Roll up, roll up... Student Starpack packaging design awards 2012

Packaging Professional magazine
14 Nov 2011
Student Starpack Best in Show 2011

The Student Starpack Packaging Design Awards are open for entry. Rachel Brooks explains the briefs on offer for 2012, and catches up on developments within the Starpack Advisory Board.

The Student Starpack Awards challenge students to solve problems set by brand-leading FMCG companies, design agencies and manufacturers, and win recognition of their excellence. Designed to encourage students to take up a career in consumer packaging design, they are the only awards in the UK aimed exclusively at providing a platform for new talent emerging from universities, colleges and schools.

Food on the Move

Sponsored by the Benson Group

The filled wrap is a popular lunchtime option, but the packaging is often uninspiring and doesn’t show the product to its full potential. Individual cakes have also grown in market share as a treat during the working day. Somehow the element of a treat is not communicated fully by the packaging. This challenge is to redesign the packaging for a lunchtime wrap and an individual cake.

Commenting on the decision to sponsor the Starpack Awards, Nikki Clark, design manager at Benson Group, said, ‘We continue to be impressed with the level of innovative concepts and the quality of the finished samples produced by both schools and students. The awards are a tremendous advert for British design.’

Festival Pack
Sponsored by British Polythene Industries

Your challenge is to design a reusable festival pack that could be multifunctional but must be attractive and easy to store. The pack should contain useful items, for example a simple plastic mac, a ground sheet for when the grass is damp, covers to keep your shoes dry and disposable wellies. Other non-polythene items, such as a toothbrush, can be included. You may choose the contents that you believe would be appropriate for enhancing the festival experience.

Blue Sky Soft Drinks
Sponsored by Britvic Soft Drinks

The challenge is to come up with an idea that looks at the future of soft drinks and the packaging used for them and, maybe, some ideas about what could be done with these big soft drinks brands by launching them in categories other than just beverages. If you came up with a soft drinks packaging solution that worked in tandem with the product (such as toothpaste needing a tube), or created a new product for a specific packaging mechanism (for example foaming Tango drink in an aerosol), or created something that added value to the product (such as keeping it cool), or took the brand into a new product category with clever packaging to support it, you could be onto a winning idea.

Tim Lynch, Marketing Services Manager at Britvic Soft Drinks, explains, ‘The awards programme is a great solution to encourage the next generation of young designers to think about packaging as a career. The 2011 Britvic brief saw two really excellent ideas that I’m taking back to the business.’

Energy Structural Bottle Design
Sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company

The challenge is to gather information by reviewing the market and come up with a new energy bottle shape for Coca-Cola’s existing energy brands.

Eric Kaddari, packaging innovator at Coca-Cola’s European R&D centre in Brussels, says, ‘We’ve been working with the Starpack awards programme for several years now and are always amazingly enthusiastic about the quality of the work delivered. We believe this is a great chance for students and companies to work together. It provides a chance for students to be part of an industrial project.’

New Uses for Corrugated Board
Sponsored by DS Smith Packaging

Corrugated board is a versatile and costeffective medium, offering great structural strength from relatively light material. It is extensively used in packaging, for example to make boxes, trays and cases, and also to make other products. In Europe and the UK, corrugated board is often constructed entirely or in large part from recycled papers. It is fully recyclable, making it an environmentally friendly choice. The brief is to offer a pack made from corrugated board as an alternative to any existing packaging made with other materials, or design a non-packaging product currently made from other materials, such as plastics, metals, wood or composites, using corrugated board.

Peter Redfearn, Design Director at DS Smith, explains, ‘We need to impress on students the need to research and put detail behind the briefs, the research and product sample are equally important’.

Senior Friendly Child Resistant Packaging
Sponsored by Global Closure Systems

The challenge to the designers of the future is to design a new closure system or pack that will pass the child resistance test (ISO 8317) and be easier to open for the elderly and other adults with limited grip. You will need to research and understand why children cannot get into the child resistant packs and why the elderly find it so difficult.

Derek Hindle, Global Innovation Director at Global Closure Systeyms, is passionate about packaging, and his challenge to the designers of the future is to make a pack easier to open for the elderly but still impossible to open for children.

Premium End Packaging for Wine
Sponsored by Logoplaste

Your challenge is to design and model a premium-end packaging for wine that offers a unique shape, using a suitable raw material, and moves away from the glass bottle.

Logoplaste’s Director, Nigel Sladden, commented, ‘We see the awards programme as a way of encouraging students to understand how packaging affects their everyday products and hopefully gain an appreciation of our existing industry’.

Busy Chocolate
Sponsored by Nestle

The challenge is to design an assortment of chocolates and a gift pack that is relevant to the modern world. The pack should be designed for busy people who never have time to sit down, but still want to enjoy their favourite chocolates. Consider who this consumer could be and how their busy lifestyle could affect the way they interact with the chocolates and packaging. Think holistically and design the complete experience. Your concept should include up to six new chocolate designs and have a new brand identity that reflects a personal moment in a hectic day. It will be sold in normal retail environment.

New for 2012

The cross-cutting Innovation Award, sponsored by The Packaging Society, makes its first appearance this year. Winners can expect to receive prizes of up to £500, work placement opportunities, recognition of their creativity, and a great addition to their CVs.

Further information

Student Starpack Awards

The Packaging Society

deadline for entries into the 2012 Student Starpack competition is 2
March 2012. For more information, contact


News from the Starpack Advisory Group

Starpack Advisory Group is now headed up by Emma Wise, following the resignation of Alec Alden. The Institute wishes to thank Alec for his much-valued contribution to Starpack.

Emma says, ‘It is an honour to be involved in one of the industry’s most prestigious awards, which acknowledges and rewards excellence. In a changing environment the packaging design industry can be stretched to its limits both in terms of design and manufacture. Starpack values and recognises all these attributes, as well as creating a platform, through the schools and students programme, for the future generation of packaging designers to shine.

‘Exciting changes for 2012 include some new categories that will open up the opportunities within industry. The new categories include – technical innovation, new environmental thinking and structural and graphic design.’