Thursday, March 13, 2008

package design

this semester i am teaching the senior package design for the first time at parsons [the new school]. i taught design process, web process and print process previously, so being asked to teach package design was not just a nice change, but perfect timing personally as i grapple with package design issues daily with nooka. i only have 5 students, which i thought would be a problem, but they're all good students [in previous classes of 15 students, i was lucky if i got 2 students who were mentally present and did the assignments as instructed].

i started with a philosophical approach and the story of pandora's box to get them thinking about how everything is packaged, including our bodies in our skin, the clothes [and cosmetics] we wear, the tubes and ways we buy these things. i want the students to think of the emotional aspect of packaging, especially how one felt as a kid opening a present, and to identify personal experiences of purchasing a product based on the packaging alone [a book cover IS a package which illustrates another class exercise: package AS product]. then i went onto exercises to identify the basic purposes of packaging and the many concerns facing a designer with each:
as protection for the product in transit [from factory, to store, to consumer, to use],
as branding,
as value-add [including 'package as product'].

We also discussed context as a main concern [prada doesn't need elaborate packaging because of the context of both the brand and the selling environment, a new product in a supermarket does], eco-concerns [the greenest package is no package, differences between recyclable and renewable resources etc.], as well as cost concerns and how they affect design [I was shocked that none of my students knew the relationship between oil prices and the cost of plastics!].

another mandatory task for this class is to keep a blog to share information with each other and to collect design reference. and i would like to share some of them here with you.

kevin, nia, elaine, joan.

above image is from a product i bought in japan [but have yet to use] because i liked the package called sylotee & bee polish. It's a tooth polishing system for stains regular brushing won't remove and consist of a silicone eraser and special polish. cute huh? my only criticism is: why isn't he/she smiling? more on the product in japanese here.