After all the research I have done, I can safely say that indeed  designers play a vital role in sustainable packaging design because there many things that need to be considered and thought through before making decisions.

That is because every decision no matter how small or big a designer makes, plays a role in deciding the future especially in a sustainable context. Therefore it is vital for designers to not only educate themselves mentally to see things through the customer’s eyes but to execute a good design that is eco-friendly and connects emotionally.

But what is most important is to see, understand and feel what a customer wants in a sustainable packaging rather than from the needs of a company.

A summary of a designer’s role based on my research:

  • materials and source reduction should always be considered (bioplastics or not)
  • minimize and improve space utilization
  • design a packaging whereby it is reusable
  • consideration of Recycled plastic PET
  • biodegradable inks should also be looked into
  • Ryman Eco as a sustainable font
  • importance of application of the Outside-In concept
  • disadvantages of outside-In ideology
  • importance of an emotionally connected design (example: Twister, twist to recycle bottle)

That’s all from me.

Thank you!

Research Part 8 (Emotionally Connected Design)

As we may know, customers are highly sensitive and most of the time emotionally driven by desires and much more. Intelligent packaging designers will grasp this fact and convert them into strategy ideas. As useful as logic might be in a design process but it is emotion that sells a product. Psychological research of consumers has constantly proven that a majority of 85% of consumers purchase on impulse. Designs that convey emotionality through their packaging usually sticks around simplicity and authenticity to really get into the hearts of the customers.  An emotionally connected design gives an edge over the sales compared to one that doesn’t because it becomes and is considered worth the customer’s time and money.

An example of an emotionally connected design:

Twist to recycle is a campaign aimed to encourage people to recycle the bottle after consuming.

  • encourages people to twist the bottle before recycling them
  • uses 30% less plastics
  •  saves the amount of recycling space up to 65%
  • lighter in weight
  • helps to reduce carbon emissions
  • The twisting element in the packaging design also creates fun
  • the sight of the packaging shrinking in size after twisting it brings up the environmental awareness

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Spritzer Group (2012) ‘Drink Spritzer, Twist it and Recycle’, [Video]. Available at: (Accessed: 26 August 2015).

Research Part 10 (Recycled PET Plastic Bottles)

Recycled PET plastic bottles has proved to have its usefulness. 111 Navy chair is the invention by Coca-Cola and Emeco made up by upcycling plastic bottle. Its name was given after the usage of 111 bottles in the production of one chair. It was said that the goal of this was to “to alter consumer behavior by illustrating the value of rPET with beautifully designed and everyday products – ultimately encouraging more recycling.” (Bernick, K.,2010)

  • The chair is made up of a hollow one-piece injection-molding with 60% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic.
  • Glass fiber is used for reinforcement and pigment is added for color.
  • finished in a semi-gloss subtle surface texture that is scratch-resistant and pleasant to the touch.
  • weighs only 13 pounds, the change in material makes the 111 Navy 6 pounds heavier than the original Navy.
  • 111 Navy leg bottoms are detailed with semi-frosted transparent polycarbonate glides that give the chair a floating appearance.
  • incredible structural integrity and is incorporated into the 111 Navy design
  • a 5-year structural guarantee.

Dealing With The Challenges of Upcycling

The partnership meant Emeco had to deal with the challenges of reusing the plastic PET, which are much greater than reusing aluminum. “Ninety-five percent of all aluminum ever refined is still in use,” says Buchbinder. “That is because it’s expensive to refine aluminum and relatively inexpensive to recycle it.” But PET is different. It is relatively simple to use PET to make products like t-shirts and carpeting, but very difficult to upcycle PET into a structural chair.

The process involves much more than simply melting and remolding, as it depends on the final product. So it took years for chemists, along with Emeco’s Product Chief Magnus Breitling and others, to get the right formula for the new material, called rPET.

“We wanted to demonstrate that something made of recycled plastic can be high-quality, long-lasting and desirable”

 Kelli Sogar, Senior Global Licensing Manager at Coca-Cola.

