Category Archives: Design & Creative

An Eye for Color:



Manufactured Packaging Products: ENVIROKRAFT 100% RECYCLED Corrugated!


MPP offers EnviroKraft boxes made with 100% Post Consumer recycled fiber! EnviroKraft boxes are printable and have the strength of 32 ECT. Conventional print options available on EnviroKraft include gradients and screen printing. Soy-based ink can be used to further environmental friendliness.

Creativity explained:


The creative economy is a powerful and positive global force. Together, artists, industrial designers, and creative businesses produce and distribute cultural goods and services that impact the economy by generating jobs and revenue, while providing shoppers with heuristics that make the process of shopping a bit easier and a lot more enjoyable.

Not quite a believer in the power of the creative economy? Just take a look at the impact design has on Apple in both its product offerings and retail environments.

So what’s the secret formula for creating design that is both a delight and provides results? According to Alfredo Muccino, Chief Creative Officer at Liquid Agency, it involves a bit of logic, a touch of magic, a heavy dose of culture, and one part innovation. By understanding how these elements interplay with one another to create compelling design it becomes easier to create a design that influences shoppers and delivers results to the bottom-line.

“It’s no secret that innovation is the key element to a great design,” stated Muccino during POPAI’s 2011 DesignTrends. ” What we fail to take into account is how we are driven to achieve great design by seeking a logical solution to the task at hand. Often it’s a magical moment of inspiration and to a larger extent the influence that comes from the cultural events surrounding us.”

By using his formula as a lens for understanding the trends that are impacting today’s design aesthetics, Muccino offers up the following six trends that are taking the creative community by storm.

Technoaddiction The compulsive need to use the latest technology in order to connect with people who consume information in constantly more digital ways. Not quite convinced that today’s shoppers and designers aren’t a bit tech obsessed? Just look at the proliferation of mobile marketing, social marketing, and augmented reality to get an idea of how plugged in today’s shoppers and marketers really are.

Authenticraving In an almost allergic reaction to the creation of design using digital tools and techniques, today’s leading designers are returning back to tangible effects as opposed to virtual artifacts. In the age of Photoshop and virtual simulation it has become too easy and underwhelming to create anything the mind can imagine. However, today’s advent garde designers are creating truly spectacular design by returning back to creating things by hand.

E-Motionitis Today’s shopper has a tendency to be less engaged with static imagery compared to video and motion graphics. The generation that was raised on TV sat passively in front of the tube, but now they want to be the next Spielberg (hat tip: YouTube).

Individual Expressionism The era of mass production is giving away to the future of one-of-a-kind. Everyone wants to be a designer and have custom-made objects that fit their individual taste (or lack of). Not quite a believer? Maybe you can create a shirt on Etsy to express your discerning point-of-view.

Whimsical Eclecticism The juxtaposition of styles and ideas, arranged in a calculated state of chaos that is poetic, surreal, humorous and unexpected. Today’s designers are reinventing the past and making it completely modern in unexpected ways.

EcoCentricity A compulsion towards anything that makes one look like they care about natural resources. This condition used to be associated with kraft paper, and now is exemplified by the overuse of the color green. After all, nobody wants to be seen as not being green friendly.

Want to see stunning examples of these trends in action? If so, visit POPAI’s Online Library to download Muccino’s complete presentation.

Design tips from the designer’s mouth


Design tips from the designer’s mouth


  • Stick to the basic design rules, but try and be innovative, even if it is just through the use of different paper or varnishes. Be a Leader rather than a follower.
  • Always keep your design simple, never over-complicate the process. Always question why something is being done. Don’t design for design sake.
  • Gimmicks may look impressive initially, but will not give your brand longevity. Do not change your packaging often.
  • Make sure your name and branding, and message is strong.
  • Make sure that the printing and production costs of your packaging are realistic.
  • Do your research in the market; know your facts before starting the design process, as you don’t want to go through the same exercise in a hurry.
    Invest in your product by always using a specialist-packaging designer.

