blog    Plastic Ingenuity July 2013 Archive

Packaging in the News: A Lesson from a Can of Spam

Posted by rhelmke on Design | Tuesday, July 30th, 2013 | 0 comments

Even if you’ve never tried it, almost everyone is familiar with Spam—that stalwart icon of the grocery store’s canned meat section. In 1937, Spam was introduced in its highly recognizable pop-top can, and for 75 years, very little changed—until now. For the first time in its long history, Spam is significantly experimenting with its product packaging. More specifically, it’s introducing plastic packaging alongside its classic metal containers. What does it mean? What can packaging companies learn from it? The experts at PI wanted to take a closer look. An Eco-Friendly Switch Hormel Foods, the owners of the Spam brand, give their focus on environmental friendliness some of the credit for their recent switch[1]. The company notes that the plastic packaging tub creates less waste than the classic metal can, and not just in manufacturing. These tubs tap into the growing consumer priority of easily saving leftovers—they come with a resealable lid that keeps the product fresh. The other changes to the product packaging, however, are much more telling—and provide packaging companies with a valuable lesson. A Mix of Old and...

Packaging in the News: Recycling Code Arrows to be Phased Out

Posted by rhelmke on Environment | Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 | 0 comments

  ASTM International recently announced that it’s making a change that is both negligibly small and unavoidably huge—a change that could affect literally every plastic manufacturer.  The standards organization has decided to eliminate the three-arrow triangle symbol currently used for the Resin Identification Code (RIC), changing it into a simple, solid triangle. Though the rollout for this new standard promises to be gradual, eventually, all plastic packaging will have to implement the new design. What does it mean for the future of manufacturing? Will the three arrows disappear forever? As we at PI know, a change this big is rarely that simple. Eliminating Confusion… The RIC, which appears on all plastic packaging designs, typically includes a number 1-7 enclosed by the three-arrow triangle. This indicates the type of resin used in the packaging design, which determines processing and potentially recycling. The ASTM determined, however, that the three arrows sign—a symbol commonly associated with recyclability—sends the wrong message. Replacing it with a solid triangle, they say, will eliminate any possible confusion and make it clear that the RIC is strictly for...

Packaging in the News: How Well Do You Know Your Audience?

Posted by rhelmke on Design | Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 | 1 comments

The packaging design experts here at PI like to stay tuned-in to what’s new in the world of product packaging, so this month we’re focusing on the latest and biggest news. We’re going to look at the latest trends in the industry, the plastic packaging shakeups and the consumer research that’s setting the tone for product packaging designers everywhere. That said, our first entry is focusing on a question that packaging design professionals ask themselves and each other all the time: What do you know about your audience? The Millennial Question From market research focus groups to the cover of Time magazine, millennials are the demographic on every marketer’s mind. This generation of approximately 80 million young people now occupies the ever-critical age range between 18 and 35 years old, making them a popular topic of conversation for marketers and designers alike. Product packaging designers are as focused on millennial values as anyone, and it shows in the way that they analyze the group. Research shows that millennials care about value more than brands, they prefer experiential and exciting products...

Consumer Trends Part Five: Renewed Focus on Shelf Appeal

Posted by rhelmke on Custom Packaging | Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 | 0 comments

As we wrap up our consumer trends series, we want to focus on something that affects every single business manufacturing retail products: Shelf appeal. Shelf appeal, of course, is the ability for the product packaging to entice the consumer—and in recent years, engineering it has become more complicated. Because we work with so many different industries at PI, we see the increasing need for better shelf appeal all the time. The retail market is more crowded than ever, and businesses are fighting for shelf space—creating a highly compelling design is more important than ever for a packaging company. What priorities do the manufacturers in our industry have to maintain, then, to stay competitive? Display Versatility Because retail spaces are increasingly crowded, product packaging should be as versatile as possible. For example, one feature regularly requested at PI is for the packaging to be able to stand up or hang on a peg. By offering those options to the retailer, you make your product more versatile and visible on displays of varying types and sizes. Similarly, the packaging company has to...

Consumer Trends Part Four: Unique Visual Designs

Posted by rhelmke on Custom Packaging | Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 | 0 comments

There is a time and a place for using stock packaging, but as more businesses are discovering, it’s hard to beat a signature design. This isn’t necessarily a new revelation—companies like Coca-Cola have capitalized on their distinctly-shaped packaging for decades. As markets become more competitive and companies work harder to build brand recognition in their advertising, though, custom packaging solutions are in increasingly high demand. Brand recognition is a highly visual experience, dependent on colors, shapes, logos and packaging as much as (or more than) written words, and packaging companies are starting to realize the value of a signature design. Shaping a Brand At PI, we’ve always focused on crafting practical, cost-effective packaging with a distinct visual flair for every client. By giving packaging solutions unique sizes and shapes, packaging companies are able to help create and reinforce a brand. For example, at PI, we’ve created packaging for companies inspired directly by the target audience, the brand name and the tone of the marketing. By focusing on these messaging-related priorities, and not strictly the practicality of the design, packaging companies...