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Interview to Lars Wallentin, packaging designer: "Make it simple!"

Everyone who has ever tried to simply design something, knows how difficult this can be. In his new book on packaging design, “Who Sells What to Whom“, Lars Wallentin – top-designer at Nestlé for many years – shares his tips on how to do it. This is an interview with Pro Carton.

What makes for great design in your opinion?

Great design is honest: Great design is always transparent, easily understood and not cheating or hiding defects or weaknesses. An honestly designed product does not claim features it does not have. Great design is concerned with the environment: Great design doesn’t use more energy than necessary, uses as little raw material as possible, can be recycled etc. In other words, great design is not waste. My advice to “simplify, amplify and repeat”.

So how can companies achieve this?

There are basically 2 ways of doing this: Dare to be different or exaggerate! And make it unusually big, which is not always a matter of size but also of communication. To be a winner is a matter of building high expectations through consistent and creative communication over a long period. The better we express the value of a food or drink product through appetite appeal, illustrations, convincing copy, strong branding and easy understandable virtues, the more we stimulate the consumer to purchase our product.

Do you think cartons will be the packaging of the future?

Cartons will always be the no. 1 material as people understand that they come from a renewable material, they understand that trees grow! That they also absorb CO2 maybe too difficult to explain! People do not understand recycling plastic, which is, in my opinion, not a very intelligent idea anyway because it uses too much energy for a light material. But people understand that if you recycle paper there will be new paper.

What is your advice for those who have modest budgets?

When you are selling a niche product or a product which you know will be bought only by a small number of consumers and you have no money for advertising or other media: what is the solution? It is of course creative packaging, pack designs that stand out. When no money is available for other media, spend it on packaging! I remember that once the then CEO of Nestlé, Mr Peter Brabeck, told us that packaging is the most economical advertising medium, enormously underutilised, with virtually no wastage and almost cost free. How right he was! If we design the pack and the communication with a big idea in mind or a clear concept, we do very efficient marketing.

What would you improve with today’s packaging?

Nowadays packaging is constantly being improved, be it on the logistical, technical, material or ecological side. We also see more unique designs and more innovative solutions. However, if we look at the way packaging communicates, what selling messages one can find or how supportive the back side panel texts and illustrations are, we see little or no progress which I think is due to a number of reasons. The companies are often too rule-bound and brand managers have difficulty in understanding that sometimes “less is more”. Most designers forget the sales role of packaging, that is how to maximise the RTB (Reason to believe) or USP (Unique Selling Proposition). Also, I question whether designers and marketers store-check enough. I doubt it. We must learn from other product categories. We are in a world of over-information and brand managers often have not enough experience to concentrate on the essential in each media. The essential on the pack can be appetite appeal, on POS material it can be a selling text and in advertising it can be the brand. Today, there is a tendency to put everything on the pack and then duplicate it in other media. When it comes to readability, packs need to optimise the typography. Great typography creates interest, it makes reading easy and it has a layout that highlights what is important and useful. I doubt package designers see it that way, as many back panels are very boring and difficult to read! To be top-of-mind, to be noticed, to stand out, you have to change something in your design now and then. Toblerone, for instance, does it constantly with their brand logotype, and so does Google!>

How can we achieve better design?

The more teamwork, the more knowledge will lead to more creativity. And we should involve retailers in that process. But we must think multi-material and not mono-material, for example cardboard plus plastic for stability, easy opening and visibility. In the first meeting, there should be the designer, the manufacturer and the brand manager, the more people you have, the more creative you can be!

What else could packaging designers do?

Today we promote ecological thinking, recycling and waste reduction, fair trade supply, etc. which is fine with me, but would it not be in a brand’s interest to also be seen as something cultural? Something arty? Such a design has also the advantage of looking different, which means that pricing is more flexible, as the consumer sees the pack as ‘something more’ than just the product. The Japanese discovered this many years ago with their handcrafted gift packaging. In my opinion, the role of a designer in our society is to make this world a more beautiful place through aesthetically pleasing objects.

Source: Procarton.com


LiderPack 2017 Awards

The LiderPack -the most important awards for packaging, packaging and advertising in the place of sale (POS) of Spain- have awarded 27 products manufactured during 2017 and two projects designed by students. In addition, among all the winning proposals, the jury awarded the distinction "the best of the contest" to two jobs: the sleeve to decorate the bottles of "mojitos Karibeño" and the cardboard truck of PLV of the Carlsberg beer. The contest is organized by Graphispack Association and the Hispack exhibition at Barcelona Fira.

Participation in the Liderpack continues to grow. Specifically this year, 142 jobs from companies and schools from 17 Spanish regions have been submitted, which is 25% more than in 2016. The categories that have received the largest number of applications have been those from packaging for beverages and food packaging.

In the category of packaging for drinks , the solutions provided seek personalization and originality with the aim of enhancing the image of the product. The winner has been the sleeve printed in flexography with high-gloss inks that matches the shaker-shaped bottle of "Mojitos Karibeño", presented by the Madrid company Overlar.

It is worth remembering the important international projection of Liderpack , since with the endorsement of Hispack and Graphispack Association, eleven of the awarded works will compete representing Spain in the WorldStar for Packaging 2017 Awards , a contest attended by the best packagings of more 35 countries promoted by the World Packaging Organization (WPO).

The jury has chosen the candidates according to innovation criteria and assessing their suitability to the categories defined by the global competition. The selected this year are: The L'Amphore wine bottle; the sleeves "Mojitos Karibeño"; the Bottelo portable ice bucket; the container of Burgo de Arias Trio; the Insdinceutics Flavo-C Ultraglican pack; the compostable tray of OneWorld Packaging; the packaging of AOVE de Abaco by F. Faiges; the promotional welcome pack of Estrella Galicia 0,0; the hygienic litter box for cats; the boxes of Munich "my way" sports shoes and the shrink film Cryovac Sealappeal PSF Zal.

Convened by Graphispack Association and the Hispack salon of Fira de Barcelona since 1995, the LiderPack awards are the most important awards that are granted in Spain in the field of packaging and POS. In 2005 they acquired annual periodicity in order to promote and acknowledge the innovation and creativity of the companies and professionals involved in the manufacture and design of containers, packaging and items of POS. The awards ceremony will take place within the framework of Hispack 2018 to be held in ira de Barcelona from May 8th to 11th,2018.

Source: Hispack


The coated cardboard packaging sector keeps its recovery on

The coated cardboard packaging industry, which experienced a fall, continues to recover slowly but surely.This is what ASPACK has revealed in its 2016 activity report.


Pulp, paper and packaging in the next decade

If you thought the paper industry was going to disappear, think again. Graphic papers are being squeezed, but the industry overall has major changes in store and exciting prospects for new growth


What is packaging?

In its most strict definition it would turn out to be the science, art and technology of products inclusion or protection for the distribution, storing, sale and use. The main aim of packaging is attracting the clients´ attention and being the first window communication towards the consumer.


EMPACK 2015, Packaging fair

After last year´s success, EMPACK returns in 2015 keeping its prestige as a reference point in the packaging sector. EMPACK is a fair specialized in packaging technology that links packaging providers with potential consumers, thus creating networking relationships and facilitating the business between both parties.

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