Future trends

  • Sustainability is the biggest world-changing concept at the moment. Turning life-draining wastefulness into green gold is the new Holy Grail. Don’t ignore its siren call. It will matter to every package designer on this planet very soon.
  • Bio-based, biodegradable and recycled materials are becoming more and more relevant. Internationally there is strong emphasis on environmentally friendly packaging, to the extent that certain noxious packaging materials being banned in some EU countries, that require certification of environmentally – compatible packaging.
  • Greening a product in the first place, of course, is the best way to reduce its environmental footprint. Companies are motivated to do so for a variety of reasons including increased consumer demand, pressure from partners across the supply chain and risk to the brand simply by being complacent. Adding the eco friendly banner to your product has become a strong sustainable marketing tool.
  • Technology has to become the designer’s friend, and designers must embrace these technologies. Package design on the whole is becoming more simple, but the message conveyed is more sophisticated, hardworking and streamline in design, and design quality. Design should convey a strong concept of lifestyle, and graphic imagery.
  • Good simple design, combined with more complex use of substrates, whether environmentally friendly or just unusual, mesh together with the use of interesting shapes and dyes, can culminate in some exciting printing technologies, results in great design. This is an exciting challenging time for designers.

Cost saving packaging tips

  • Planning design, and printing in advance gives you time to weigh-up your options and evaluate new suppliers. It’s good practice to regularly evaluate alternate suppliers. Look for suppliers that are willing to work with you to identify cost saving options the industry is capable of delivering.
  • Once the development process is complete and specifications agreed 80% of the costs are embedded, leaving only 20% of the problem to work on for those in manufacturing. Therefore major opportunities for saving occur in the design stage and this is where your designer can assist you.
  • A good designer will see a way of creating brand extensions, or streamlining your costs, through the use of good clever, well thought out design.
  • Continue looking at cost saving ideas even when you need them the least. A simple modification to your packaging specifications could lead to substantial cost savings over the long run.
  • Determine your production volumes annually. Unit costs decrease in accordance to volume. It’s more expensive ordering small quantities so rather order less frequently and let your suppliers carry the stock, invoicing only when it goes into production.
  • Most food products are perishables, (unlike good wine) and a stagnant inventory doesn’t improve with age. Excess inventory ties up capital and ‘hidden’ costs such as damaged, lost, redundant stock, warehousing, insurance and financing costs, all eat into the bottom line.
  • Insist on having a service level agreement in place. A simple way to measure your supplier performance levels is based on on-time, in-full and error-free deliveries. By regularly monitoring and managing your suppliers you can maximize the benefits of your sourcing strategy, and ultimately increase your profit margin.


Expensive and exotic packaging is a huge part of modern consumerism.

Manufacturers know that many purchasing decisions we make are based on the attractiveness of good packaging. This means they are prepared to spend a lot of time and money creating eye-catching designs that will stand out from the crowd.

However there is a heavy cost to this process. Although packaging is useful it does account for millions of tons of waste every year. Some of this is recycled but the majority of it does go straight to landfill. This is a huge waste of vital environmental resources.

The Future of Packaging

As we become more aware of our impact on the environment the high costs of packaging is becoming a major issue. A large number of consumers are now actively choosing the more eco-friendly alternative when they shop by opting for packaging that can be recycled. This means that for manufacturers it is now more possible than every to take a “greener” approach to packaging whilst still meeting their marketing objectives. The new trend in sustainable packaging is rapidly growing and spreading throughout the food, clothing and general goods markets.

What is Sustainable Packaging?

Sustainable packaging is designed to reduce wastage and conserve important resources. There are three main elements to this:

  • Reduce — a large percentage of the time packaging is designed to be larger than really necessary. Manufacturers use this technique to make products appear bigger than they actually are and also to make them more eye-catching. However this is a main cause of wastage. Simply by reducing the size of packaging a vast amount of paper, cardboard and plastic can be saved every year.
  • Reuse — many modern materials can only be used once. This means they have to then go straight to landfill once throw away. By selectively choosing materials that can be reused manufacturers can contribute greatly to reducing wastage. For example paper products can be reused successfully up to 7 different times.
  • Recycle — by recycling materials we can make sure they are reintroduced into the industrial chain and reused for another purpose. This helps to reduce the strain on the planet’s fragile resources and save on wastage. When we recycle materials such as paper, plastic and glass we can are actively working to reduce landfill and conserve valuable materials.

The Costs of Sustainable Packaging

Finding new ways to package goods can be costly but the benefits are there. Materials are getting more and more expensive these days. By cutting back on packaging size manufacturers can not only reduce wastage but they can also cut costs on the production line significantly. Also customers are actively seeking out sustainable packaging. By choosing this option it can be possible to gain an edge over competitors.

Another important point is that environmental issues are here to stay. The government can no longer afford to ignore the monumental task of cutting wastage and conserving resources. This means that in the future it is likely that more incentives will be provided for manufacturers that do present eco-friendly measures such as sustainable packaging.

Take steps now towards reducing landfill and protecting the planet’s resources by choosing sustainable packaging when you shop or design your packaging.

