Annie Dallison CEnv FIMMM (Profile)

Fellows' Lounge
1 Jul 2010

Annie Dallison CEnv FIMMM has a passion for packaging that has made her true to this industry throughout her working life. Annie, Technical Director of Design Cognition Ltd, has spent over 30 years in packaging and is a member of The Packaging Society.


Working for Boots Company

She joined Nottingham’s Boots Company in 1977 as a packaging laboratory technician, learning by hands-on experience and day release to college. She recalls, ‘We were at college for a long 9.00am to 9.00pm Monday session, with another three hours on two other nights. I remember being taught by some of the great teachers of the industry, people like Dixie Dean’.

In those days, it was compulsory for individuals joining Boots in a packaging role to become members of the Institute of Packaging, now The Packaging Society, as a route to gaining the knowledge needed to support their packaging careers.

For most of her time at Boots, Annie was closely involved with pharmaceuticals and over the counter medicine. She introduced the board specifications for Nurofen in the early 1990s that are still used, and influenced the look and performance of the packaging of household brands in such diverse areas as garden chemicals and home brewing.

She is disappointed by the way that many companies choose to organise their product development teams now. She says, ‘Rather than businesses having dedicated people focused purely on technical aspects of the packaging, multifunctional teams have become the norm. There are great benefits that can come from the multi-functional approach, but packaging in some cases can be relegated to the level of simple graphic design and artwork maintenance’.

Annie left the Reckitt Benckiser division that had taken over her part
of Boots two years ago to join the rapidly growing Nottingham-based
packaging design consultancy Design Cognition, who apply technical
knowledge to pharmaceutical and OTC medicine packaging.

Importance of membership of a professional society

Annie feels that now, more than ever, membership of a professional society is important, ‘The industry is far more fragmented than it was before and it is more difficult for a packaging technologist to experience the full breadth of packaging development. For example, people rarely have had the experience of things like failure node analysis as it applies to packaging and so people need to be able to draw on the experience and knowledge of others’.

As a senior packaging professional, Annie has mentored and supported many people in their early years in the industry, several of whom have gone on to find senior positions in the sector throughout the world.

Through IOM3 Annie has achieved Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) status, rewarding her commitment to minimising the environmental impact of the designs she proposes. Annie says, ‘In my early years of membership, it was only senior management who were involved with Institute organisation. Now, a much broader cross-section of people organise and take part in local society activities. This is leading to a vibrant, enjoyable and very valuable organisation that I can both contribute to and draw from. I’m looking forward to deepening my involvement still further’.