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Bernick, K. (2010) ‘Emeco Unveils Navy Chair Made of 111 Recycled Coke Bottles’ Inhabitat, 13 April [Image]. Available at: (Accessed: 20 August 2015).

Patton, P. (2014) ‘Emeco, Sustainability and the 111 Chair’ Coca-cola Journey, 30 July. Available at: (Accessed: 20 August 2015).

Research Part 9 ( Fonts/ Biodegradable Ink Printing)

Biodegradable ink printing is made up of soy and other vegetable-based inks. Soy ink is more sustainable because they originate from renewable resources.

What are the benefits of soy ink?
1. Less likely to smudge.
2. No toxic elements.
3. Do not smell because they are not mineral based.
4. Completely safe and consequently do not require any safety labelling.
5.Requires less ink as they flow and spreads more efficiently.
6. Brighter and vivid colours can be produced.
Any disadvantages?
1. More expensive than mineral /oil based inks.
2. They tend to bleed especially during the recycling process. this means the recycling process is more expensive and takes longer.

Innisfree, a Korean skincare brand uses eco-friendly packaging.

Examples of soy ink based printing on a packaging.

Fonts & Typography

In the same context of printing, the right usage of fonts can help to save ink and costs as well.

An example of a sustainable font would be It uses 33% less ink compared to normal fonts due to its font design. Ryman Eco is thinly outlined letters that gives an illusion of a solid font when bleeding occurs. One font designers can use when designing typography on packaging is light, serif-based Garamond instead of bold and compact Impact. Although when compared to other eco fonts punctuated with holes to reduce its use of ink Garamond does not save as much ink but it is a greener font alternative especially when readability is the primary concern.

Ryman Eco font.

Ryman Eco font.

Garamond font.

Garamond font.


Greenerprinter  (n.a) ‘Green your printing: Inks’ Available at: (Accessed: 19 August 2015).

V, Ryan. (2010) ‘Biodegradable Inks’ Available at: (Accessed: 18 August 2015).

Fera, R.A.(2014) ‘Did an ad agency just created the world most beautiful sustainable font?’ Fast Company, 3 April [Image]. Available at: (Accessed: 19 August 2015).

Research Part 7 (The Inside-Out and Outside-In Orientation)

Although the physicality of a sustainable packaging design is important but before that, there is something that should be first thought through and considered. Consultant Kevin Howard of Packnomics, LLC, once emphasized in a presentation the importance of packaging design “from the outside in, rather than from the inside out”. This is a concept that all designers should consider first before the hands-on designing process especially when it comes to sustainable packaging design.

Outside-In concept 

  • focuses and walks through the public needs from the eyes of a customer
  • aim to really think through about redesigning something to meet the purpose better from clients’ perspective and see the actual needs of the public
  • places the interest of the customer ahead of the organization’s ability
  • constantly and efficiently ensure great service experience to satisfy their customer
  • requires the willingness of a designer to continuously invest time in learning more about their customers

Inside-Out concept 

  • an internal orientation that is reviewed through the eyes of the company
  • a process that is oriented on the needs of the organization
  • decisions are made based solely on only what they already know and feel which indirectly loses touch with the customers
  • decisions are also made based on the capabilities of the company with its existing resources
  • drives short term profits

Through a customer’s eyes only will the designers be able to see what customers expect from a sustainable design and what sustainable values they actually look or wish for. This concept has yet to be applied by many designing companies although the idea has been circulating for a while among other IT and services companies.


Patterson, L. (2011) ‘Improve Marketing Strategy By Thinking Outside-In.’ Hoteliers, 25 July. Available at: (Accessed: 27 July 2015).

Pietersen, W. (2015) ‘Outside-In Thinking: Crucial but Unnatural’, 13 August.  Available at: (Accessed: 28 July 2015).

Shaw, C. (2014) ‘Are you Inside-Out or Outside-In? Designing a Customer-Focused Process’, Linked In. Available at: (Accessed: 27 July 2015).

Research Part 6 (Bioplastics)

traditionalplasticsvsbioplasticsukWhat is bioplastic?

In simplest terms, bioplastic is derived from living, renewable materials like corn, sugar and vegetable oils. This can be contrasted with common plastics that rely more on non-renewable fossil fuels.

