Prototype cartons made for Iggesund Paperboard.
That final touch
For its new campaign aimed at the premium packaging industry, Iggesund turned to famed designer Uwe Melichar to make its message tangible.
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The packaging might be the last step of a product launch but it will be the customer’s first experience of your product – and thereby your best shot at awakening the right emotions in him or her. With its campaign “Your final touch is someone’s first ”Iggesund confirms the old saying that first impressions last. The campaign highlights the fact that Iggesund enables and enhances prestigious brand experiences, and was aptly rolled out at Luxe Pack in Monaco in October 2017. The campaign
will last at least throughout this year. On board for the ride is Uwe Melichar, a packaging expert and designer at the German branding agency FACTOR.
The agency has been developing,renewing and maintaining brands since 1993 and its client list includes Adidas and Disney. Melichar and his Hamburg-based team have created three innovative prototype cartons for Iggesund using Invercote to showcase the countless possibilities of working with paperboard.
“It was an honour for us to be asked to do this project,” he explains.
“I’ve been working with Invercote for many years and it was fantastic to get such an open brief: Please surprise us with three prototype packaging designs that are in line with the campaign’s three ‘proof points’: the right white, superior durability and designer freedom. It was a great opportunity for us to show what we can do.”
What did the design process look like?
“The schedule was tight. My young and hungry team and I met up, played around and started bending paperboard. There really is a freedom for the designer when working with Invercote. It allows a lot, it doesn’t break in the corners, and the surface is great. The inspiration for this project came mainly from architecture but also from fashion and furniture design. I’m proud of the result and the work we’ve done.”
The FACTOR head office in Hamburg.
Tell me about Factor – what do you do?
“We’re a branding agency based in Hamburg and Vienna. We were founded in 1993 and work with brand strategy all the way to the final product, be it digital or analogue. I am a graphic designer responsible for the packaging part of the business. I’ve been working with packaging for a while now and I love it.”
What’s so fun about it?
“Its 3D aspect has always fascinated me. And the fact that packaging is such a broad field. When I started university I wasn’t sure whether to study product or graphic design. I realised that packaging is somewhere in between. The structural aspect is very interesting. I love the challenge of coming up with something that both provides protection for the product and gives the end customer a delightful unboxing experience. It has a certain dramaturgy to it. We are focused on non-food packaging so I tell people that I’m working with ‘all you can’t eat’. Packaging is also a very important part of the branding eco-system.”
“Oh, so many things have changed. Things we never would have dreamed about just ten years ago are now possible."
— Uwe Melichar
Is it more important now with the advent of e-commerce?
“Oh yes! There are new ways of thinking. A packaging for e-commerce might not have the same demands as one that sits on a shelf. In a physical store you need a packaging with up to 20 languages – which makes life hard for me as a designer. With e-commerce you can avoid this because you know who your buyer is. The needs are definitely different.”
But we are seeing some interesting innovations in the brick and mortar stores as well.
“For sure. Just a couple of months ago I invited some of our clients on a trip to London in collaboration with a local trend scout. We drove around town in a minivan stopping at a total of 15 stores and got to see some very interesting retail concepts.”
What inspired you the most?
“We saw examples of some pretty groundbreaking ways of using modern technology to meet modern customers’ demands and expectations. There is one really cool store called Pro:Direct in Soho. They sell soccer equipment and are fully digital. They can change the entire space from feeling like a Puma store to an Adidas store literally overnight. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. We also made an inspiring stop at the Jo Malone store where digital is being used in a smart way. When the customer picks up a fragrance from the shelf, the ingredients are seamlessly displayed on a big screen behind the desk. And the Tommy Hilfiger flagship store has smart RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tagging. They’ve equipped all their packaging with tags – if you hold it in front of a digital mirror it says what colours and sizes it comes in. Very smart and convenient.”
Design of Beiersdorf booklet.
What are the biggest differences in the packaging industry if you compare 2018 with when you first started?
“Oh, so many things have changed. Things we never would have dreamed about just ten years ago are now possible.
The technical possibilities seem to be endless. Of course, with digital printing
we can do smaller quantities and personalised packaging.
But there are also things like OLEDs (Organic Light-Emitting Diode), data chips and even printed electronics incorporated in the packaging,which makes the experience so much more interactive. Another big difference between then and now is that branding plays a far greater role than before. People need orientation today, and strong brands help.”
What do you think will be the biggest challenge for the packaging industry in the years ahead?
“That’s an interesting question. What I think will be the dominating issue is sustainability. Everyone knows we need to replace plastic with more sustainable materials and this means that a great number of companies must change their policies. Smarter choices of substrates will help the environment and save costs.”
Packaging for OMRON blood pressure monitors.
Turn-around-package invented by FACTOR.
Isn’t there a contradiction between all this focus on technological innovations on the one hand and the focus on sustainability on the other?
“If companies hire good designers, there is no contradiction between the two. We need designers who are prepared to go deeper into all the steps of the process. It needs to be a close dialogue with the client to truly understand all their challenges. My deep belief is that there needs to be a good conversation with all stakeholders in the packaging process: buying, sales, logistics and marketing have to be involved. And we must look at things through the eyes of the end consumer – that should determine what happens at the point of sale. We can transform this knowledge into something viable for the future.”
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