USE YOUR BRAIN! When making big packaging and marketing decisions.

Feeling overwhelmed while trying to develop a package for your product? I’m not surprised. Packaging is the third largest industry in the country.

In fact, there are more than 10,000 packaging manufactures in the US alone. The proliferation of material choices and vendors is extensive. To begin you will have to narrow the resource and material universe before you package anything. That is your first step because you can’t have a product without a package.

Which vendor is right for you? What is your packaging material of choice? Do you understand the differences between each material and what value each will bring to marketing your product? How do you sift through the mounds of information and resources to set started packaging your product?

Here are 5 easy rules to get you started.

1. Do Your Homework—Before you decide how you want to package your product you need to see and understand what is already available in the marketplace. Even if your product is the greatest new invention out there, you will still have competition of some sort. Start by checking that out first. Visit outlets that carry similar products or products in the same category. For example, if you have a houseware product you should check out places that market housewares. Don’t just pick one outlet. Go to a variety of stores. You don’t want to develop a great new packaging concept only to find someone else is already doing the same thing. The more you look the better informed you will become. Be careful not to go into information overload by visiting every retailer outlet out there. This will only serve to confuse your decision making process.

2. Pick Your Packaging Material—This isn’t as simple as it sounds because there are many external factors influencing why products are packaged in certain types of materials. Certain products lend themselves special merchandising. Some products can only be merchandised in certain materials. How the product is merchandised may dictate what type of package material you use. For example, if you need clarity to see the entire product then you are probably going to want plastic. The choice of material may also be dictated by availability.

Packaging materials are classified by their primary raw material. Two simple examples are paper and plastic. Within in each material type are numerous sub categories of different types of packaging. If you chose paper packaging it might be a box, a bag, a drum, a tube, a canister and so on. See the variety of choices? It’s easy to become inundated with options and hard to figure out what is the best choice. As products lend themselves to several different packaging materials, it’s best to start with what you know is working with similar products. Even if you choose the same material as a competitive product the package doesn’t necessarily need to look the same.

3. Optimize Your Package Profile—This is what is called the retail footprint, i.e., how much space will your product take up on the shelf. Your goal is to have the smallest size or amount of packaging you can while optimizing the shape and design of the package. It’s important to understand the concept of the retail footprint. Retail space is at a premium so the smaller amount of space you use the happier the retailer will be. They may even specify that your product only be allowed so much shelf space. In any case, you need to understand the concept and incorporate that in your sales pitch to retailers.

Many times you can package your product in variety of different ways. This is where creativity comes into play. Your product doesn’t just have to sit on a shelf in a box. It could sit upright; it could hang or be displayed in a floor stand or similar merchandiser. There are many unique ways to merchandise any product. You just have to think outside of traditional ways of doing things. Look at other products from different industries. See if you can’t incorporate design ideas into your own product packaging.

4. Be Prepared To Take Advice—I know you are in love with your product and you are sure you have ALL the answers, but you can’t be an expert at everything. Listen to what other people have to say about your product packaging. Don’t get so caught up in your own ideas that you make design mistakes or mistakes in merchandising. Get a reality check from someone who knows nothing about your product. See if your packaging concept is compelling to an outsider. By that I mean that they are interested enough to pick your product up off the shelf.

There are many resources available to you at little or no cost. Many vendors provide design expertise as part of the order. There is an unlimited amount of resource materials that can give you basic information that can save you many hours and costly mistakes. Be sure and spend time checking them out.

5. Think Big, But Be Prepared To Compromise—I know your product is fantastic, but you may need to start out on a smaller scale than you envision. One of the largest obstacles might be finding a vendor. In general, custom packaging is relegated to large volume orders and you are probably not there yet. But don’t despair.

Look for stock items that can be customized. The stock container market has improved dramatically with innovation and new designs. In fact there are many companies now that provide only stock containers. You can customize stock on a smaller scale. With a simple label change, your package may there. Also ordering in a limited quantity allows you to change and modify your packaging as your sales increase. You don’t want to have 10,000 old packages on hand when you have a design change or need to change what’s on the package due to some regulatory issue.

The important fact is to understand that packaging is not static it evolves and changes with consumer needs and demands. It can even change because you have more business and can order in larger quantities. What worked in the past may not work tomorrow. You need to be innovative and creative in your thinking. Look for guidance and expertise in outside resources. Keep up with packaging changes and materials. Don’t get caught ordering too much stock that you can never use. Think big and start small.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Make packaging your first thought, not your last.