Archive for February, 2010

EasyFairs Packaging Innovations Success

Posted in Design Cognition News, Events, Exhibitions on February 26th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 11 Comments

A  big “Thank You” to  all of you who visited our stand at the EasyFairs packaging Innovations show over the past couple of days, it was great to meet you and have some really engaging and insightful packaging conversations. We had a tremendous number of enquiries, are working our way through all of the accumlated information now and will be get back to you all over the next few days.

“Happy Packaging” from all of the Design Cognition team!


Chris Penfold

Some of The Design Cognition team on the EasyFairs Packaging Innovations stand

Some of The Design Cognition team on the EasyFairs Packaging Innovations stand

Elo – packaging designer under the ”Creative Spotlight’

Posted in Branding, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Creative Spotlight, Design, Design Cognition News, Design Library, Drinks Packaging, Food Packaging, Gift Packaging, Marketing, Opinion, Uncategorized on February 25th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 10 Comments

At Design Cognition, we are passionate about packaging, design & creativity. We like to work with some of the worlds’ leading edge packaging designers, but also identify and nurture some of the brightest up-and-coming talent coming into the industry. We’re on a mission to unearth the very best designers and creators to see what makes them ‘tick, what ‘fires them up’ to get out of bed in the morning and who/what inspires them. We’re starting a a new initiative called the ‘Creative Spotlight’. In the first of the series we’ve interviewed a fantastic designer from California called ‘Elo’ (MarcELO), who has a very distinctive style all his own. Enjoy! and watch out for other great designer interviews coming soon! Chris Penfold

1. Elo, could you tell us where you’re from and how you got started in the field?

I originally come from South America, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I’ve also lived in Europe and Canada. Today I live in sunny San Diego, California. I came here for school, I graduated and I run my own freelance design company, ElO Designs. I was always involved with art ever since I was a kid. My sisters and I did some plays together and then I thought I was going to be a singer. I took singing classes for 1 year and I formed a band. We were great but too many. Then things started to fall apart and the band was over after a year. Since I like traveling, I wanted to create a website to show my friends and family the places I was visiting at the time. So, I bought my first HTML book and started to learn all by myself how to create websites using only the codes and the notepad. I thought it was a lot of fun and after that I never stopped. My older sister was a graphic designer at the time, she didn’t have a computer and was doing all the arts by hand. Using amber leaf and ruby leaf, gluing stuff together, using the T ruler and ink
pens that needed to be soaked in water over night. “What a mess it was”, (laughs) but I learned a lot from her as well!.

Elo's lovely 'te' packaging for an upmarket tea range

Elo's lovely 'te' packaging for an upmarket tea range

2. Elo, what gives you inspiration when starting a design project? How do you blend all of your ideas in a harmonious way?

Well, my inspiration comes from various places: TV shows, patters, nature, magazines, or just from playing my games sometimes. There are days that my mind is a complete blank. And there are some other days that I get up in the middle of the night with a great idea. Then I either have to write it down or go to the computer and start working on it right away… Now, if I’m working with clients I have a questionare that I send to them to try to understand what they want me to do. Most of the time things go smoothly but sometimes clients have no idea what they want and it gets a little bit hard. In that case, I would say that, when working with indecisive clients it’s always good not to send them too many ideas. Limit yourself to 3 concepts. I like working with colors but I don’t like it when the colors overpower the final composition. So, I try to be really careful on that. It’s also good to know and understand color theory, color wheel, primary, secondary and tertiary colors. That helps to find the balance in the final composition.

Elo's 'old globe' brochure work

Elo's 'old globe' brochure work

3. Did you study graphic design formally in school/college (did that include packaging & typography?) or are you a self-taught artist? And in your opinion what are the pro’s and con’s of each route?
I went to a great Design School here in California and I got an AA( associate degree) in Graphic Arts with great professors. I’m specialized in packaging and print design. I think that when you have some talent school always counts and you can learn great techniques from other professionals. I have seen great design work from people with no schooling and I have seen portfolios from people with Bachelor Degrees that make me think ‘Ummm…really???’. So, I guess it all depends. School helps, It will also help to get technical if you’re not so talented. But school won’t make you. You are the only one who will find your own identity as a designer or artist.

Elo's artistic 'Explore' range of book covers

Elo's artistic 'Explore' range of book covers

4. How do you define yourself as a designer and what strong point do you think that every packaging designer should have?

I define myself as an artist who has a design career for now. I think every packaging designer has to think ‘outside of the box’. It’s important to think about sustainability and about the practical part of the design you are creating. The most important thing is to think about the target audience you are designing/creating for, because they are the ones who are going to consume your product.

