2015 Makeover Challenge Reveal: Porchlight



“Porchlight really listened to the brand presentation,” Andrea Alasi, a product specialist in TELUS’ product marketing department and the company’s lead for this year’s Makeover Challenge brand, remarks. “And they were the friendliest. Out of the four, I would say that we built the best business relationship with Porchlight.”

Alasi says the business relationship between TELUS and Porchlight was so collaborative that the design firm might have stumbled upon TELUS’ next marketing direction. “I’m not sure if they did this consciously or not,” Alasi says, “but the second concept, the one that’s supposed to be the stretch concept, used images of people. We just started to use people in our marketing campaigns. Prior to Christmas time, it was always critters never people.”


The stretch concept

“This concept speaks to me the most because it is a personal connection to another person’s lifestyle,” Lynnette Pope, senior art director at Porchlight and the designer behind both of Porchlight’s concepts, says. “The billboarding on the front of each package is just a really good way to talk directly to the consumer.”

The use of black-and-white photography of a variety of target consumers would enable the brand to hit multiple areas of its target demographic without having to choose a visual style that would appeal more to one age group versus the other. The packaging could even be digitally printed to enable even more variety in the photography.

This, Pope says, is especially important when you are reaching out to the older cell phone users. “If my mom saw the package with the older person on it, I’m pretty sure she would pick that phone in a heartbeat because the package visually tells her that she will be able to use it. TELUS was great about sharing the demographics of people who buy its prepaid phones, and I said, ‘Let’s use this data to our advantage.’ So we immediately started looking at different types of photography and different use scenes.”

The agency chose to use black-and-white photography versus color for two reasons: 1) it kept the phone the hero with its full color vinyl cling and 2) the photography had such a clean look that it functioned as white space, keeping with TELUS’ branding layout requirements of creating designs as simplified as possible.


“What I like about the way we approach things is that it’s not about choose design number one or number two,” Greg Corey, founder of Porchlight, says. “It’s about, which problems do you want to solve. Which concepts solve the problem that you feel you have the most? For this project, each concept solves a couple of problems for TELUS but they ultimately have to decide which one is the bigger issue for them. We design to make the client happy and solve the client’s issues and their problems.

“So I think the real challenge of this project, to be quite honest, is to listen to the client and give them what they ask for,” he adds. “So we really examined, tried to find the problems with their packaging, and it led to structure. That wasn’t easy. We see a lot of companies that need a lot of help. But TELUS didn’t need a lot of help. They’re pretty buttoned up.” The agency instead had to find specific answers to targeted problems that might not be immediately evident.


The closer-in concept

The stretch concept was designed to help TELUS boost sales or address any underlying sales problems for the device. But the closer-in concept was created to address cost and environmental issues.

“Here, we saw the problem as primarily structural not visual,” Corey says. “When we opened the current packaging and pulled the phone out, all the contents just spilled out. The charger just dropped on the floor, two coupons from Microsoft floated down, and the booklet was kind of loose. We set about to create a solution that wasn’t a separate clamshell for each device, because we know that would cause inventory problems and things of that nature.”

The answer came in a ridged stadium tray that would enable phones of multiple sizes to fit easily in the package. For the outer package, Porchlight recommended a dual-peg blistercard that would have a stronger environmental profile than a traditional clamshell package, would billboard well and stay steady on a pegboard, and pull the phone’s presence, literally, forward.


Porchlight then cleaned up the message hierarchy. “We realized that the logo on the current packaging didn’t have a lot of weight,” Corey recalls. “Even though they asked for a lot of white space, the current packaging had every corner filled. Lynnette did a brilliant job of giving the logo its own area to live in and not crowding it with a bunch of stuff. The result is that the messaging is a lot cleaner and easier to read even though we didn’t change their copy. It’s the exact same copy!”

Pope adds, “We also cleaned up the icons slightly and moved them to the bottom of the front panel. My thinking was that most prepaid phones are peg-locked where you can’t take the phone package off the pegs. Moving the icons lower would make them easier to read.” 




You can cast your vote now for Porchlight’s concepts at www.packagedesignmag.com/makeoverchallenge, or in person, September 28-30, at
the Package Design booth (#S-6418) at Pack Expo Las Vegas. The agency with the most votes wins the challenge and will be featured in the November/December 2015 issue.

2015 Makeover Challenge Reveal: Gelcomm



“Out of our target markets,” Andrea Alasi, a product specialist in TELUS’ product marketing department and the company’s lead for this year’s Makeover Challenge brand, says, “younger customers are generally more profitable for us. Seniors will often just pay $10 a month to have cell service available.”

