Students recognized at packaging design competition

Students’ creative and sustainable packaging design takes second place in national event

Michelle Cometa

Eight student packaging designs were entered in the Paperboard Packaging Alliance design competition. L’Orto, (far left) took second place among national university teams competing, continuing RIT’s success at Pack Expo International, held in Chicago Nov 6-9.

Three multidisciplinary teams of undergraduate students from RIT were recognized for their unique designs in the 2016 Paperboard Packaging Alliance Student Design Challenge.

Team L’Orto placed second overall in the competition with a unique packaging solution for single servings of pasta in a colorful, re-usable, multi-packet container. Team Wild Crunch took fifth place, and Team Le Sel received a “Shout Out” designation for their work. All three teams were made up of students from RIT’s packaging science, industrial design and graphic design programs.

The student competition is part of the annual Pack Expo International, held in Chicago Nov. 6-9, one of the largest trade shows for the packaging industry. Design challenge competitors represented 13 colleges and universities including RIT, the Fashion Institute of Technology and San Jose State, Indiana State and Clemson Universities. Participants were asked this year to design an unconventional, innovative premium package for dry goods food that contains a structural component that enhances its function and stands out on upscale grocery store shelves.

Team L’Orto is made up of two graphic design students, Wentian Chen from Beijing, China, and Nathan Gamson from Takoma Park, Md. and two packaging science students, Grace Milton from Galway, N.Y., and Marina Solis from Montvale, N.J. Their package is composed of three components, each of which contains pasta made with different root vegetables. The consumer interacts with each package as though he or she is picking the vegetable from the earth. The vintage Italian pasta graphics and illustrations enhance and complement the package forms, said Lorrie Frear, associate professor of graphic design in RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences.

“This solution is an upscale and innovative solution to a pasta package which distinguishes it at the point of sale,” said Frear, who co-taught the class with Bill Wynkoop, packaging science adjunct faculty member.

The collaboration between CAST and the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences over the past several years provides students with an opportunity to understand how designers and packaging professionals work together to influence a company’s brand and bottom line. This year, the students were part of a multi-disciplinary course, Packaging Design, and over the course of a semester, eight groups worked together on teams that resemble those found in the workplace. Coursework, and the challenge, provide the students with hands-on skills in project management, marketing and incorporating sustainable designs in product development. All eight student designs were entered in the 2016 Paperboard Packaging Alliance collegiate challenge. RIT has taken the top prize four times and has had top placements in each year since the competition began in 2005.

“Congratulations to the 2016 Student Design Challenge winners. Their paperboard packages stood out among designs from 16 schools—the highest participation rate since the challenge’s inception,” said American Forest & Paper Association President and CEO Donna Harman.

Winning student teams received a cash prize to share among team members and their respective schools received a cash award to support their academic program—first place: $5,500 to the team, $5,000 to the school; second place: $3,000 to the team, $3,000 to the school; and third place: $1,500 to the team, $1,500 to the school. Winners were chosen by a team of paperboard packaging industry professionals who rated submissions based on their response to the competition scenario, innovative structural and graphic design, functionality, and quality of the finished product.

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