Packaging Design and Communication – Week One

History of Packaging Design

Perception of freshness

Glass VS plastic in relation to the perception of freshness. Particularly in regard to the Moccona VS Nescafe brand identity and marketing. Glass is more expensive than plastic to make; the plastic lids Nescafe use are also more airtight thus leaving their product ‘fresher’ for longer. But glass has a perception of prestige and heritage to it, in Moccona’s case. So, although their packaging is more expensive to make, they gain customers due to their product looking more exclusive and luxurious.

Brief History of Packaging

  • Packaging started with food and water, specifically how to transport such goods.
  • The first packaging was gourds, leaves and logs. Ancient Egyptians invented glass water pots.
  • Ancient China invented Paper making – which is the first flexible packaging.
  • Canned food originated from when Napoleon needed preserved food for his soldiers.
  • The paper bag machine was invented in 1844 by Francis Wolle.
  • NABISCO used the first folded carton.
  • The Kellogg brothers popularised cereal in cardboard boxes.
  • Clarence Birdseye invented frozen food packaging after learning techniques from Inuit and Yupik people.
  • Tin cans in 1935 needed an opener, hence in 1959 the aluminium can with a pop tab was invented.
  • In 1946 the first plastic bottle was invented – as it is strong and recyclable.
  • By 20th Century packaging is an important branding and design element.
  • In 1860/s brands started using multi-use packaging, e.g. a tobacco tin/picnic basket.
  • Smith brothers cough drops added branding on their packaging in 1866.
  • Before the 1890’s, brands had regional presence, but then Uneeda Biscuits promoted their products nationally.
  • Coca-Cola created their distinct bottle shape so customers could identify them in amongst the copycats.
  • In 1946, P&G launched the Tide brand with bright colours.
  • In the 1940s, flexographic printing gave brand designers the means to create bold designs.
  • Campbell’s soup packaging designs inspired painter Andy Warhol in 1962. Walmart and Costco launched ‘premium’ private brands in the 90s.
  • In the 1990s, Nutrition Facts appeared on packaging. In 2010 the barcode was influence by the Digimarc Barcode.
  • Today – packaging is embracing innovation.
  • Too much packaging is not sustainable, which is why its important to design packaging which is recyclable.
  • Mislabelled food can harm customers – serialization gives each product a ID code.
  • New packaging helps brands extend shelf-life.
  • Pouches are popular modern packaging – as they are lightweight and recyclable.
  • Retailers expect shelf-ready packaging.
  • AR (Augmented Reality) can be used as a new tool for engagement. IOT (Internet-of-Things) include smart packaging.
  • Plant Biomass packaging (e.g. corn) can limit use of plastic for packaging.
  • Future of packaging includes a mix of math and science – e.g. Signal Rich art

What is packaging?

In its most basic explanation, packaging is a plastic/tin/paper/cardboard/bioplastic/bamboo covering, originally for food and water. But it has developed for other products, and now is used for a significant percentage of products (e.g. technology, cosmetics, accessories, kitchenware).

Why do we need packaging/ What is the purpose of packaging design?

We need packaging as consumers; to prolong shelf life and product longevity, and to protect valuable/breakable products (especially in a modern age, where products travel globally). We need packaging as designers/engineers; to use attractive brand design to attract consumers and to add to the brand identity.

Packaging Design Process for Chocolate Product

When designing chocolate packaging it’s important to keep some elements in mind, such as; FDA regulations, shelf presence, design attractiveness, brand identity, and preserving the contents. When working through the design process you need to; learn everything about the product/consumer base/client brief/packaging options, and then work all the information into your design ideas.

Packaging Analysis

Geforce RTX 2080 by EVGA (Tutorial exercise)


  • Strong brand presence and shelf presence – bold colour scheme and typography.
  • Expensive packaging to make – due to the matte and glossy finish, rounded edges, and cut outs on the top right corner and the middle opening of the box.
  • It is targeting a niche target market – with the information provided mainly discussing technical specifications. (As it’s a graphic card for a computer, which is normally used by those who custom build their computer, the customer looking for this product would know what to look for).
  • It is an ‘experience’ to open, like the iPhone, the box slides open from the top.


  • Not sustainable, non-recyclable foam and plastic wrap.
  • A lot of packaging for a graphics card, which although protects the expensive product, is also wasteful (again in terms of sustainability).
  • A lot of different colours used (blue, pink, purple, green, black and white.)


  • No reinforcement to protect the breakable product.
  • Small and compact packaging – not a lot of shelf presence, it also looks inexpensive.
  • Although eyepopping, the colours are confusing and the typography doesn’t stand out.

Mr Fotergills Flower Power Van (Tutorial exercise):


  • Cardboard Packaging with no plastic wrap – Recyclable and sustainable.
  • Bright, eye popping colours – which draw’s in the customers eye; it is also attractive for children, who are the target market.
  • Easy to understand instructions, with simple steps on the back, more steps inside the packaging, and a comprehensive leaflet inside the product. Easy to make with children (under supervision) as an activity.
  • Typography matches the theme of ‘flower power’, reminiscent to the hippy era.

Naturally ‘Nexba’ sugar free – Raspberry sparkling infusion (extended):


  • Bright, warm colour scheme, which is eye catching on the shelf. The raspberry illustrations and the dark blue lines draw the eye to the brand name.
  • Contrasting and bold text, the typography is stylised; which gives the product more individuality and matches the brand identity (which is a natural, healthy and local product).
  • Custom made bottle, it is an interesting height and has a rippled texture with the brand name popping at the top of the bottle.


  • Limited shelf presence, the bottles were higher up on the shelf and only took up a small space (Three bottles across).
  • The bottle height makes the product unstable and at risk to topple down

One thing you liked about today’s lesson:

The importance of sustainable packaging. Packaging is so mainstream, with a huge percentage of it contributing to the waste problem, that recyclable packaging is vital to this earth’s future.

One new thing you learned:

The difference between using glass and plastic with milk products; although glass is more inexpensive to make (if you already have the set up), customers perceive it as more expensive and prestigious.  

One thing you’re looking forward:

Looking at different brand packaging and understanding how they are made; particularly the balance between marketing, engineering and design aspects.


The History of Packaging. (2019). Retrieved 13 August 2019, from

Reid, A. (2018). Packing it up: 5 companies championing sustainable packaging – AWRE. Retrieved 13 August 2019, from

Home | Snact. Retrieved 13 August 2019, from

Moccona. Retrieved 13 August 2019, from

NESCAFÉ BLEND 43 Jar 150g x 12. Retrieved 13 August 2019, from

EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 XC ULTRA GAMING, 08G-P4-2183-KR, 8GB GDDR6, Dual HDB Fans, RGB LED, Metal Backplate. Retrieved 13 August 2019, from

Mr Fothergills Flower Power Van Seed Kit – Green. Retrieved 13 August 2019, from

Nexba Naturally Sugar Free Raspberry 1L PET (12 Pack). Retrieved 13 August 2019, from

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