Wireframe

Why are package designers rethinking the box?

May 24, 2021

Do you keep your iPhone boxes—or toss them? This simple question sparked a heated debate on Twitter earlier this year that, at its heart, is really about the role that the design of packaging plays in our lives. 

At the same time, online shopping keeps gaining huge momentum, especially during the pandemic. And that’s changing how we interact with the boxes arriving on our doorsteps, and the way packaging designers think about the products we buy. Host Khoi Vinh, and producers Pippa Johnstone and Dominic Girard, take a look at how the design of product packaging is evolving, how designers are thinking about the environmental footprint of their work, and the right answer to the question of whether you should keep—or toss—that iPhone box.

First, actor and writer Bisserat Tseggai tells the story of the unexpected controversy that arose from tweeting that people should throw out their iPhone boxes. Photographer and creative director Sailey Williams heartily disagrees.

Next, Brittney Swindells, design manager of Alfred, explains how creating a cheerful unboxing experience helped their coffee shops pivot to online sales during lockdown, and bring the Alfred experience to customers' doorsteps. 

Stephan Ango, the co-founder of Lumi, explains the differences between designing packaging for a store shelf, and packaging to sell online. You can find Stephan’s podcast, Well Made, here

And Andrew Gibbs, founder and CEO of Dieline, tells the story of his reckoning with the environmental impact of packaging – and what he’s doing about it.

Finally, Ian Montgomery and Marisa Sanchez-Dunning, of packaging design firm Guacamole Airplane, share the story behind their innovative packaging design for Hammerhead’s Karoo 2, and how sustainable design is about more than just the materials.

Find a transcript of this episode here.

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