What Makes Good Packaging

Pecha Kucha

Last year for a course called Design and Technology I had to create a Pecha Kucha on a subject of my choice. A Pecha Kucha is a presentation style of having 20 slides for 20 seconds each. I decided to present what I though made good packaging. I made my Pecha Kucha a bit more interactive by having a little quiz while I was speaking. An outline appeared on each page and I asked the class to guess what the packaging or product was. The following text is my slides and script for the presentation.

 What makes good packaging? Coca-cola

Pecha Kucha2So of course you will know this bottle. The Classic Coca cola glass bottle. Designed in the form of a lady it, apparently it’s so distinctive you can recognise it in the dark. The bottle has been so successful that inspired many artists and designers to paint it or indeed create designs on it.

What is your product? Tabasco

Pecha Kucha3The first thing you need for packaging is what is your actual product and what is the most suitable way of packaging it. You would not use soluble cardboard for a litre of tropical juice unless it had been laminated with plastic like a carton. Also if it’s a liquid that might stain plastic if it’s stored for a long time such as tabasco sauce you might be better off using glass.

 How big is your brand? Nike Shoe Box

Pecha Kucha4

Historic brands have an easier time of packaging, if they have a good logo like Nike. A packaging designer can just stick it on a brightly coloured box and make it look distinctive. For new brands packaging is a good way of promoting the product on the shelves. After price, packaging is the next reason a person chooses a product and it is a large factor in building brands.

Who are market? Nutella

Pecha Kucha5All companies have a target market. This can be portrayed in the shape and graphic design on their packaging. Nutella is marketed towards families, its round friendly shape will oversized lid screams to kids and parents to pick it up. A lot of food packaging could be more geared to ‘mums’ as apparently women 3 times more susceptible to packaging compared to men.

 Make the brand clear – Absolut

Pecha Kucha6Certain brand have an original style, such as Absolut who constantly bring out limited edition bottles created by artists. Recently they created 4 million bottles each unique in collaboration with swedish glass manufacturers Ardagh. Thirty-eight different colours and 51 patterns were applied to the bottles by machines randomly.

Colour – Dairy Milk

Pecha Kucha7Some brands you can recognise just by the colour. Consider the Cadbury dairy milk adverts, such as the Gorilla one or the eyebrow one, they have a consistent theme of the only colour in them being Purple. To be specific Dairy Milk has trademarked the Purple with Pantone No. 2685C. People also relate colours to industry white for medical and green for farming and gardening.

Do you need to protect the product? – Pringles

Pecha Kucha8The simplest functional reason for packaging is the fact it needs to protect the product inside. The Pringles tube is a simple way of protecting and containing the hyperbolic paraboloid potato based snacks. Protection packaging is most common with electronics, they generally use expanded polystyrene moulds to prevent damage to the delicate equipment inside.

Can your product be the packaging? – Chanel no 5

Pecha Kucha9When buying perfume I would generally avoid bottles I don’t like and pick up bottles I liked the look of then actually test the smell of the perfume. I would say packaging is generally the product with drinks containers, on the move with a bottle of water you would use the bottle to drink the water so it is an integral part of the product. This could be said with cans and juice cartons.

How much of your product is there? – McDonald’s Chips

Pecha Kucha10A lot of packaging is used to contain more than one of the same product – such as 6-packs of beer and pencil tins. The McDonald’s chip box distinctive shape presents the chips as well holds them and even stands up for cleanliness. In shops companies come up with ways of multi-packing by using shrink-wrap or boxes. Some allow the user to hold the heavier package by including handles.

Is your product Secure? – Amazon

Pecha Kucha11When product are in transit and go through many hands the end-user wants to be secure in mind nobody has tampered with or stolen the product inside. Many products have tamper proof seals and rip proof plastic that is impossible to open. Boxes such as amazon’s frustration-free boxes have only one way of opening but they are also easy to open.

