has begun, as demonstrated in a few of my favorite bits of packaging design:

Christmas Coca Cola

The Coca Cola company have been staking their claim to the Christmas Holiday for so long that most people don’t even remember that Santa Claus used to wear a green suit before their corporate sponsorship. Many companies have added little details to their branding to be seasonal, but you can trust Coca Cola for a unique attention grabber; in this case; transforming the strip label on their plastic bottles into a self-tying seasonal ribbon!

Bakey’s Edible Spoons

Massive landfills across India were becoming clogged with disposable plastic cutlery, so Narayana Peesapaty, a researcher and agricultural consultant came up with an excellent solution. A spoon that you could eat as a desert after using it for your meal. Made with a base of millet, rice and wheat flours, the edible spoons come in a variety of flavors, have a shelf life of up to three years, and decompose within 5 days if discarded after use – assuming for some reason that you can’t manage to crunch down your spoon along with your lunch. They’ve proven so popular, that Peesapaty’s Kickstarter campaign to help increase production raised $278,874 instead of the $20,000 required to expand their operations.

Image of edible spoons

Good Hair Day Pasta

We have all looked at spaghetti and thought it looked like hair, but award-winning designer Nikita Konkin took that stray thought and transformed it into a whole range of pasta packaging that manages to be both whimsical and a great way to display the products contained within. Simplicity in every other part of the design helps to differentiate it even further from the run of the mill pasta packs you usually see.

Image of Good Hair day pasta

Kolle Rebbe Parmesan Pencils

Sold along with a helpful sharpener to produce the desired effect, these flavored sticks of parmesan solve the age old problem of grating at the tableside with a cutesy flair that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with a German advertising agency like Kolle Rebbe. The only downside of these fantastic little methods of cheese transportation? Only 500 of them were ever made!

Image of parmesan pencils

Manager of Design Strategy

Sutherland Labs
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