Gelcomm delivered a youth-centric design as a result of the discussions and collaborations between the agency and brand. “After the brand briefing meeting, we went back to TELUS with a laundry list, including a request to focus the target market,” Alicia Goodyear Lichens, creative director at Gelcomm recalls. “We told them that you’ve got these demographics but it really runs all the way from tween to the golden years and everything in between. The client was just really forthright, honest and helpful. She knew her market well enough and was able to provide clarity quickly. When we asked about the segments of the target market with the most business potential, she was like, ‘Easy, focus on the youth and the credit challenged.’ That was awesome.”

And it helped the firm begin to take apart the brand guidelines to discover the creative possibilities. “After the brand briefing, it felt almost as if we were being told make over our brand but don’t change anything,” Goodyear Lichens recalls. “So we really took their brand bible and their messaging and their visual elements and kind of broke it down to the minutiae. What we found was a bunch of great ingredients. We had quite a beautiful typeface in Helvetica, a great green, a beautiful purple and the encouragement to use white space whether that’s white or some other use of that.”

With its design toolbox in place, Gelcomm went back to TELUS for more clarifications. “One of the follow-ups we did was to ask for a couple of specific problems to solve,” Goodyear Lichens says. “Again, Andrea was able to boil down the challenge to its essence. She told us, ‘We need the packaging smaller, and it needs to be more consumer friendly.”


The stretch concept

 Gelcomm then started diving into two lanes to turnaround the project quickly—looking at structure and the visual challenge of conveying friendliness to young consumers, whether they are tweens and teens using a phone paid for by their parents or young adults learning how to use credit better.

“We went through iteration upon iteration both on the design side and the structural side,” Goodyear Lichens recalls. “We explored flaps. We explored bags.” As a longtime Package Design reader, she wanted to honor the spirit of the Makeover Challenge, which traditionally showcases only one concept per competing agency. Goodyear Lichens was determined to create a concept that could serve both as the close-in and stretch concept with just a few tweaks.

“Typically, when we present to clients, we always show three concepts, close-in, a little further and wackadoo,” she quips. “But I wanted to approach this like a contest, where you only have one shot. That’s what makes it a challenge!”


The only graphic element, Goodyear Lichens explains, that wasn’t already part of the brand’s visual assets was a new teal color. “We were very forthright when we presented to the client,” she says, “We told them that we added an accent color and explained our rationale: A very gently composed accent color, which is very close to TELUS Green, helps identify the phone specifically as a prepaid product offering. Then we introduced this idea of the gradation from green to teal.”


The close-in concept

Gelcomm also designed variants that used TELUS brand colors of green and purple and a version that was green and white. Once the color strategy was established, the team could focus on structure. “I actually lived in Canada, Toronto specifically,” Goodyear Lichens explains. “So I understood how packaging is displayed there, and our engineer Cesar Modesto is well versed in Walmart’s shelf requirements and pegging. We looked at the prepaid mobile packaging and saw that a lot of the packages are widening. I understand why designers are doing that because the packages are impactful. But we know that you give a business more selling opportunities with a narrower package and we had our marching orders from Andrea. And when we saw the design with another peg added to the display, it really made an awesome block at retail!”

Another business reality that Gelcomm addressed was costs. “We were real excited to try to get around the $2 mark and introduce aesthetically pleasing materials that are either recycled or recyclable,” says Goodyear Lichens. And Alasi says for the most part Gelcomm succeeded. “They costed the package out saying it was about $2.15 a piece when I had said to work up to $2,” Alasi remarks. “But changing that into Canadian dollars and adjusting for this particular product’s volume, I suspect that it will be closer to $4.”


Alasi did note that the materials do convey a high-end image, with a molded paper pulp tray. “This pulp is sugar-cane-based, so it’s 100% recyclable,” Goodyear Lichen exclaims. “It’s great for electronics because of the way it cushions, and it’s aesthetically pleasing. It’s got a very pretty clean, creamish texture so it’s not that dark green eco look, and it’s also embossable. We also wanted to sell the product through touch.”

The agency is recommending a soft touch coated paper that Goodyear Lichens describes as like suede but with better print capabilities. She remarks, “You can print beautiful colors on this soft textured surface—whites, crisp colors and all that!

“We wanted to bring the high-end electronics experience, like the big A—Apple” Goodyear Lichens adds. “We wanted to bring that experience and excitement into prepaid for the rest of the consumers, and we wanted to bring what could be a win for the client.”

Alasi says, Gelcomm’s strategic work is evident in the concepts. “It’s visually appealing,” she remarks. “They took into consideration that moment when the customer actually unboxes the device and how that is an exciting moment, especially for the young teen when it’s their first phone.” 


