Friday, April 16, 2010

Packaging Woes

WE LOVE PACKAGING!! What designer doesn't love packaging? We love looking at it, inspecting it, thinking about it, and creating it. I can spend all day looking at creative, well designed packaging. and are fun places to spend a little time looking around at packaging.

So why is this post called 'Packaging Woes'?
Well - again have a look around at the packaging out there. Since I am always on the search for great packaging I see A LOT of really poorly designed packaging. And I am not just talking about bad to look at. The thing that brings me to my knees and makes me cry is the prolific amount of over-packaging combined with the use of materials that are environmentally devastating. ACK! It is everywhere. A trip to the toy isle in Target yesterday almost did me in and is what motivated this post.

What can we do?
As designers, we can take a close look at each package we design. How it is designed, what materials will be used and where it will need to be produced. The number 1 rule: Less is more! Designers shouldn't get overwhelmed to the point that they give up. Instead take baby steps. Just changing one thing about a package can have a huge impact! Take some time to do a little research and you might be surprised. Continue to do research since this is an area that is quickly changing and evolving. Here are a few places to get started:
Sustainable Packaging design: don't miss the links down the right! Great stuff to look at as well.
Sustainable Packaging Coalition
Greener Package
three trees don't make a forest: green design not packaging specific

As consumers, we can think before buying.
Is it something that you could buy used?
Is it something that is made locally? regionally? in the US?
How is it packaged and is there an equal alternative with less packaging? Or no packaging?
Buy bulk if it is available.
Buy a stainless steel water bottle and refill it instead of buying tiny plastic bottles of water!!!!!!
Once you have the product out of the package make sure to recycle all of the packaging you can, or reuse it.

The bottom line is that each of us can do a little something to make a difference.

Stepping down from my soapbox now :)