A panel of packaging design and industry experts met recently at PPC headquarters to evaluate the entries into the Paperboard Packaging Council’s (PPC) 72nd annual North American Paperboard Packaging Competition. While the top winners will be revealed at PPC’s upcoming Fall Meeting in Indianapolis, IN on October 8, 2015, the judging process revealed several unexpected industry trends.
Today, package designers are turning to bold, unconventional structures that stimulate imaginations and kindle desires. One popular design strategy seen at this year’s competition was the use of geometric structures with unique angles and sculptural effects. Generally reserved for specialty products, these design elements lend themselves well to paperboard and are entering the mainstream markets.
“Wow Factor” Finishing Techniques
As a whole, this year’s entries also displayed a previously unseen level of graphic and finishing techniques. One carton used micro-embossing to simulate rough, plaque-ridden teeth. Another simulated the leather of an expensive handbag while yet another the smooth feel of worn wood. This year’s entries revealed how detailed finishing effects can create a powerful sensory experience that can persuade consumers to buy.
Upscale Medicinal Marijuana Packaging
A new and quickly expanding market for packaging, this year’s competition saw several upscale, masterfully designed cartons for the medical cannabis market. One notable entry featured a high-end design with telescoping hexagonal lid as well as information on each strain, similar to upscale wine packaging.
While branding and consumer experience are key factors in successful package design, so too is efficiency in storing and transport. The entries this year revealed that designers are keeping these considerations in mind by creating stackable cartons for unexpected products. For example, one design for a six-pack can carrier featured a retractable handle that, once lowered into the carton, left a flat surface for stacking on the store shelf and on pallets. Another confectionery package was designed so that the family of different sized cartons could nest securely atop one another during transport and on the store shelf.
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