You can cast your vote now for Gelcomm’s concepts at www.packagedesignmag.com/makeoverchallenge, or in person, September 28-30, at the Package Design booth (#S-6418) at Pack Expo Las Vegas. The agency with the most votes wins the challenge and will be featured in the November/December 2015 issue.

2015 Makeover Challenge Reveal: Galileo Global Branding Group

Galileo Global Branding Group


The shelf impact of Galileo Global Branding Group’s stretch concept is undeniable. With its close-up body part imagery, the competitor chose to swing for the rafters rather than bunt for the bases. And it was the Galileo concept that was most memorable to Andrea Alasi, a product specialist in TELUS’ product marketing department and the company’s lead for the Makeover Challenge.

“The strongest emotional reaction I had to Galileo’s design was the use of the body parts,” she remarks. “It was different, and something that surprised me.” Time will tell if Package Design’s readers’ reaction will be as visceral as Alasi’s.



The stretch concept

The use of body parts as the primary imagery is well intentioned and was thought out carefully, though. “We realized that this concept was very unexpected, but we actually stand by that because we think that that’s one of the most important things about making the TELUS brand become something that’s very easily noticeable,” Lee Gobbi, creative director of Galileo Branding, says.

Gobbi and his team wanted to create something with high visual impact that would communicate the brand promise without the barriers of language, as both French and English are commonly spoken in the Canadian telecommunications giant’s primary market.

The jumping-off point for the design was the company’s name TELUS. “What we took out of the name TELUS was literally splitting the two words, the brand name,” Gobbi explains. “We literally split the words TELUS up into Tel-us which really kind of fits the mold perfectly of what a phone is about. It’s literally talking and listening. Today’s devices are about human communication in a more intimate form, and we got a driver out of that idea. The design starts with a beautiful pair of giant lips right up on the front panel and inside there is a very large, good looking ear, with the word ‘listen’ in English and ecouter in French.

The result is a very dramatic billboard that communicates the actions of talking and listening. Gobbi adds, “It’s all about grabbing the person’s attention and saying, ‘Hey, look at me!’ But we were very sensitive to making sure that the TELUS brand mark is very clearly and very openly printed on the package in as many places as possible.”

Project art director Craig Minella adds, “We’ve leveraged the TELUS name in a way that made our concept relevant and introduced some personality, some human touch in a category that is dominated with functionality, communication, as well as just an overall techie feel.”

Katie Mai, senior designer at Galileo, agrees, “By introducing a human touch to the packaging, we’re taking a brand that was a bit static on shelf and injecting some life into it.” Jun Yang, who was a designer on the project, notes, “I’m proud of the intimate human touch this concept creates, in addition to the functionality of the structural design [used for both concepts].”


The close-in concept

“We stood by our guns on the talk-listen concept,” Glenn Pfeifer, executive creative director at Galileo Global Branding Group, says. “But we also did an alternate version that showed the parrot close up on the cover.” 

Gobbi notes that the close-in concept uses TELUS’ existing visual assets, using animal photography to make the brand seem friendly. The parrot was depicted on the outside of the box, and bunny ears were used on the inside panel.

“We felt strongly about the work however if the idea of not having any critter on it at all was a deal breaker for TELUS,” Pfeifer remarks. “We did not want them to at least not consider this idea of the overall package makeover with the talk-listen concept.”

Other design elements are also common between both concepts, especially when it comes to the structural design.

“We wanted to create a packaging format that was efficient from a production standpoint,” says Gobbi. “Another priority was sensitivity to the environmentally conscious piece of it. We also wanted to make the package more consumer friendly from a size standpoint.”

The agency developed an inner packaging component to replace the inner clamshell. The paperboard tray is designed to house multiple phone styles and sizes and continue to display the TELUS brand long after the original purchase. “The little flaps that you can see, the indents on the facing of this internal package actually hold the phone in place,” Gobbi says. “They keep the product in place and can contain the smallest of phones to the largest of phone without any problem of any of them slipping out. So that little indent is deep enough so that it will contain the smallest device securely.

“And when you pull the tray out and you take all your pieces that you need for the phone, you look at the instructions and clip the tray together in a very simple way,” he says. “The tray becomes a housing to stand the phone on your desk so that you don’t throw that away, which you would have done with the current packaging’s vacu-form.”

Alasi remarks, “I liked the fact that they really tried to make the package eco-friendly and easy to assemble. The concepts definitely took costs and environment into the equation.”

To demonstrate the intricate structural design concepts, Galileo created a variety of mockups, from interactive 3-D images embedded into PDF images to a physical mock-up that was shipped to Alasi.



