„PACKAGES THAT ARE DESIGNED FOR A SOLELY ON-SHELF EXPERIENCE ARE MISSING A HUGE OPPORTUNITY TO DELIGHT THE CONSUMER”
Photo: Andrew Gibbs, Copyright: The Dieline
Interview with Andrew Gibbs
The Dieline revolves around packaging design and is the world’s most read website on this topic. With showcasing different designs, the editors aim to highlight the high value a well-designed packaging offers for brands and products. The articles illustrate how packaging can contribute to a product’s success and should serve as a source of inspiration for designers. Since The Dieline’s foundation in 2007 the internet, social media in particular, have become increasingly important. This trend has also affected the development of packaging with many people sharing DIY and upcycling projects and their unboxing experience on blogs, Instagram, and YouTube.
Throughout his career, The Dieline Founder, CEO and Editor-In-Chief Andrew Gibbs had the opportunity to follow these developments and to monitor how they influence the packaging industry, for instance, with new designs. Holding a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, he calls the packaging industry home and has already designed products and packaging for retailers and brands including Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Jelly Belly. Based on these industry insights, Gibbs answered some questions on upcycling and unboxing.
1. Currently, upcycling is a huge trend. Among the reasons for this development is the rising awareness for environmental issues on the side of consumers and companies alike. Why does this way of sustainability resonate so well? How far does it differ from using natural materials, for instance?
Upcycling is a trend that shows no sign of slowing. Consumers are becoming acutely aware of the impact they are creating with the products they consume. It resonates well with consumers because it allows them to actively participate directly in the eco lifecycle of packaging. It also adds value to the product they purchased. When they use all the contents, they still have a tangible and hopefully useful secondary package that they can give a second life. Upcycled packaging can be made out of any type of material.
2. Upcycling often means manual work. Do you think that it has potential to be used at a larger scale, for instance, as packaging for a whole product line?
I think the upcycling trend is the first start of a new wave of packaging that encourages a second use. In the future, I believe, we will see more and more packages that are designed from the get-go to be upcycled and given a second life.
From recycling to upcycling: when screw caps become text markers. Photo: ALBA Group
3. When it comes to unboxing: What does this mean, since when does this phenomenon exist and what impact does it have on new packaging designs?
The unboxing phenomenon exists because more and more consumer products are being purchased online. In the past, the first moment of truth had been when a shopper was standing in front of a package on a retail shelf, saw it firsthand, and decided to purchase it. Now, with so many products being purchased online, the first moment of truth is often with the consumers receiving the product in their home, after they have already purchased it.
This change has fueled a new trend of packaging not being designed for the retail shelf, but being designed for an intimate, in-home experience. Package designers have used this as an opportunity to not only create a great in-home unboxing experience for the consumer, but something that is shareable on social media, which becomes essentially an advertisement for the product.
4. What makes unboxing so fascinating? Is it the product within the packaging or the unwrapping experience?
It is the delicate combination of both the product itself, and the meticulous way it is packaged and designed to unfold in front of you.
5. How should companies, brands and packaging designers adapt to this trend? What can they learn and how should they design packages in the future to stand out when their products are unboxed?
As more and more consumer products are purchased online, packaging designers need to stop thinking that consumers are seeing their products on the shelf. More often than not, they are being bought online. Packages that are designed for a solely on-shelf experience are missing a huge opportunity to delight the consumer.