Where are bioplastics used at events?

Events may use bioplastics for many things: food serviceware and packaging, name badge holders, tabletop liners, banner material, floral wrapping, folder and folio covers and many other places where you might use traditional plastic.

Are Bioplastics good?

As much as many advantages, it also has drawbacks. Depending on the kind of product and packaging design, the usage of bioplastic as a material should be considered if it is necessary.

Are Bioplastics degradable?

Technically, all bioplastics will degrade. It is just the matter of time and condition it needs to degrade. Some bioplastics fully break down within months. Other bioplastics are designed to be more durable, and break down so slowly they might be considered non-biodegradable.But majority requires a very high temperature to degrade and even so sometimes it leaves behind residues such as  plastic bits and were said that it could impact the lives of animals and humans though there are no cases as of now


McKinley, S. (2013) ‘Meeting Mythbusters: Bioplastic Fantastic?’ Evencellany, 6 October. Available at: (Accessed: 19 July 2015).

NonStop Technical (2014) ‘Finnish Researchers Create Bioplastics From Rice Starch’ [Image]. Available at: (Accessed: 19 July 2015).)

The Bioplastic Factory (n.a.) ‘Bioplastics’ [Image]. Available at: (Accessed: 18 July 2015).

Research Part 5 (Being Skeptical About “Greener Alternatives”)

After some discussion with my lecturer and some given suggestions, here are some researches.

Packaging has always played a huge role in our daily lives probably without us even realizing it. The packaging materials ranges from plastics, papers, glass to aluminium. The problem about plastics and paper bags are that they are so convenient and versatile until they were overused. From the early stages, people have always worked hard to come out with greener solutions when it comes to packaging design. This is when the so called “environmental friendly” plastics are introduced as an alternative solution.

However, are they the solution to the problem or merely just a business gimmick?

Making better plastics 

The “environmental friendly” plastics can be divided into three categories consisting of

  • bioplastics
  • biodegradable plastics
  • eco-recycled plastics

Biodegradable plastics are plastics that are made from traditional petrochemical that breaks down quicker compared to the normal plastics whereas eco-recycled plastics are those made from recycled plastic materials rather than the raw source.

A not-so-perfect solution 

If you think that opting for “green” plastics on a day-to-day basis is a way of doing your part to help address our growing landfill problem, think again.

Are bioplastics good or bad?

On the other hand, bioplastics have been a long time controversial topic. Many design companies and manufacturers have been looking high at bioplastics. Though bio-plastics are being marketed as the best new “alternative” to traditional plastics there are a few details about this miracle material that skeptics are unrelentingly concerned about. It is made up of renewable resources such as corn starch, sugar and vegetable oils. They can be found in food packaging, folders and many other places we might use traditional plastics at. It’s important to see things in the round to understand whether “environmentally friendly” things are really doing more harm than good.


  • could possibly reduce 30 to 80 percent of greenhouse gasses
  • provide a longer shelf life


  • do not readily decompose
  • requires a very high temperature to degrade
  • were said that it could impact the lives of animals and humans
  • environmentalists consider some bioplastics (PLA) made of genetically modified corn or crops are considered harmful to the environment
  • excessive use of corn starch in production of plastics will also cause food crisis
  • PLA looks very similar to PET (polyethylene terephthalate) but, if the two are mixed up in a recycling bin, the whole collection becomes impossible to recycle


Dell, K. (2010) ‘The Promise And Pitfalls of Bioplastic’ Time Magazine, 3 May [Online]. Available at:,9171,1983894,00.html (Accessed: 7 July 2015).

Dorsey, S. (2012) ‘Is Bio-plastic really better than regular?’ Frugivore Magazine, 6 December [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 6 July 2015).

Weinberger, H. (2014) ‘Biodegradable Plastics: Too Good to Be True?’ Quest, 12 Jun. Available at: (Accessed: 6 July 2015).

Woodford, C. (2015) ‘Bioplastics and biodegradable plastics ‘ Explain That Stuff!, 2 July. Available at: (Accessed: 7 July 2015).