Archive for April, 2010

‘Packaging Can Not Be Viewed In Isolation’

Posted in Environmental Issues, Food Packaging, Materials on April 30th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 7 Comments

So says Barry Pamplin, European packaging technology controller at United Biscuits – and of course he’s right.

United Biscuits have done a lot of work in the past few years to lower the amount of packaging material they use.  Pamplin says that whilst they have targeted using less material and lowering the micron of their films, they haven’t lost sight of the fact that the films are there for a purpose – to protect the product, and if they don’t do there job effectively then ‘any gains in packaging reduction or ease of recycling are destroyed by increased food waste’.

Their latest undertaking is to scale up the amount of recycled packaging material they use by moving their trays from PET to rPET.

It’s also interesting to hear Pamplin’s reasons for not signing up to the Courtauld Commitment 2.

The full article covers other areas that United Biscuits are looking at to cut their packaging and makes and interesting read.  Just follow this link

Will lack of branded packaging really kill the cigarette market?

Posted in Design, Marketing on April 29th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 9 Comments
Unbranded cigarette packaging - the answer?

Unbranded cigarette packaging - the answer?

In Australia, apparently “15,000 people die of smoking-related diseases every year”. In response, the Australian government is implementing a new law, to come into force in July 2012, which will mean that “all tobacco products will have to be sold in packaging of standard colour and style, and carry government health warnings”. This is a bold move and follows an excise duty increase of +25% (which comes in to force today), both of which have sent the local cigarette manufacturers into a panic.

British American Tobacco Australia’s managing director David Crow warned that “the measure would encourage trade in counterfeit and contraband cigarettes in Australia, which he described as “a significant problem” “. He also said that “Today’s double announcement….will be welcomed by the illegal market” and “As everyone knows the criminal black market doesn’t pay taxes and doesn’t ask kids for ID.”

But will a lack of branding really kill the market? Or is this just ’scaremongering’? Existing cigarette packaging is already plastered with all sorts of health warnings and sold from ‘behind a counter’. If people want to ‘be seen’ with a certain brand, tobacco companies could always sell (separately) empty branded ‘carry’ packs, into which people could transfer their legally bought plainly-packaged designer cigarettes, couldn’t they? Not that I could possibly condone this action! Or they could buy & use the silver-plated cigarette cases of ‘days gone by’ in which to carry their cigarettes around.

In today’s UK Guardian, Tim Wilson, director of intellectual property and free trade at Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs, also says that “tobacco companies were likely to demand compensation over the forced packaging changes, which could cost taxpayers around A$3bn a year”. Now this is something that could possibly scupper this law ‘dead in the water’, but I guess only time will tell, dependent on how successful any court actions were.

Wilson also points out that if successful in Australia, the same legislation is likely to be adopted worldwide. So if this were to happen, surely all packs, whether available on the ‘free market’ or ‘black market’ would be identical wouldn’t they? – Presuming, of course, that they had all been manufactured legally by tobacco companies, and not as ‘counterfeits’ by ‘pirates’. So this would suggest that Crow’s argument is flawed.

What do you think?

Chris Penfold

You can read the full article by following the link to our friends at Packaging News

Nice rise for Unilever

Posted in Business News on April 29th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 5 Comments

Great to see Unilever doing so well despite the current market conditions.  Just goes to show that it’s still possible to find new markets.

To read more follow the link to Cosmetics Design Europe

Systamatic Labelling of Bisphenol A

Posted in Food Packaging, Materials on April 29th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 3 Comments

The French Food Standards Agency is calling for all packaging containing Bisphenol A to be labelled.  Will this encourage manufacturers to change their packaging, or will it just be another declaration that’s added to the pack?

I know some people feel very passionate about this issue, but what of the general public? (Jane Bear)

If you would like to read the full story just follow this link Food Production Daily

What Else Could You Portion Pack?

Posted in Cosmetics & Toiletries, Food Packaging, Marketing on April 27th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 4 Comments

McCormick & Co have come up with the idea of selling single portions of spices attached to a recipe card.  Each card contains up to 6 different spices along with a quick and easy recipe to follow.  The idea being that people will be tempted to try new spices by using the samples and then go on to buy full packs of the spices they most use and like.

It has got me thinking though, what else could you use this concept for?  Obviously sample packs have been available for years across many sectors of the market, from foods to skincare and most areas in between.  This is more structured though, more like a ‘kit’ to encourage people to try new things.

What about using the same idea to create cocktails, or how about a card/pack encouraging people to try a new cleansing routine containing shampoo, body wash and a deo.  Or what about a card containing a sample of every shower gel variant in the range?

