Archive for August, 2010

The making of Plastiki – turning plastic packaging waste into resource

Posted in Design, Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Events, Innovation, Materials, Recycling, Technology, Uncategorized on August 13th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 6 Comments

Here’s how ‘Eco Warrior’ and ‘Gaia Capitalist’ David de Rothschild made his catamaran ‘Plastiki’ out of recycled PET bottle packaging -- turning waste into resource and into an (almost) completely recyclable boat, that he then sailed from San Francisco to Sydney.

You can read the related article I wrote earlier today here: Sailing through the Plastiki soup in search of Paradise

Chris Penfold

Sailing through the Plastiki soup in search of paradise?

Posted in Business News, Design, Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Events, Marketing, Materials, Opinion, Recycling on August 13th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 10 Comments
Plastiki - David de Rothschild's yacht made of recycled PET bottles

Plastiki - David de Rothschild's yacht made of recycled PET bottles

As we have discussed in previous posts, there is a huge and ever-increasing mountain of rubbish growing in the middle of the Pacific, like a giant festering ’soup’, much of which consists of plastic packaging waste. This has had a massive knock-on affect in the  form of polluted beaches on islands throughout the South Pacific. See our previous article: Great Pacific Garbage Patch article

David de Rothschild is a man on a mission. The offspring of the wealthy banking family, he is one of a new breed of environmental crusaders and entrepreneurs that some are calling ‘Gaia capitalists’. ‘Gaia’ in mythology was the primal Greek goddess of the Earth and aptly a ‘gyre’ in oceanography is any large system of rotating ocean currents (source: Wikipedia).

To highlight the Pacific issue and raise it’s profile in mainstream media, De Rothschild decided to use his family’s high profile  (& money) to build a yacht made entirely of recycled plastic bottle packaging, which he named ‘Plastiki’ (making reference and tribute to the late Thor Heyerdahl’s papyrus Kon-tiki raft which crossed the Pacific back in 1947). Over a four month period he sailed this 60ft catamaran from San Francisco to Sydney, where he landed last week. But his exploits are no shallow ploy to fill aimless days with fun and adventure.

De Rothschild and his ‘Gaia’ friends are driven by a combination of social conscience and economic pragmatism, seeking a ‘paradigm shift’ in the way we live and desecrate our planet. They espouse a new form of capitalism that factors in the environment and social wellbeing as a cost. It considers protecting the environment not only as a moral issue but as a set of design challenges to correct inefficiencies that make the capitalist system unsustainable. Waste, for example, is considered the result of inadequate thinking. If you are smarter about it, and create products that work properly, then you shouldn’t have to throw anything away at the end – should you? The group include Chad Hurley (33) who with his co-founder, sold YouTube to Google for $1.6Bn and has since ploughed some of his fortune into the Green Products Innovation Institute and Jeffrey Skoll, worth $2.4Bn, who wrote the business plan for eBay and has set up the Skoll Foundation to encourage ’social entrepreneurs’ to play a greater role in developing a better world (source: The  Sunday Times).

These are ‘game changers’, who see solutions where others see problems – a new entrepreneurial revolution – one of collaboration something that de Rothschild calls ‘Planet 2.0′. So I feel that we will be hearing a lot more from this ‘band of brothers’ in the future. They mean to ‘rattle some cages’, get us all to think differently and make a real impact by influencing things at ‘the top’. They have a point! Can we really carry on the way we are? For a really ’sustainable future’, for our children and their children’s sakes, things have to change a lot quicker.What do you think?

Chris Penfold

Developing a product & packaging? There’s no such thing as a ‘free launch’!

Posted in Branding, Design, Marketing, Opinion, Social Media, Top 10 Tips, Training, cost-optimisation on August 10th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 6 Comments
There's no such thing as a free launch

There's no such thing as a free launch

The trouble with television programmes like High Street Dreams and Dragons Den, is that they only provide a
‘snapshot/soundbite’ of branding and the product development process, making it all appear oh-so-easy to the average ‘personon the street’. In reality, it’s a complicated process and there are a number of steps involved that should be considered before even thinking about approaching a branding or design agency and spending ‘hard-earned’ cash.
At Design Cognition we routinely get approached by all manner of entrepreneurs and small business owners who have very limited experience of branding and New Product Development (NPD). So we thought that we ought to provide some ‘pointers’ for those of you new to this arena, to get you to ‘stop and think’ and focus on what it is you are actually trying to achieve! It’s not in your interests or ours to develop products that have a high probability of failure.