How easy is it to use? – Tomato Ketchup New Squeezy Bottle

Pecha Kucha12In 2002 Heinz literally turned their design upside down by making it easier to use with their EZ squeeze bottle. The days of using a knife to get tomato ketchup were over. The opposite can happen as well. The short-height bottle caps coca-cola designed to reduce costs and plastic backfired when a lot of customers complained that they were hard and uncomfortable to open.

Environmentally responsible? – Irn-Bru Bottle

Pecha Kucha13Packaging is generally disposable so companies have to consider making their boxes, bottles, cans and cartons out of biodegradable or recyclable materials. A lot of companies, such as Barr,  used to give money to people who brought back their glass bottles to shops. These incentive might have stopped but companies still have the responsibility of informing customers where to bin their packaging

How will your product be stored? – Ikea

Pecha Kucha14Most products minus food are stored for long lengths of time. For instance, retailers buy products in summer when its cheap and sell in November for the Christmas. Warehouse temperatures go to both extremes, this means products have to be protected from mould and condensation with silicon beads and the packaging has to state storage conditions if needed.

How is it transported? – Toblerone

Pecha Kucha15Efficiency of storage and transport is where companies like to make their money. If there is a lot of empty space between packaging then there is a lot of money being lost. Packaging that can stack and tessellate are the most efficient. The more boxes you can get in a metre squared means the more money you can get from the product.

Do you want the unboxing to be an experience – Apple

Pecha Kucha16I always feel opening a box is like getting a present at Christmas. Some companies make the unboxing experience fun. Apple’s macbook packaging is the shape of a briefcase with a handle so its easy to transport home. When you open it you are presented with a series of layers so its like opening many presents. Each tab has been considered and all the colours and materials have been thought about.

Endorsement – Kinder Eggs

Pecha Kucha17A lot of companies have short run marketing campaigns. Kinder Surprise is the king of endorsement its short run toys are reflected on boxes. The problem is you never seem to get a related toy to what is being promoted currently. Companies use packaging to inform consumers of competitions and promotions. Coupons and codes are generally printed on the packaging.

What does your product need to inform? – innocent smoothie bottle

Pecha Kucha18Packaging has to inform the customer of whats inside. Many industries are required to print ingredients, allergy information, Recycling information, Disposing information, CE Marking and so forth. The package has to promote the company with logos and branding. It also might have witty things to read like on innocent smoothie cartons. The juice bottles also ask you also to stop looking at its bum when you look at the base.

Can the shape inform? – Orangina

Pecha Kucha19The shape of packaging can inform what is inside. For instance, orangina bottle is the shape of an orange, also is a nice bottle to hold. Beer bottles have a distinctive shape so you know that they are beer. This is the same with milk bottles, the size of milk bottle you know how much milk you are getting.  Cans are generally always fizzy drinks so you know its carbonated.

Packaging contains, protects, preserves, transports, informs, and sells

Pecha Kucha20

D&T – Jasper Morrison – A World Without Words


‘Influence comes from everywhere. The individual interpretation of what surrounds us leads to individual expression.’

Born in London in 1959 Jasper Morrison and graduate of Kingston Polytechnic Design School. He is today one of the world’s most influential designers. Designing everything from tram system to toasters. He has produced many publications notably ‘A world without words’ which is a series of images collected by Morrison, this is illustrated by the video below created for the Serpentine Gallery.

‘For a long time after I noticed an antique chair with its seat missing outside a shop I had the idea to do a chair consisting only of structural elements’

Every designer has a chair and Morrison’s most notable design is ‘The Thinking Man’s Chair’. It originally was going to be called ‘The drinking man’s chair’ but after seeing the slogan ‘The Thinking Man’s Smoke’ on a packet of pipe cleaners he changed his mind. The tubular chair, is rough and ready. Written on the sides it has all the dimensions of the chair as ‘surrogate decoration’. It was eventually produced by Cappellini in 1986.

Morrison was also commissioned to design furniture for the new Tate Modern in London. An unusual partnership was made with the architects Herzog & De Meuron and Morrison. Surprised by the reception the architects gave him, Morrison was delighted with them and the Tate Directors in meetings. He eventually produced a table, chair and stool set to furnish the Tate Modern.