You can cast your vote now for Galileo Global Branding Group’s concepts at www.packagedesignmag.com/makeoverchallenge, or in person, September 28-30, at the Package Design booth (#S-6418) at Pack Expo Las Vegas. The agency with the most votes wins the challenge and will be featured in the November/December 2015 issue.

2015 Makeover Challenge Reveal: BrandFirst

BrandFirst Creative Agency


“As a group, we liked BrandFirst’s [close-in] concept the most,” Andrea Alasi, a product specialist in TELUS’ product marketing department and the company’s lead for the Makeover Challenge, remarks. This group, created by Alasi, was designed to address multiple points of influence in the packaging lifecycle and included internal and external marketing and design experts. Invited to comment and analyze the Makeover Challenge concepts were the agency that serves as its print broker, the managers who work on the company’s retail accounts, and the marketing team for TELUS’ prepaid products.

The group evaluated the designs with the goal of communicating the TELUS brand but grabbing more attention from shoppers, which Alasi admits is not an easy feat. “I gave the contestants a lot of brand requirements,” she quips. “BrandFirst was the agency that stuck closer to what our current concept is. They followed my brief very closely and got the TELUS brand onto the packaging.”

Brec Morgan, managing partner at BrandFirst, recalls, “The creative brief was very specific and as we were reading through, we were getting a little bit nervous because we didn’t know how much openness we would have and how much we were going to be able to reach in order to do our designs. But after we talked to them and they walked us through our branding, we got more comfortable with them and our client interaction with them.”

Alasi remarks, “They asked good questions. They had follow up after the brand presentation. We even sent emails back and forth with further questions and answers.”

Through that interaction, a level of trust was built between the two companies. “They started to give us a little bit more leniency,” Morgan says.

Dianna Rogers, senior associate, strategy and new business initiatives at BrandFirst, adds, “It was nice that they were open to seeing something a little more out of the box as well as closer in. The ability to do two different designs was good for our designer.”


The close-in concept

The competitor’s creative director Victor Hunt notes that in both the close-in concept and the stretch concept that BrandFirst wanted to stay true to the TELUS brand. “We didn’t want the package to look totally different from everything else within the brand family,” he remarks. “For the closer-in concept, we wanted to challenge ourselves and just be constrained to the existing form, hierarchy and brand guidelines, and tweak it just a little bit. As part of the creative process, we did challenge some of those things in the stretch concept.”

Both concepts started with a competitive analyses of the prepaid mobile market. Hunt notes that the appearance of a phone is important to all consumers, whether they are in the prepaid or postpaid markets, because “phones are sort of an extension of who our personalities are and it’s almost like a bit of an aspirational thing.”

But BrandFirst observed that many phones in the prepaid market aren’t treated with that same reverence. “None of the packages really paid respect to the actual device, so we wanted to highlight the phone with the addition of a plastic cling that would show off the phone’s user interface. This would differentiate the product from competitors with empty black screens.”

The design firm also used color to emphasize the “friendlier” visual equities. “TELUS uses the critters as a sort of metaphor to make technology more friendly and approachable,” says Rogers. The agency also found that the bright colors of the TELUS birds could be leveraged to highlight the phone’s many features, from its touchscreen to high-resolution camera. “We thought it would be a cool way to incorporate a different icon for each of the colors that would then move on to their website and then move on to the inserts inside the phone with the instructions and things like that,” says Morgan. The company’s brand colors, especially the TELUS green, was used to create a focal point around the product.

All strategies earned high marks from Alasi. “They used the critters,” she exclaims. “They also used the brand color to make the package look a bit more premium. Carrying that color through to the vinyl cling at the front of the device was another good touch.”


The stretch concept

For its stretch concept, TELUS decided to take a more conversational approach while keeping in mind TELUS’ guidelines that its critters are shown exhibiting realistic behaviors and not take on comic-like action such as engaging in verbal dialogue. “Our farther-out concept features a big hero bird with its wing outstretched like it’s waving to you,” Morgan says. “But the conversation bubbles are positioned not so much like the bird is talking to you but the phone is talking to you. Instead, we have the birds doing more natural actions that make the phone buying and activating process more approachable.”

Hunt adds, “During the competitive audit, we noticed that none of TELUS’ competitors could articulate what the plan was in simple terms. If a consumer is choosing between two phones with similar aesthetic appeal, the one way to help them lean toward your brand is to articulate what exactly is the plan. So we tried to make that as simple as possible, setting up a one, two, three, four process and a non-complicated way to communicate that on package as well as on the website.”

