My customer asked me

In this second installment of outside-of-the-box packaging ideas, eco-sensitive and cohesively designed packages are the topics of discussion. It’s exciting to see a paradigm shift; whereby consumers are driving demand not only for what’s on store shelves, but also how those products are packaged. Whether consumers demand that a package becomes more eye-catching, physically smaller or less harmful to the planet, our voices are being heard… and listened to. This is an exciting time!


Puma’s “Clever Little Bag”

What does 21 months, multiplied by 2 teams and divided by 2000 ideas equal? It equals one superb concept that’s setting precedence for corporate sustainable packaging initiatives. This intelligent outside-of-the-box design is composed of a single sheet of folded cardboard, coupled with a reusable and recyclable PET bag. Switching from Puma’s red box to their red bag reduces cardboard use by 65 percent and saves 8500 tons of paper each year, diverting millions of tons of waste from landfills. This shift also accounts for one million litres of fuel and oil saved each year, as well as decreased carbon dioxide outputs (by 10,000 tons each year). All of these savings help Puma lower their ecological “paw print.” Check out the clever little video on YouTube.

Sun Chips 100 percent compostable bag

What a superb idea! Take a package that is often difficult to reduce, reuse or recycle and establish a completely new environmental plan to revive, restore and rejuvenate the earth with the waste. By disposing of your Sun Chips bag in an active compost pile, all traces that the package ever existed will be gone in 14 weeks. It took the Frito-Lay Sun Chips team four years to find a plant-based polymer that met their packaging quality standards. The end result is using a polymer called PLA (polylactic acid or polylactide), which is derived from plants such as cornstarch or sugarcanes (renewable resources) versus petroleum (non-renewable resource). This marks a positive shift in sourcing sustainable corporate packaging decisions, driven by consumer demand.

Naked Coca-Cola Can

This design by Harc Lee is created without any paint or dyes and is therefore more eco-sensitive than today’s Coca-Cola cans. This design eliminates the need for toxic paints during manufacturing and comes full circle by not requiring additional processing (paint stripping) when recycled. It is to be noted that this is only a concept and not available on the market; however, I believe that this sleek, eco-sensitive design is a perfect model for Coca-Cola’s packaging future.

French Rabbit Wines

Tetra Pak has lead the way in progressive packaging design for years (from portable juice boxes to soap refill containers) and this Tetra product is no different. French Rabbit wines are derived from sustainably harvested vineyards in Southern France and French Rabbit also reinforces its sustainable stance throughout its packaging choices.

This Tetra-Prisma container reduces packaging by 90 percent compared to traditionally bottled wines and the lighter-weight design allows for two additional glasses of wine per container, providing consumers with one litre of wine for the same price as a 750 mL bottle. That’s enough to make anyone smile! An additional eco benefit of this design is the fresh sealing capabilities. Simply squeeze excess air from the Pak and twist the cap back on to enjoy wine that stays fresher than traditionally corked bottles. Now that is change we can all drink to!

Cohesive Design

Absolut Disco

Talk about getting the party started! This life-of-the-party packaging consists of a 2-piece reflective case that snaps around a bottle of Absolut Vodka. This design captures what consumers want most: to have a great time… and Absolut Vodka has done just that! This product will get you dancing and make you never want to stop!

Popcorn Popped Package

These pint-sized packages of popcorn are witty because they mimic the event happening within them, by “popping” open when the contents inside do the same. What a fun way to eat a tasty treat!

Panasonic Note

This simple, ingenious little package is certainly eye catching. Its minimalist design isn’t that much different from the way ear phones are typically packaged, which is why this so clever. There isn’t anything outrageously fancy about the packaging; it’s all about the subtlety of arranging the ear buds in a way that makes sense with the product. Bravo!

It’s interesting to think that with each item scanned through the checkout, we, the consumers are voting for the products we want to see on store shelves. Whether the products we buy consist of packaging that’s eco-friendly, cohesively designed, or neither, our choices pave the way for future decisions. We are powerful! Stay tuned for the last installment of this three-part series where I will be exploring quirky and “unexpected” packaging from Nike, Reebok and many others.


Diana Varma is an Instructor at the School of Graphic Communications Management at Ryerson University and the Owner of ON-SITE First Aid & CPR Training Group, a health & safety company that provides training to the Graphic Arts Industry.