As a creative director and designer with many years of experience in the creative industry, how has the role of packaging and packaging design evolved?
Package design as a classic protective wrapping or embellishment of the product was yesterday. What counts today is a great knowledge of materials as well as what impact the design will have on the customer. Circular design is certainly an essential factor for the future. Today’s state-of-the-art technologies, together with innovative material inventions such as sugar cane, natural sponges, recycled environmental products (e.g. fishing nets), mark the beginning of a new environmental awareness in the packaging industry. With continuous collaboration between producers, designers and customers, this leads to an improvement for the environment with cost savings and acceptance. After product content, package design is the biggest factor in determining whether the product sells and is accepted. It has to sell on its own from the shelf, even before the advertising that promotes and publicises it.
How did you get into teaching at the “Graphische” in Vienna?
One day, in the mid-1980s, the doorbell rang at my agency and one of my favourite professors at the Graphische, Hans Hoffmann, asked me if I would be interested in teaching at the Graphische. Why me? His answer: We need people like you who are successful in the industry, with a spirit of innovation, who are in daily contact with the business world and win creative awards. It took about three years until he convinced me to do it. Today, I enjoy being in constant contact with young people.
What motivates you to teach packaging design and what are the challenges of design education?
For me, teaching package design means teaching students that they have an important function and activity to do something good and right for society and the environment. In the coming years, package design will be an important cornerstone in how we use our planet’s resources properly. Just as digitalisation is taken for granted today, package design will take a fixed place as a problem solver. Good package design must stand out from the crowd through its form, material, appearance and concept, and on top of that it should not be expensive. There have been some nice examples recently where producers and designers have a shared basic belief of how it can be done.