The world is full of new packaging ideas. Most designers and many a design student are challenging their craftsmanship and creativity by designing additions to existing packaging formats to improve its convenience for the consumer or creating alternatives with typical beneficial features in relation to the environment.
Most innovations I describe here are concepts. As I said before not all of them enter the market. Nevertheless the idea might be of interest and might start a discussion in companies whether to exploit it. As with so many new ideas no material and design specifications are detailed. Design concepts often lack detailed information. The creativity of the designer stops with the visual image. One is more eco-friendly than the other. But all of course have a hint of ‘greenness’.
It is an all out trip through Asia.
Please don’t bypass the copyrights of the designers. I included (as far I was able to trace them) the contact websites of the designers involved and expect from my readers a fair play.
There is a nice and informative German website of iF Design, an institute which stimulates design in general all over the world. It is worth a visit and some of the designs mentioned are taken from their website “iF concept awards 2011”.
A collapsible noodle packaging
Instant noodles and pastas are popular on-the-go products. However they are either packed in the traditional cup or bowl, taking up a lot of space in cupboards or in bags or are packed in plastic wraps taking less space in a purse but missing a cup to eat from.
The new container, baptized Accordion Noodle Package, for instant noodles, designed by the South Koreans Liu Yi, Jiang Yuning & Luo Jing, comes compressed into a small size with the dry noodles in it, while the consumer can stretch the accordion into a bigger cup to allow to add hot water and consume.
The accordion-like surface is said to decrease the contact points with the hands to prevent burning. After the noodles are eaten, the cup can be compressed to save space in the trash.
The folding accordion-like structure makes it easier to store and carry in a jacket pocket or purse, and, as the package has a smaller volume when it leaves the manufacturer’s place, it cuts down the cost of bulk transportation.
Foldable instant coffee pack
In some markets, instant coffee is rated higher than conventional ground coffee. And even if it is seen as a cheap surrogate for ground coffee, it is convenient when you crave for a dose of caffeine. Generally the instant coffee comes in sachets, leaving the consumer to find a cup and hot water.
The Coffree is a foldable disposable cup that comes sealed with the instant coffee mix. The consumer simply tears off the seal, to form a tall, squared, paper cup, mixes in hot water and his cup of coffee is ready. Even a stirring stick derived from the seal comes with the pack.
The Coffree packaging is designed by South Koreans Young-an Seok, Young-woo Choi and Se-ryung Nam. It is essentially a sachet of instant coffee, which easily can be toted within a pocket or a purse.
Of course the designers intended to develop a neatly packaged solution made from eco-friendly material. And it can easily be seen to be made in bio-degradable material such as paper (board).
Bloom Chips Package
Potato chips and the like come mainly in flexible bags, leaving the consumer often with the crumbs. The more high-end chips come in a paperboard cylinder which better protects the integrity of the chips, but leaving the consumer to the fight to get his fingers into the tube to get one chips out. Neither one is satisfying.
We have to go to South Korea (again) to come up with a simple, but brilliant solution. The designers Seok woo Kim, Dong han Seo, Do hyuk Kwon, Bum ho Lee, students at the Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea came up with this idea.
The new innovation is called “Bloom Chips”, as the package is blooming like a flower, the moment the consumer opens the cylinder and folds out the sides like a blossom into a bowl-like shape.
While many a chips maker is anxious to enter the biodegradable pouch market, it should be better to invest in a bit more creativity. Simply made from paperboard or an eco-friendly plastic, it is an improvement of the existing chips packaging (and certainly noiseless), more compact and with a better protection.
Bowls made from palm leaves
Although marketed by Dutch packaging manufacturer Van der Windt Verpakking, this new product made from palm leaves, and presented at the recent Fruit Logistica in Berlin/Germany, is originally from and still made in India.
The palm leaf product is 100% natural. It is made in India entirely out of palm leaves, which are dried first and then moistened and finally formed. During the production process no glue or anything similar is used.
On the market of disposables various natural alternatives are on offer, such as PLA-products, which are said to be bio-degradable. But this bowl is something completely different; a palm leaf variety. While disposables are manufactured by the thousands, the palm leaf bowl is made one by one.
With this product Van der Windt Verpakking wants to distinguish itself, which they will do anyway as the price is a little higher than the ‘traditional disposables.
Tofu packed in a balloon
I took this one from the website of Pingmag, where Bianca Beuttel wrote: “Japanese packaging design is famous for being elaborate and rich with splendour. Going eco has become the recent buzz word and companies are using this oh-so-trendy eco-friendliness as a competitive advantage”. Sounds familiar to the rest of the world.
One of these exceptional and typical Japanese packages is the Tofu packed in balloons, marketing by the Japanese company Kamakura Komachi. It is a great example of reducing packaging material. Its elastic material is extensively stretched, and when pierced with a chopstick (toothpick), the balloon bursts and only a tiny bit remains.
The same packaging concept is also applied to a so called bocca white pudding – to be seen here packed with 4 balloons in a plastic tube.
One blogger wrote: “Not only does it seem material efficient, but also easy to open since you only have to prick it to have the material shrink away and leave a perfectly round ball. I wouldn’t mind seeing Mozzarella and other similar European cheeses packaged like this either”.
A water balloon as beverage packaging
Although currently studying at Lund University, school of industrial design in Sweden, Moe Takemura, is originally a designer from Japan. And that shows in this packaging innovation.
This is a design proposal for Japanese traditional craft which is now, even in Japan, on the way to extinction. In consumer interviews, the complain that a beverage bottle or can occupies a large space in a bag or purse, is often heard, particularly when the consumer doesn’t want to pollute by throwing the packaging away. Takemura decided to make a foldable cup, using traditional Japanese material and craft.
The project won an iF concept award 2011.
The Carry Cup, as it is called, is a portable cup that is similar to a water balloon. When you pour a drink in, the cup expands, and as you drink it up, the cup contracts again. The cup is designed using the traditional Japanese bamboo technique for Matcha whisks, known as chasen in the Japanese tea ceremonies. Chasen are handcrafted from one piece of bamboo, usually 2cm-2.5cm thick and 9cm-12cm long. Is the original Chasen handcrafted from one piece, this Carry Cup has three parts: a bamboo frame, a paper container and a plastic cap. The bamboo frame and the paper container support each other and make the cup stronger. The cap is attached to the paper container and can be replaced easily.
The Carry Cup is a perfect solution for a (energy) drinks company which wants to stand out from the crowd, and show its eco-friendliness as the packaging is reusable and even expected to be washed and used repeatedly. This is possible thanks to the current manufacturing and material technology of water and wear resistant papers.
Marilyn eye dropping made easy
It hasn’t to be a completely new packaging design. Sometimes a simple modification or addition to an existing packaging format aiming at the convenience or protection of the consumer can bring a company that little extra to guarantee its product is popping into view of the consumer.
As it is often difficult to be accurate and children don’t like to have the eye drop tip so close to their eye, Titus Shu, Zhiqin Lin, Jie Qian, Liming Yang, students at the Shanghai Institute of Visual Art, an independent subsidiary of Fudan University in Shanghai, China, designed a simple solution to help people who have difficulty in administering eye drops. It can be a simple addition to an existing bottle, just an extra service to the consumer.
Marilyn, as it is baptized, has a silicon layer that wraps around the bottle. When flipped upwards, it becomes a cup you can rest comfortably over your eye to achieve greater accuracy in application. The silicon cup also keeps the eye drop tip well away from the eye surface, which can reduce the risks of injury.
This was Asia in a rush. There is more to come.