Laying waste to bad design

Packaging Professional magazine
14 Jul 2008

'Packaging is the Cinderella of the design world and it is time for packaging designers to stand up and be counted,’ said Dorothy MacKenzie, at the Starpack Summit – The Packaging Dilemma, The Consumer Challenge, held on 22 May in London, UK.

As the Chairman of independent brand agency, Dragon, based in London, MacKenzie is passionate about brands, but also has a keen interest in corporate ethics and the environment. 

‘Designers need to think from R&D to landfill, [and] back to R&D before starting to design,’ she explained. ‘Of course functionality and cost are pre-requisites in any design brief, but the community can inspire all those involved in creating a vision of what the product could be while minimising the environmental impact.’

However, MacKenzie believes that designers currently lack the knowledge and resources to initiate real change.

Talking to The Packaging Professional, she adds, ‘Design training needs to cover materials science in more depth to help develop a greater understanding of the impact of different materials. Access to good reference points and expert advice at an early stage in the process is essential to create better-designed products’.

This outlook was echoed by Julie Hill, the Associate Director of Green Alliance, based in London, UK. She discussed the need to design out waste in the packaging supply chain, arguing that it represents a loss of resources, much of it usable.

‘Waste is a design fault and the design community should have a desire to eliminate it wherever possible,’ argued Hill. ‘The more intelligently packaging is designed for recycling, the more [likely] environmental and monetary savings can be realised.’

She also suggested that packaging companies should play a bigger part in shaping consumer behaviour towards sustainable packaging. ‘Don’t consider the consumer king. When asked, consumers say they’re green but don’t always buy green when given the choice. There should be no choices that aren’t green.’

Further information:

Green Alliance

Documents for download: 
PDF icon S7A4 Lisch Hermann.pdf1.45 MB