BrandFirst reports that both concepts were seen as on brand. “We were a little nervous when presenting the second concept because we were stretching it a little bit,” Morgan recalls. “But when Andrea saw it she was like, ‘Oh, you guys made it sound like it was so much more far out than it is. This is really screaming TELUS, and it’s not too far out at all.’”

Part of the agency’s ability to stretch the brand guidelines and still capture its personality can be attributed to its collaboration style. Says Alasi, “Brandfirst, Porchlight and Gelcomm were all really great to work with.”



You can cast your vote now for BrandFirst Creative Agency’s concepts at www.packagedesignmag.com/makeoverchallenge, or in person,
September 28-30, at the Package Design booth (#S-6418) at Pack Expo Las Vegas. The agency with the most votes wins the challenge and
will be featured in the November/December 2015 issue.

Snapshots: July 2015 Issue

Twisted Tale

Fantastical visual narrative seduces shoppers to retry amber ale.

Driftwood Brewery of Victoria, BC, Canada, empowered Hired Guns Creative
(www.hiredgunscreative.com) to turn up the strange to remind consumers of this session beer. The craft brewer knew the packaging would need to be dramatic to turnaround the varietal’s downward sales trajectory.

“The main goal with this project was to redesign the packaging for a beer that wasn’t selling very well, despite the actual beer being quite good,” says Leif Miltenberger, partner and business director at Hired Guns Creative.

The agency collaborated with photographer Sean Fenzl (www.seanfenzl.com) to create “a misshapen island scene” where the inhabitants have twisted together German noble hops and Munich malt.

“We believe that the intense new label design will catch the consumer’s eye and convince them to give this beer that they’ve forgotten about another try,” Miltenberger remarks. “We’re not sure if it does yet, as the redesigned labels are just hitting the market [early July].”


In Pursuit of the Night

Premium Carlsberg sub-brand captures the mysterious excitement of evenings out.

Carlsberg NOX, a premium Carlsberg sub-brand for night-life drinking that has launched first in Poland, aims to create an exciting aspirational story of nighttime pursuit. Design collective Safari Sundays (www.safarisundays.com) created the packaging, naming and visual identity for the brand, which aims to deliver a new look and feel for the Carlsberg brand through an abstract, Nordic-styled name and sleek constellation inspired graphics. The visual story is meant to be an intense journey, full of anticipation, towards Carlsberg’s iconic ‘north star’ hop leaf, with a brand message that the beer is mysterious and enticing, implying that wherever the evening goes, it will head in the right direction. The senior designer for the project was Matthew Smiroldo, working under managing director Cynthia Davies and creative director Adam Walko. The chief creative officer was Damon Gorrie.


Complex Character

Geometric shapes convey the intricate flavors of beer alternative.

Made with direct-sourced, hand-picked Chinese teas from small family farms with rare botanicals and tropical juices, Prohibition Kombucha is a long-fermented beverage that aims to deliver a crisp, complex and refreshing taste that reflects the mountains, forests, soils and waters where the teas are grown. Each flavor is carefully crafted to amplify the tea’s identity and seasonality.

“Originally home-brewed by owner and polymath, Nate Uri, as a mixable alternative to alcohol during a brief ‘prohibitionary’ stint of his own, Prohibition is clean, bright, and delicious,” says Dan Ibarra of Aesthetic Apparatus (www.aestheticapparatus.com), which did the brand and package design. “Early creative direction for the brand suggested looking to liquor as the competition, as opposed to the wellness aisle. It’s not called Prohibition for the non-alcoholic healthiness of the drink, but for the raw, decadent and resourceful underbelly that prohibition breeds. The packaging is a blend of prohibition-era American modernism, 19th century French libertinism, Chinese name seals, and pre-Castro bottles of rum. It’s more of a guilty pleasure than a responsibility.”


Sweet Shots

Colorful paperboard sleeves make cocktail-inspired shots both familiar and novel.

Developed to be the world’s first craft cocktail-inspired artisan jelly shot, Ludlows Jelly Shots had a unique selling proposition and needed packaging that would distinguish it from the traditional brightly colored, artificial Jell-O shots popular with young adults.

“Being a new product and a new category, goal No. 1 was to tell people what the product is and how to use it,” says Adam Padilla, CEO and co-founder of BrandFire (www.brandfire.com), which developed the visual brand identity. “The hexagonal sleeve is unique in profile as well as functionality, as both front and back panels have vertical cut outs to view the product.”

Padilla explains that the packaging’s window familiarizes the consumer with the product while allowing the aesthetics of the jelly shot to serve as a color accent.

The product name and flavor names are prominent on the package, while black bands at the top and bottom of the package convey important information about how to enjoy the jelly shots and the product type.

