Packaging design: “The complexity, makes it challenging!”
What kind of work do you actually do? A question Jorn Veldhuis (head development & design Bark Innovations) is often asked on birthdays. “I design packaging,” he answers. The common answer that follows is: “So you design boxes?”
Of course Jorn has also designed ‘boxes’ on behalf of Bark Innovations, or packaging made of corrugated cardboard and folding cardboard. But in general he is working on improving the ease of use for shampoo bottles, he is looking for the optimal dosing options for detergent and he is devising solutions for reuse of packaging. He and his team are working on all kinds of packaging developments every day.
Every project has a completely different character. The important design aspects of the shampoo bottle are very different from those of a carton packaging for milk. This deserves an explanation, because many people (on birthdays) don’t know the various packaging functions.
Same order, different start
The reason for buying a bottle of shampoo is often because of it’s design, the smell or the positive brand image. Brand experience, design and also ease of use are the most important functions we focus on when designing such a type of packaging. “But when I think about the most important conditions for the design of a milk packaging, other things come to the fore”, says Jorn from the Experience Center of Bark Innovations in Eerbeek. “Think of safety, efficiency and transport. Due to the major differences, we will start completely different on both projects, while the assignment is the same: design a new packaging for this product.”
In addition, there are always variables that have a strong influence on a packaging design. “On top of that”, Jorn starts enthusiastically. “If you sell the same milk in a different place, other forms of packaging may be more suitable. For example, if the milk is sold at a filling station consider a smaller packaging design. More convenient for on the go. Or when detergent is sold b2b, we can probably switch to a jerry can or bag in box?
Another example. “It may be the case that milk is packaged to be further processed into another product. The milk moves from company A to B, what does this mean for the packaging?”
These issues, Jorn and his team at Bark Innovations, deal with on a daily basis. And we are now only talking about a few products. We can ask the same questions for thousands of other products, all packaged in a certain way. Should it be a bottle? Or is a pouch better? Is a dosing technique or mixing system required? Perhaps a folding carton box? Or glass? And how can we make this packaging sustainable? Suitable for existing filling lines. Efficient in transport and storage. And the appearance that contributes to the brand positioning.
The ‘marketing P’s‘ are of course also discussed in the design process of a packaging. However, this concerns only a part of all packaging functions. Processing, transportation, protecting, preserving, use, etc. are some more of these functions, as shown below. An optimal packaging is designed to fulfill all its changing functions during the life cycle. Depending on the product to be packaged, these functions are mapped out and periodised. According to Jorn, that is the essence of good packaging design. Finding answers to all issues. Analyse all functions and implement them optimally.
That’s the work we do.