Elo's 'naturals' men's packagng range

Elo's 'naturals' packagng range

5. How do you feel that packaging design work differs from other areas in which you work? Why do you think that is?

Well, I like packaging and branding the most amongst all other things that I do.. I also love what I have been doing at the moment, called: “Photo Illustration”. It lets me be very creative and show the ‘true me’ as a designer. But I think all areas have their own importance. Today as a designer you must know a little bit about everything. We are all visual human beings and we are surrounded by designs everywhere. From the time get up to the time we go to bed. If the color differs, if the shape differs, if the usage of the product differs, if you respect the visual hierarchy, the product will cause an instant reaction to the consumers and will stand out from the shelves. That’s when you know the design really works, when it stands out amongst others.

'Birds' - an example of Elo's amazing 'Photo Illustration' work

'Birds' - an example of Elo's amazing 'Photo Illustration' work

6. What’s your favourite piece of packaging design work that you’ve undertaken yourself and why?

I’m happy with all my designs. I never put anything out there if I’m not 100% happy with it. But one of my favorite pieces is my “Eko” Home Cleaning Supplies Design. I put a  lot of thought into it. I was really happy with the overall result and I think I accomplished it beautifully, from the color pallet to the cohesion of the illustrations. The design was recently asked to be featured in a Japanese magazine about packaging and design. I guess I can call it successful right?! (laughs).

Elo's distinctive EKO packaging design

Elo's distinctive EKO packaging design

7. What’s your favourite all-time piece of packaging design that’s out on the market (i.e. designed by someone else) and why?

Oh Man…. that is a tough question for me ’cause I like so many designs. Target these days has great packaging designs. I like “Method” home products, I like “Scotch Brite” eco-friendly sponges, I like Paul Michel shampoo packaging, Aveda has great packaging and great ads as well, I like Michael Graves(industrial design) and Apple designs.

Distinctive packaging of the 'Method' range of homecare products

Distinctive packaging of the 'Method' range of homecare products

8. Thinking specifically about packaging design, who would you say provides you with “design inspiration,” meaning designers that you look up to; and also tell us why you feel this way about  them, what makes them special?

I try not to look much on already done stuff. So, this way when I design something I get my own signature to the product I’m working on. But there are tons of designers that I appreciate, I Like: Michael Graves(Industrial designs) visit his website at ( The guy is a genius. Everything he does has this round polished shape to it and when you look at his products you say: “That is Michael Graves”!

One of Michael Graves' zany kettle designs

One of Michael Graves' zany kettle designs

9.  Any final thoughts for our readers?

When you do something in life, do it with your heart. Always try to push yourself over the limit to get better and better. Read, undertake research, visit blogs, create your own blog, connect to some other groups. There are so many fantastic designers around the world. Never limit yourself. You won’t have fireworks all the time. And you might also find people with huge egos, who will try to cut you off or turn you down as in any other artistic industry. But if you stay true to yourself you will get there!

10. Elo, where can we find you on-line?

My personal website is always an endless work in process. Right now I’m still working on it but you can find me on-line in various places. Here are some:

That’s great. Thanks Elo and all the best for the future – you’re doing some wonderful work there – keep it up.



P&G implement ‘world class’ artwork & packaging processes

Posted in Business News, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Innovation, Opinion, Technology, cost-optimisation on February 17th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 3 Comments

The following initiative by Proctor & Gamble sounds like a great means to “drive scale, improve R&D productivity and accelerate the delivery of new products to market”. Integrating the virtual and digital design capabilities and virtual test capabilities of future packaging and artwork projects in an integrated manner makes sense, should elevate P&G from ‘best-in-class’ for ’stand alone’ systems to ‘world-class’ global integrated solution – but easier said than done.

A range of P&G FMCG products

A range of P&G FMCG products

Implementing enterprise-wide product life-cycle management processes on this scale is a mammoth task. However, by taking a stepwise approach, planned properly as part of an e-Business strategy (dovetailed within an overall corporate strategy) P&Gs chance of success will be much greater. Identification of any barriers (cultural or otherwise) and development / implementation of a ‘game plan’ to deal with these will raise the chances of success even higher. Chris Penfold

P&G Incorporates Global Packaging and Artwork initiatives

Procter & Gamble (Cincinnati, Ohio) is extending the scope of its V6 PLM implementation to incorporate global packaging and artwork initiatives with the help of Dassault Systemes (France). This builds on the previously announced strategic selection of DS solutions for an enterprise-wide product life-cycle management process. Together, Dassault Systemes and P&G are developing a highly integrated suite of products to help make the packaging process more efficient, improve speed to market, increase shelf impact, and ultimately create a better experience for consumers. Streamlining these services is another example of how DS is supporting P&G’s focus on “Simplify, Scale & Execute” which is one of the company’s key growth strategies.