“I think each product should take on the basic shape of its function and nothing more.”

It seems Jasper Morrison is a follower of the Dieter Rams approach. Less is More. This can be taken in to account with his range of appliances designer for Rowenta. The white simple look of these designs echoes Braun’s kitchen devices designed by Dieter Rams. I’m not convinced how well he pulled these designs off. I’m all for his various chairs but the appliance look unfriendly and the LCD screen looks out of place.

However, I admire Morrison’s diversity, he doesn’t just stick to the home. He designed new trams for Hannover, apparently the largest European light rail production contract of its time, costing 500 Million Deutschmarks. I cannot find much about how successful it is now but when launched the design was awarded the IF Transportation Design Prize and the Ecology award. 


The success of Jasper Morrison I think is down to his determination to get ideas in to exhibitions and companies have picked up on that and asked him to design for him. If I’m honest I had never heard of him until I was asked to do a Pichi Kichi on it. I think he is a thoughtful designer/ design office, his designs are simple and focused. Due to his success in chairs and many other famous designers like this. I do keep on wondering when or if I’m going to design a signature chair. Is the world not full of chairs already? Maybe if the world has too many successful designers the population of chairs in the world will be greater that that of humans…

D&T – GSA Digital Design Studio

Sydney Opera House

The image above is a 3D scan on the Sydney Opera House. It was produced by GSA’s Digital Design Studio. This small department of the GSA seems to be mainly unknown to most of the students, however they produce and develop a lot of digital images, videos and games.

The seem to work with medicine a lot, developing games and head tracking videos such as a detailed skull model they had modelled that followed the viewer around the room. From what the speaker told us they did have virtual reality technology like Oculus Rift but it did not seem they had embraced it as much as the gaming industry.

This also made me wonder if GSA have a digital modelling course to teach students how to produce games and animations? Turns out it has a Digital Culture course that I have never heard of. I keep feeling for a relatively small institution why don’t departments integrate more? Or perhaps PDE is a course out of the loop with the rest of the school due to its links with the university. Hopefully with a new director the school can step out of the 20th century a bit more.

However, it was a fun trip and nice to see what they did over in Pacific Quay.

D&T – GSA Director – Tom Inns

JS30835278-3001296It seems like Tom Inns is a breath of fresh air for the art school. It seems right to bring someone in that has experience of education and working in a creative industry. He seemed to have a lot of plans for the art school, seeing it as a business and a profitable organisation for which the Art School can benefit.

Whenever a new boss arrives in an organisation such a school there is always a big shake up, and Glasgow School of Art needs this. I think there has been the benefit of the new Reid building to start the ball rolling. There has been a lot of teething problems with the building and Mr Inns has dealt with it well discussing with staff and students what the problems are and what needs to be improved.

It was nice to know his background, studying engineering in Bristol and then moved to more creative streams in the Royal College of Art working through various institutions and was recently a head of department at the University of Dundee. I’m looking forward to seeing more changes to GSA.


D&T – Nissan Factory Tour

nissan factoryOn our visit to the Nissan Factory in Sunderland we got to see Nissan Leafs and Qashqai being manufactured. (excuse the Photo of jukes, we weren’t allowed to take pictures in the factory so I found this on google!) It was a great experience seeing all these robots put together cars, felt like science-fiction in a way. In fact 90% of the production of Nissans cars were automated. Human hands were needed for parts that a robot could not reach or parts that needed a bit of jiggling.

I guess most high production cars are manufactured in this way. You could definitely tell the cost and quality measures that have been cut to produce such high quantity. For example the lack of under seal and galvanisation of the metal bodies after welding. The ‘marriage’ of the engine, gearbox and suspension with the body was surprisingly simple especially for the Leaf in which the electric motors were just pushed into the bottom and bolted on with 4 bolts.

The one thing that did make me sad was the quality of life for the men and women working there. I understand that most factory jobs are similar, doing one thing all day everyday, and at least the Nissan workers got to rotate jobs after every break. I felt bad but realised I was lucky to be in university.


