headline press information

Date 2nd April 2013 / www.procarton.com
Title Structures that pay dividends
Text Structural design is not only useful for the presentation of premium products. It can improve both the usability of the packaging as well as its sustainability. ”Consumers are grateful when they see that someone has taken their needs seriously“, says Olaf Barski of Barski Design. Pro Carton interviewed him. For download in print quality, please click on the photo.

Where is your focus in terms of packaging design?
In principle we are product designers. We are interested in three-dimensional things, that is where we are at home. Our main focus is on consumers, we are interested in what a product or a packaging can do for the customer. At the same time we try to ensure that the technical production of complex packaging stays as simple as possible.


Our top priority is usability, which is becoming more important than ever. Consumers are getting older and more demanding. Our solutions need to provide an enthusiastic response at first sight, ideally so that one can immediately recognise their use for other purposes as well. But above all, the user should immediately and intuitively recognise how the packaging works and how to handle it. Of course branding is important, but we believe that the brand really comes into its own if the packaging works well.


In other words, you offer your customers solid advice?
Yes, our customers often come to us with a task and simply say: “Do something with it.” For example, a pharmaceutical product needs to be protected against leaking in the refrigerator and still look attractive. We then tinker around for quite a while till we find the right solution. But later this pays handsome dividends in terms of sales.


Or take our solution for the anti-wrinkle serum by Viscontour. Underneath the blue lid of the carton there is a small stage for the products which are tightly packed. That means that women with long fingernails can still remove the product easily as the rows are at different heights. This packaging is used daily and advertises the product for a whole month in the bath room.


So ease-of-use and perfect presentation go hand in hand.
Exactly. Of course, this depends entirely on the product. Our solution for the Fürstenberg Collection protects the porcelain with a simple outer carton, the inside offers a representative solution which looks good, both in the shop window or under the Christmas tree. With two flanking panels which endow the twin set with stability and allow room for graphic design.


But there is also another side to this topic: the shelf heights in stores which often differ considerably. It is amazing that even large companies sometimes do not know how their packaging can be arranged on the shelf. We have often conducted extensive research on how to use the different shelf heights optimally while at the same time presenting the products of our customers in an attractive manner. That, too, pays dividends.


And how about sustainability?
It’s quite simple really: that is the future. We believe that only those companies with 100 % transparency in sustainable behaviour will be successful in the long-term. This is why we have great sympathy for cartonboard. To start with, it is delivered flat, which is a major benefit in terms of logistics. Secondly, it is easy to dispose of and can be recycled completely. And the options of exterior packaging design of cartonboard, looked at from the silhouette angle, are by far not exhausted.


Structural design can add to sustainability in three major areas: cost-effectiveness, multi-functionality and as a substitute for other packaging materials. Cost-effectiveness is self-explanatory: we are talking economies in materials. As we think in structural terms, we can always include production in our thinking and know exactly where less material fully meets the same needs. We love discovering the limits of doability.


Multi-functionality means solving as many tasks as possible with a single solution. For example, we designed a carton for Villeroy & Boch which fits ten different tea pots. If the marketing departments in large companies worked together one could even design one packaging system for the various products. At present we often see different products from the same company in slightly varied packaging – with intelligent design one could reduce the effort required considerably. Using a single punch mould we could produce the packaging for three or four different products just by folding the cartonboard differently.


The role of cartonboard as a substitute for other packaging materials is another exciting field for the future: it is increasingly becoming a sign of poor taste if the consumer opens a carton only to find it filled with styrofoam inserts. With conceptual ideas we can substitute this use with cartonboard. And the consumer immediately knows: I can dispose of this packaging easily while at the same time doing something positive for the environment without having to think twice about it. And that is something consumers appreciate.



Villeroy & Boch
Villeroy & Boch.






Suzanne McEwen +43 1 218 6918 mcewen@procarton.com
Background Pro Carton is the European Association of Carton and Cartonboard manufacturers. Its main purpose is to promote the use of cartons and cartonboard to brand owners, the trade as well as designers, the media and politicians as an economically and ecologically balanced packaging medium.