The sleeves’ hexagon shape allows the package to be stocked upright or lay flat and stacked. “The vertical orientation allows the package to ship and disagree just as a bottle or can would, and fits neatly in a refrigeration unit or a POP counter top,” Padilla notes. “While the contrasting colors of the panels provide a great color pop, which increases visibility and helps shelf pull.”

Vintage woodcut-style graphics add a distinctive element to the package design, and the foil lids carry the most important product information, ensuring that consumers are educated about the brand even if they aren’t the purchaser and are handed one at a party or event.


Authentic or Generic?

Genesee Brewery’s redesign included a return to the original name of Genesee Light (from Genny Light), along with graphic changes on Genesee Beer, Genesee Cream Ale and Genesee Ice. As one of the oldest breweries in New York State, Genesee Brewery boasts 137 years of heritage. “There is real love for the simplicity and values that Genesee stands for,” says Mike Mueller, brewmaster at Genesee.

Moving toward simplification of package designs to highlight a brand’s heritage is a trend we are seeing in beer marketing, from local breweries to the big household names.

Less than a year ago, Miller returned to a look for Miller Lite that’s similar to the beer’s original packaging—back when the brand debut debuted in 1975. “The decision to bring back our original look was an important one for this brand,” says Miller Lite senior marketing director Ryan Reis. “It’s authentic, proud and highlights what has always been true about Miller Lite since it was first brewed. It’s a high-quality beer worthy of those moments with friends.”

To celebrate what sets Miller Lite apart from other light beers, the brand re-introduced the Original Lite Can for what was supposed to be a two-month promotional window. Consumer response to the brand’s authenticity and great story was so positive that the brand kept the Original Lite Can in market and changed the bottle. “What we learned through this process was that our history means something special to consumers,” says Reis. “We’re immensely proud of what Miller Lite stands for and the new direction reminds people of not only where we came from, but where we’re going as a brand.”

With simplified, retro designs like these, there can be a danger of slipping from evoking positive emotional connections with consumers over heritage to conveying a brand message sans quality cues via modernity. Did our readers think Genesee Brewery’s and Miller’s retro designs moved the brands forward?

The Verdict

When I drink a light beer, I don’t want to sacrifice flavor for the sake of my love handles. I always felt Miller Lite’s old blue design diluted the brand, the traditional typefaces forced within a swirling oval, trying to be a sporty beer instead of an honest beer. But the redesign strategy works by breaking away from the traditional category blue color and delivers refreshing authenticity that consumers are seeking.

The simplified new look for the Genesee redesign, reverting back to the original naming and logo treatment is a smart move in terms of building off the brand’s 137 year history. The bold simple architecture enhances brand blocking, however it is devoid of any contemporary spins on traditional and premium beer cues. The different Genesee type treatment on the Cream Ale—initial caps—lacks brand consistency. As a result the Genesse design appears rather generic and unappealing. 

Peter Johnson

Johnson and McGreevy Inc., (JAM)


The Genesee and Miller Lite retro designs use bold flat color and lots of white space, and these new, simpler designs are a great way to cut through the clutter and be found at retail. The balancing act that both brands must manage is that this new simplicity communicate a heritage and not a more generic value message. The Genesee program seems like it’s missing quality cues and skews a little generic in my opinion.

John Parham

President, director of branding,
Parham Santana The Brand Extension Agency


Product Focus with Active & Smart Packaging

Interactive Packaging Technology


DirectLink incorporates NFC technology to send messages from a label to a consumer’s smartphone. Avery Dennison says its DirectLink technology can be used as an anti-counterfeiting measure to help users confirm a product’s authenticity. DirectLink can also let brands share content such as videos, user manuals, surveys or coupons.


RFID-enabled Packaging


New Sunshine battled product diversion for more than 10 years. Third parties resold the product in unauthorized channels, undercutting salon prices. Its Designer Skin products are meant to be sold only through authorized distributors and professional salons. WS Packaging Group developed a full chain-of-custody solution using RFID technology.


Auto-closing Pouch


Zip-Pak PresSure-Lok is designed to be a space-saving flexible replacement for blow-molded containers, is an all-in-one, controlled product dispensing system. This resealable packaging solution combines one-handed functionality with a unique auto-reclosing feature. Requiring far less materials than rigid packaging, PresSure-Lok can be an option for eco-minded personal care brands, with products such as shampoos, conditioners, mouthwash and lotions.



Active/activated Scent Technology


ScentSational scented packaging technologies can be integrated into packaging during production of materials or can be added at a later point in time.  Scents can be active or activated, depending on use application.