D&T – Colour with Ben Craven


Colour is amazing. I remember the first time I saw a high definition TV, I was stood in front of it for ages blocking up the walkway in the John Lewis technology department. What I learnt from Ben Craven in his lecture about colour is that each and every one of us see colours differently.

I love this! I’ve wondered since I was pretty little, ‘Do I see what you see?’. This individuality makes so much sense for the old question of ‘Is this jumper navy blue or black?’ when you’re shopping with your mum. Turns out it could be both depending on the cells in your eye.

This lecture really inspired me and it has made me look at colours in a completely different way. Perhaps this contributes to the different attitudes we have with life, everyone literally sees things differently.

I have found some further reading into the science of colour. It gives some inside to how artist perceive colour. Link is below.

[stag_button url=”http://www.fastcodesign.com/3027740/evidence/the-fascinating-neuroscience-of-color” style=”light-blue” size=”small” type=”round” target=”_self”]The Fascinating Neuroscience Of Colour[/stag_button] [stag_button url=”http://bencraven.org.uk/” style=”light-blue” size=”small” type=”round” target=”_self”]Ben Craven’s Website[/stag_button]

D&T – Thinking About Magnitudes

Ben Craven gave us a talk about quick and easy maths that can be done before a project even starts. This can tell you how realistic an idea is. He gave us a few simple problems that could be worked out fairly simply, without the use of a calculator.

The first of which was fairly simple, we had to work out ‘If you cycled from Glasgow to London, how many times would your wheels rotate?’ Myself and Nadia worked out that they would rotate 300,000 times using an estimated distance between the two cities and the size of a bike wheel. This was pretty easy to do and a fairly good estimate.

The next question was ‘How many breaths do you take in a year?’  we did this by seeing how many breaths Nadia took in 10 seconds then multiplied that by 6, then 60, 25 and 350 (yes we rounded the numbers… not that good at maths). We got 1 million breaths… which was a bit of a underestimate or Nadia’s a really slow breather.

The final question Nadia and I received was ‘If you piled everyone in the world into a cone with 45 degree sides, how high would the cone be? How long would it take you to walk to the top?’  We both imagined every one piled into an ice cream cone – the poor person right at the bottom crushed to death. After a long time we just managed to get an answer of 1km just before the end and we were right! However my guess of 20 minutes for walking to the top was a bit lame…. I was thinking of climbing up a mountain.

Overall the exercise was fun and good to use to see whether a future project is viable or not. Definitely useful for me because my logic is not very good under pressure…

[stag_button url=”http://bencraven.org.uk/” style=”light-blue” size=”small” type=”round” target=”_self”]Ben Craven’s Website[/stag_button]

D&T – 2001: A Space Odyssey


[stag_intro]I think this 2001: A Space Odyssey can only be defined by my classes reaction when it finished. This was complete silence (with the odd ‘WHAT?!’).[/stag_intro] For me the film was of 3 parts, the first ‘Ok, I get it, but where is this going?’ the second ‘This part makes sense!’ and the last ‘Um, did someone slip something in my drink?’.

Despite the lack of storyline for half the film, I really enjoyed it. Mainly because of others reactions to it, and the very human manner of trying to interpret something you don’t really understand. That seems to be how Kubrick wanted the film to be taken; to quote –

‘You’re free to speculate as you wish about the philosophical and allegorical meaning of the film—and such speculation is one indication that it has succeeded in gripping the audience at a deep level—but I don’t want to spell out a verbal road map for 2001 that every viewer will feel obligated to pursue or else fear he’s missed the point.’

Another reason, and I guess why our tutor made us watch it was the technology side of it. Considering the film was released in 1968, the idea that Kubrick and co came up with are crazily similar to what we have today. The ‘Picture Phone’ in the space hotel is exactly like Skype, FaceTime and other video phone software. TV screen on the back of plane seats, the velcro like ‘grip shoes’ and flat screen tablet devices that you can what TV on. HAL 9000’s ‘eye’ brings thought to the CCTV that is on every corner of our city streets.