“As P&G continues to serve more consumers, in more parts of the world, more completely, it is essential we have the right tools in place to drive greater efficiency,” says Michael Telljohann, PLM director, P&G. “To address these opportunities as they arise, it’s imperative that mission critical business processes like artwork and packaging move from a series of best-in-class point solutions to enterprise-wide integrated solutions. Dassault Systèmes’ suite of V6 PLM products will help P&G drive scale, improve R&D productivity and accelerate the delivery of new products to market.”

Via 17th Feb 2010.

You can read the full article by clicking: P&G PLM implementation article

Chris Penfold’s Views On The Future Of Packaging Design

Posted in Design, Exhibitions, Innovation on February 16th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 1 Comment

We’re pleased to announce that our CEO Chris Penfold will be presenting at the ‘Future in Design’ Learnshop. (Easyfairs, NEC, UK)

Chris’s presentation entitled ‘Web 2.0 & Web Squared – implications 4 packaging design now & future’ will take place at 3pm on Wednesday 24th and is not to be missed. 

In it Chris will be talking about the growing effect, implications and opportunities of the internet on the packaging design process and on ways of working.  He will be looking at the convergence of Web & technology and the effect on consumer and patient interaction and personalisation, with some great examples of emerging and leading-edge packaging design.

If you’re at easyFairs why not pop along and have a listen.  You can register FREE for easyFairs NEC (avoiding a £20 entrance fee) by following this link and becoming a Design Cognition visitor.

You can find out more about all the Learnshops here on the main easyFairs web site.

FREE advisory sessions – numbers limited

Posted in Design Cognition News, Events, Exhibitions on February 15th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 11 Comments

Design Cognition are offering a limited number of FREE product and packaging advisory sessions.  Are you worried about the non-compliance of any of your products?  Do you know what regulations your products need to comply to? – Why not book yourself one of these limited sessions and come for a chat?

 If you are attending easyFairs Packaging Innovations show at the NEC (UK 24-25 Feb) then why not take advantage of this fantastic FREE offer?  To book one of the limited 15 minute sessions simply email

 Places are limited though, so if you aren’t quick enough to book one, why not visit us on STAND 582 – right by the main entrance – to leave us your details and arrange a follow-up chat after the show.

If you’ve not already registered for the show why not do it now by following this link and becoming a Design Cognition visitor.

Support for Packaging – at last!

Posted in Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Food Packaging, Social Media on February 15th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 2 Comments

Packaging seems to have spent far to long now being demonised in the press, it’s nice to see an article in a main stream newspaper that actually defends packaging and it’s use to protect and prolong the shelf life of food.

Very interesting and thought provoking article by the New York Times.  Interestingly some of the comments below the article appear to have been submitted by individuals who haven’t read the article very carefully.

Great New Limited Design for Coca Cola

Posted in Branding, Design, Drinks Packaging, Product News on February 11th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 9 Comments

This limited edition Coco Cola design makes great use of their brand colours, very clean and unfussy.  Shame it’s only going to be available in the US.  Wonder what we will get in the UK for the summer Olympics.

Coco cola limited design

Coca-Cola has released special-edition packaging for the US market to celebrate the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games that start tomorrow.  For the full story visit

Plant-based polypropylene packaging. Is spinach next?

Posted in Cosmetics & Toiletries, Design, Environmental Issues, Innovation, Materials, Opinion, Product News, Technology, Tweets on February 8th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 4 Comments


popeye spinach packaging polymers

popeye spinach packaging polymers?

‘Vegetarian’ polymers seem to be on the increase with yet another innovative initiative that, this time, uses natural cress plant waste, which is combined with a variety of different polypropylene grades to produce a range of packaging materials to suit different types of products with a variety of finishes. Allegedly they are produced using significantly lower CO² emissions than ‘conventional’ plastics.

The material called ‘Agriplast’ has been developed by German bio manufacturing company Biowert, which sources the cress-based waste from farms in the immediate area around Brensbach, in southern Germany, where the factory is based.

This sounds like a really innovative initiative and the the project is a collaboration between German company AHA Kunstofftechnik and French-based packaging manufacturer Cosmeco, who have combined resources to develop this material for use, initially, in cosmetics packaging.

Rumour has it that use of spinach for this type of polymer project could be a next-step development, something that could potentially really increase material tensile properties and produce a product as strong as iron – but this has yet to be verified and Mr P.Peye was unavailable for comment ;-) LOL

The full ‘Agriplast’ natural cress article, 8th Feb 2010, can be read here at

Thanks to @MarktheSpaMan for bringing our attention to this article via Twitter