Anti-bacterial Film


Zircon Bacterstop has anti-bacterial properties that kill 99.9% of bacteria that comes into contact with the film. Designed for medical, food-service and personal-care applications, the anti-bacterial film is formulated to work after multiple handlings, for up to 12 months.



Color-changing Ink Effects


Decorative ink effects offer environment-variable presentation options for wine labels and caps. Bichromic ink changes color depending on a consumer’s viewing angle, and thermochromic changes color depending on the package’s temperature; and photochromic inks react to ultraviolet light, such as the sun.



Embedded NFC Paper


Arjowiggins Creative Papers introduces Powercoat Alive. This innovative embedded near-field-communications (NFC) paper can be used to personalize a product and many other possibilities including instant sharing via any of the social media channels.


Environmental-monitoring Labels


Intelligent labels monitor the condition of perishable goods through the supply chain. Available in contact, wireless, and USB versions, labels help determine the quality and safety of food, pharmaceutical, and other environmentally sensitive products and communicate via cellular-based readers to a cloud database.


Thermochromic Plastic


Manufactured in the United States, the PowerCapsules thermochromic plastic technology can be used as hot and cold advisories in packaging components such as soda closures, coffee lids and soup bowls. CTI recently expanded the color-changing inks for PowerCapsules thermochromic plastic technology to include all Pantone colors.


Covert Security Inks


Range of covert security inks for packaging include a taggant solution called Verigard, which offers a lock-and-key approach to securing and authenticating brand packaging. The machine-readable taggants are designed to be used in concert with readers available only from the inks’ manufacturer.


Airless Pump with
Anti-drying Insert


Serumony is engineered to be an airtight, leak-proof dispensing system for serums. Made from transparent co-polyester with an anti-drying inset in the cap, the package has a 15-mL PP barrel that dispenses 70-mcL of formula with one touch and without the product contacting any metal.


Paperboard industry challenges design students to rethink the box

The challenge: Design a limited-edition innovative paperboard toy package that can also be reused as an interactive structure for the toy. The Paperboard Packaging Alliance’s (PPA) 2015 Student Design Challenge (SDC) invites undergraduate students to put their design skills to the test. More than 200 university students have signed up to have their unique designs evaluated by packaging professors, paperboard industry representatives and guest judges from Lego and Hasbro toy companies.

 “Participating in the SDC allowed me to build my portfolio, to present something tangible,” says Lynsie Gibson, whose design won the SDC in 2009. “I don’t know if I would have gotten my first job out of school without it.”

Each year’s challenge mirrors what happens when a paperboard packaging company receives a new project request. Participating student designers take their ideas from concept to product launch. They get to experience packaging testing, develop targeted marketing and glimpse behind the scenes of the paperboard packaging industry.

Over time, the challenges have had a greater focus on sustainability and recyclability to reflect consumers’ increasing preference for these attributes in packaging. “Students who are entering the packaging design field need a multi-faceted background. They have to know the consumer side, the brand side, materials and technology, and they have to understand sustainability,” says Sandra Krasovec, Package Design editorial advisory board member and professor of packaging design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, another long-time participating school. “The SDC exposes them to all of these considerations.”

But students’ entries also reflect emerging trends in the consumer-packaging field. The SDC saw students tie social media into their package designs before it was the norm, and incorporate more interactive and multi-purpose elements into their designs as well. According to SDC judge Patrick Shields, who is director of structural design at RockTenn, “Every entry has a bright spot.”

A recent addition to the SDC is a guest judge from a consumer goods company that is relevant to the challenge scenario and requires packaging for their products. Representatives from top companies, such as Mars and Unilever, participated as guest judges in recent challenges, providing a different dimension to the SDC and an opportunity for students to showcase their skills to people who make final decisions on product packaging.

 “Getting industry recognition is very different from just getting an ‘A’ from your professor,” claims Robin Matusik, who won the 2005 SDC. She is now a package engineer for Hasbro Toys and will guest judge the 2015 SDC entries.

Universities across the U.S. and Canada with packaging design and engineering programs and courses are welcome to take part in the challenge. Participating in the SDC will also make them eligible to receive classroom materials and student scholarships. More information about PPA and the SDC is available at paperboardpackaging.org.

Contest winners of the 2015 SDC will be announced at Pack Expo Las Vegas on September 28, 2015. 



Jazz Covers

Part design history, part trip down musical memory lane, Taschen’s (www.taschen.com) anthology of Jazz album artwork is above all a treasure trove of creative and cultural inspiration. Spanning half a century, it assembles daring and dynamic Jazz album cover designs that helped make and shape not only a musical genre but also a particular way of experiencing life.