2001 Montage

This film has been so well thought out, and is very much scientifically accurate, and I love it for that. The psychedelic nature of the end was obviously radical at the time, the cinematography involved was revolutionary. You can see many other sci-fi films have been influenced by it such as Blade Runner. As much as the storyline was lacking I would watch the film again for its attention to detail and radical visual effects.

D&T – Marc Newson – Urban Spaceman

Lockheed Lounge

[stag_intro]Last Thursday in Art School we watched an old BBC Imagine on the Australian designer Marc Newson. He makes you question whether design has to have a purpose or just look good.[/stag_intro] His work is very typical of the design and art market. He generally works on furniture, his first successful piece was the Lockheed Lounge as shown in the picture above. This lounge chair was ‘never meant to be comfortable’ he says, it was inspired to look like a ‘blob of mercury’. This at the time could only be achieved using aircraft construction, rivets and sheet aluminium.

Marc Newson does design more functional things, in fact he’s pretty much designed everything from dish driers to spacecraft. To quote ‘If you can’t do that, you’re not a good designer’. I prefer his functional more utilitarian designs like his seats for the Quantas A380, they seem more considered and less materialistic. Honestly, I have never really understood furniture basically made to be never used. This just seems to remove the point of the object, to me a well used object is a well designed object. Yes, a good product is a desirable product – thats basically Apples ethos. Unlike Apples products, Marc Newson’s Furniture is unusable and uncomfortable. I think this distinguishes the line between Art and Design.

I do admire him for stretching the boundaries in manufacturing technology. His marble tables and chairs made from one single block of marble are beautiful. Linking to my previous post, he does seem to care about skilled workers and values their time and effort for the way they can manipulate metal and stone. However, I do wonder what his thoughts on sustainability are considering the amount of waste marble create from these processes. You can’t be good at everything though can you…

[stag_button url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoS71sBKESI” style=”light-blue” size=”small” type=”round” target=”_self”]BBC Imagine: Marc Newson – Urban Spaceman[/stag_button] [stag_button url=”http://www.marc-newson.com/default.aspx” style=”light-blue” size=”small” type=”round” target=”_self”]Marc Newson Website[/stag_button]

D&T – The Demise of Skilled Manufacture

Brooks Saddles

[stag_intro]Last week Craig Whittet talked about how skilled labour has been on the down for the last few decades.[/stag_intro] This, he said, was due to people that would normally have taken up a manufacturing apprenticeship when they left school are now choosing to take up the easier and more comfortable option of a service job (e.g., working at a call centre).

Surely that is understandable when the minimum wage for an apprentice under 19 is £2.68 but the minimum wage for a non-apprentice is £3.72. Doesn’t this devalue the skills of the men and women that have been working in skilled manufacture for many years. At Brooks Saddles for instance, it takes 3 days to make one single saddle and the company relies on the skills of its workers for methods like chamfering and riveting. You would hope high end manufacturing skills were valued more as it would seem a shame for these techniques to be lost. Brooks Saddles was bought by Selle Royal of Italy in 2002, they realised that the hipster brigade were buying old brooks saddles for much more that the new ones. Soon, the italians boosted the images of the brooks brand. They showed of the tradition and Englishness of the brand, turning it into a luxury good, and valuing the workers of its factory more.

Craig also gave products such as a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes their price in Chinese Yuan as well as Pound Sterling to show the difference in earnings. A top end heel would cost £875 but thats 8,750 CNY which is an average 3 months wages. However, top of the range pair of Trickers brogues would cost you £6,000 thats 60,000 CNY – thats 2 years average wages in China. China is starting to follow the Wests attitude to skilled labour and more people are going in to service jobs.

So is this change inevitable?  I think so, as more people look for a comfortable way of life, manufacturing jobs will be pushed to the poorer, less developed countries. The problem is, there will always be a requirement for people in manufacturing, so why not make it more valued and pay more for higher quality materials and people. Like Brooks, a lot of old stuffy companies need to value their workers and promote that or they will be made bankrupt.

[stag_button url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9w-y24Waz4″ style=”light-blue” size=”small” type=”round” target=”_self”]Brooks Saddles – The Blues of an Icon[/stag_button]