So here are some fundamental questions to ask yourself, before you even think about branding & packaging:

read more »

Pharmaceutical packaging? don’t know? want to know? need to know?

Posted in Design Cognition News, Events, Healthcare & Pharma, Materials, Safety, Training, Uncategorized on August 4th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – Be the first to comment
Pharmaceutical packaging requirements can be a minefield

Pharmaceutical packaging requirements can be a minefield

Do you work in the pharmaceutical industry on the ‘periphery’ of packaging, working for example in Marketing, Purchasing, Design or QA etc , and have always wanted to find out more about packaging, but without having to attend a lengthy 3 day training course? Or perhaps you are a Packaging Technologist working on toiletries or cosmetics and want to gain a better understanding pharma issues and opportunities?

If so, then this ONE DAY TRAINING COURSE could be for you!

It’s being held on 14th October 2010 in Nottingham, UK

Pharmaceutical packaging is a very specialised area with its own unique issues & problems. This one day course will provide delegates with a good basic grounding & appreciation of what is required for the packaging of pharmaceutical & healthcare products. Whether you know nothing, have a basic understanding or are familiar with the area, this course will provide you with useful knowledge and insights from experts who have each worked in the industry for over 25 years.

What will be covered:

1.Packaging component & material selection Key product requirements (Consumer, Barrier, Shelf Life & Regulatory – Child resistance, Tamper evidence, Dosing & Stability. Marketing expectations.

2. Key properties of various materials / systems Main barriers & benefits of various packaging materials, Key drivers for pack performance, Supply chain implications on the packs

3. Pack testing & evaluation Mandatory requirements for Consumer testing & Transit testing.

4. Packaging component specifications Key requirements for a specification, Control of the documents.

5. Artwork generation & control Establishing processes suitable to your business needs – Wording & Templates, Creation, Version control & authorisation.

6.Regulatory requirements Packaging data for the MA , Braille, barcodes, Child Resistance, Tamper Evidence, Readability & others – including emerging requirements (e.g. 2D data matrix barcodes). Key packaging data for the MA/Dossier (Specifications & data, Supplier details). Key requirements for Braille etc.

7. Transit packaging Considerations of risk, Establishing test programmes, Specific requirements for palletisation etc.

8. Trade /supply chain requirements Understanding the various markets & their particular requirements, Understanding trade requirements (e.g. Barcodes, Shelf Ready Trays etc).

A full set of documentation will be provided.

You can find out more and register for this event by clicking: More information on Packaging of Pharmaceuticals – a One Day Introductory Course 14th October 2010

Chris Penfold

Building competitive advantage through packaging training & coaching

Posted in Design Cognition News, Events, Healthcare & Pharma, Opinion, Product News, Training, Uncategorized on August 2nd, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 1 Comment
As your training partners Design Cognition can provide all of your packaging-related training needs

As your training partners Design Cognition can provide all of your packaging-related training needs

We believe that the old adage that ‘your people are your most important asset’ is true. It’s fundamental that key members of staff keep pace with new technologies, best-practice processes and the continually evolving packaging regulations and standards – not an easy task for busy professionals, is it?

Additionally, it’s essential to keep a teams’ skills ‘honed’ to make sure that they are well-informed in order to help maintain competitive edge.

With that in mind, at Design Cognition, we have created a range of friendly, easy-to-learn and access courses to help you in two important areas:

1. Knowledge

To help you develop your own knowledge and experience, so that you are equipped to make better and more informed decisions.

2. Skills

To help you apply the information provided and learn through your own insights and experience.

The training sessions will be fairly interactive, providing plenty of opportunities for you to bring your current packaging problems along for review and discussion by the tutor, in confidence if necessary.

We guarantee to engage your interest and commitment on the courses and are confident our training will improve your effectiveness at work. In addition, you’ll receive a full set of course notes in a comprehensive ‘takeaway’ package for future reference.

We also encourage you to let us know what you think. We are always able to consider running a bespoke course for you, if that would suit you better, and most courses are available as in-house training programmes at your own premises.

You can find out more about our training events at: Design Cognition training programme

We have put together a range of courses, from areas as diverse as creative and technical disciplines and from processes ranging from artwork generation to cost-optimisation. Some of our initial topics include:

Pharmaceutical packaging, Branding and shelf impact, Introduction to packaging for non-packaging professionals, 2D Data Matrix barcodes, Braille and Sustainability.

Further information and dates will follow on our ‘Training’ page and we are continually adding to these events, so please pop back often to review additions, or ask to join our training mailing list (email: or call +44 (0)115 846 1914.

Chris Penfold