From the 1940s through to the decline of LP production in the early 1990s, each chosen cover design is distinct in the way it complements the energy of the album’s music with its own visual rhythms of frame, line, text and form. The book is authored by Joaquim Paulo and Julius Wiedeman. Paulo is a consultant for major record labels. He directs a number of radio stations in Portugal and flies to London, Paris, New York and São Paulo to enrich his collection of over 25,000 LPs. Wiedeman was an art editor for digital and design magazines in Tokyo.



Debate & Discuss: Building, Supporting and Managing Creative Teams

In the July issue, Package Design begins an exploration on how businesses can create environments that encourage and foster sustainable creativity and innovation that positively impacts the bottom line. Read the next installment of this Debate & Discuss topic focus in the August issue, where we interview Victor Ermoli, dean of the School of Design at Savannah College of Art and Design.


Mina Patel

Associate director, human resources, IA Collaborative


How do you make space for creative rhythm in a high-cadence business environment? 

You build creative rhythm into your culture and brand. At IA, we are a culture of critique where not one individual is responsible for design, where multi-disciplinary project teams work in unity with clients towards a common goal and purpose, and where we all believe in the “why” that has been instilled in us by our Founders. As a community, we work in collaboration and play for discovery. Ideas can come from anywhere or anyone. Creativity is not only encouraged it is desired. Each week, we hold an organization-wide meeting. This is a platform for individuals to share out inspirational designs found in the world, best practices and/or tools that can be leveraged by others, and it also serves as a forum for teams to share out in progress work. In this meeting, individuals and teams gain builds and recommendations, which ultimately raise the bar around our thinking and the overall design that we put forth into the world.


How can design and marketing leaders prevent employee burnout?

Start with wellness. Create an atmosphere focused around health and wellbeing for your staff. Offer benefits that support healthy life choices and connectedness within your team such as allowances for sanctioned race participation/sports league and reimbursement programs for gym enrollment.

Create a healthy and effective work environment for your team. Our space is fluid and caters to the many modes of work that occur in a day. There are project rooms for team collaboration, work stations for independent work, environments for play, a shop for our creative makers and a communal dining area for all to come together. The space itself is quite serene with white walls and high ceilings, clear glass rooms, an abundance of light peering through a 60 ft. skylight, terrariums, long views which support healthy vision and fresh fruit for all. The space was designed with the intent to have people feel healthier leaving the space than when they came in. Ask yourself if there are ways you can adopt these design tenants within your existing work space.

Switch it up. If an employee is feeling like they have been working on too much of the same, proactively provide opportunities for them to work on a side project that is driven by their passions. Questions to ask yourself include: Are there ways to think differently about the activities/tasks/deliverables associated with the project? Could you explore different ways to concept solutions with clients or try out a new research method in the field? And could your employee spearhead this initiative?

Be a culture of celebration! At IA, we seek out moments/opportunities to applaud our people and publically acknowledge their achievements via email, announcements, team dinners, excursions/fieldtrips, additional paid time off, etc. Here is a list of potential things to celebrate: the successful delivery of key milestones and projects, commemorating employee anniversaries and individual accolades such as completing an MBA, life changes such as buying your first home or starting a family.


How can business leaders help employees suffering from burnout?

Encourage reflection. Ask your employees to take an introspective look at their burnout experience. What were the factors that caused or fueled the burnout? Empower the individual to identify one potential solution for each factor. Meet with the employee and collectively determine how to take action based on the recommendations/solutions provided. Determine ways to monitor the progress over time.

Communicate. As a leader, it is important to maintain a pulse on your people but equally important to provide employees with opportunities to communicate their needs. With members of my team, I meet with them once a week and ask them the following questions: What brought you the most happiness in your role this week? What made this so memorable? Who contributed to this? Is there anything you are struggling with? If so, how can I help you or what can I do to support your success? Do you have any needs?

Based on your workload for next week, is there anything that feels ambiguous or unclear?

Provide healthy tenants for balance. When recovering from burn out, it is imperative that individuals maintain positive routines such as eating well, consistent exercise, sleep, established schedules for breaks throughout a day, working norms with project teams, and dedicated personal time meant for individual interests or refueling tactics.

The next installment of this Debate & Discuss topic focus on sustainable work environments for creatives will be published in the Front Panel section of our August issue. Be sure not to miss our interview with the thought-provoking and insightful Victor Ermoli, dean of the School of Design at Savannah College of Art and Design. If you would like to participate in future editions of Debate & Discuss, please email
Linda.Casey@stmediagroup.com with the words “Debate & Discuss participant application” in the subject line.