The combinations are endless, you just need to use your imagination. (Jane Bear)

Thanks to Packaging Insight for bringing this to our attention to watch their evaluation of the pack just follow this link Packaging Insight

‘Joined-Up’ New Product Development Opportunities for Healthcare Businesses

Posted in Business News, Design Cognition News, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Marketing, Opinion, Technology on April 27th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 6 Comments

Healthcare Development Partners logo

Design Cognition is proud to announce its partnership with a number of other successful healthcare New Product Development (NPD) companies in the Midlands to provide a ‘one stop shop’ service in consumer healthcare product development under the banner of ‘The Healthcare Development Partnership (HDP)’.

Collectively we are a group of highly skilled, experienced, like minded individuals and companies who have come together to offer a complete healthcare product development service.

As well as helping established companies redefine their market positioning, revamp and reinvigorate their product ranges, we will help new healthcare businesses overcome difficult first hurdles, bringing together all of the necessary resources under one ‘umbrella’ to get to market ‘at pace’ and ‘right first time’.

As well as continuing to run our own thriving businesses, as founding partners we all bring significant blue-chip corporate experience, having developed and launched hundreds of successful branded consumer healthcare products across the world. So Design Cognition will continue to provide the first-rate service to which you’ve all become accustomed, but now as a partnership we can build on that and together offer you so much more.

The enhanced services that we collectively offer span all aspects of product development, including strategy development, product formulation, packaging development, clinical development, medical and regulatory affairs, technology sourcing and product licensing. These services are underpinned by world class project management capabilities.”

Clients can utilise all the resources that The HDP offer or just access a specific area of our capabilities. Whatever your requirements, a project leader will provide single-point contact and co-ordinate all project activity. As part of The HDP we all combine depth and breadth of knowledge with a passion for healthcare, giving our clients tailored solutions and an integrated, seamless service.

If you’d like to find out more visit or new website  or drop me an email via

Mothercare alluring packaging for baby toiletries

Posted in Branding, Design, Healthcare & Pharma, Marketing, Product News, Retailers on April 26th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – Be the first to comment
New Mothercare Packaging - All We Know Range

New Mothercare Packaging - All We Know Range

Earlier this year Mothercare launched a new range of branded baby toiletries products called ‘All We Know’, the packaging and branding for which was undertaken by John Rushworth and Daniel Weil. I think that this is a  great peice of packaging design by John & Daniel and agree that the “creation of a coherent and focused sub-brand enables Mothercare to draw on its reputation as a trusted brand whilst adding new elements that help to differentiate these products from the competition”. Look out for it on the shelves and let us know what you think. In the meantime, you can read more about it’s distinctive aesthetic, ergonomic and practical packaging and branding features here: Mothercare All We Know range @ TheDieline

Cheers Chris Penfold

Nice Idea?

Posted in Design, Environmental Issues, Innovation on April 22nd, 2010 by Jane Bear – 23 Comments
No, this isn't a crushed box.

No, this isn't a crushed box.

Nice idea, I’m not sure in reality it’s really going to be practicle though.  It sounds great that you can form it into different sizes of standard boxes, but how strong would it be in transit?  And like the full article says being able to individually size all your parcels might not lead to as much of a cost saving as initially thought – odd shapes don’t stack or form stable pallets! (Jane Bear)

Great concept though and if you want to read the full article just follow this link Fast company

Definite Thinking Out Side Of The Box

Posted in Branding, Design, Marketing on April 14th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 5 Comments

Ok, ok, I know it’s a bad pun, but I like the thinking behind the new puma packaging.  It’s a bit of a shame it didn’t go further though.  The bag it’s self looks great, and if they had the right kind of shipper packaging what else would they need?  Why do they still need so much corrugated board?  Maybe that is more down to their consumer image and how they think the bags on their own might be viewed.

 There is obviously some thought gone into their plans though and I have to say, the idea that they can save on packaging just by folding their t-shirts one extra time is great.  Credit where credit is due. Jane Bear

If you would like to see their promotion video just visit  You tube or if you would prefer to read an article why not try this one in Packaging News

The future of packaging design & design processes

Posted in Design, Events, Exhibitions, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Social Media, Technology on April 12th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 8 Comments

Packaging design and development is on the ‘crest of a wave’ which will soon coming crashing down all around us. If you’d like to avoid a drowning or secure a liferaft, a couple of safety flares and a GPS to help you navigate your way through the impending turbulence, have a look at this short video to give you a flavour of what’s to come.

It’s a short video summary of the presentation I gave at the recent easyFairs Packaging Innovations event at the NEC in the UK, entitled ‘Web 2.0 & Web Squared – implications 4 packaging design now & future’

In it I talk about the growing effect, implications and opportunities of the internet on the packaging design process and on ways of working. I also highlight 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.

Once you’ve had a look at the video, if you’d like more information or access to a ‘more complete’ version of the presentation – drop us a line to

You can find the video here: ‘Summary video – Web 2.0 & Web Squared – implications 4 packaging


Chris Penfold