top of page

Jonathan Ford: All Aboard for the Future of Packaging Design

Jonathan Ford from Pearlfisher was another one of the presenters at the Dieline Summit in Paris, 2014. He presented a picture of the future of brand and packaging design that focused on sustainability, problem solving via various forms of smart packaging, brand design as a powerful force for change, and some revolutionary requirements for brands to survive in the 21st Century. What follows are his four main points as we understood them:

  • Waste is a Problem that Must Be Solved. More than 90­% of packaging materials become waste almost immediately. This is unsustainable. At the very least packages must become reusable, but can be much more. Example: The Water Bobble is a single bottle with a filter; it filters the water so it does not need to be transported, therefore saving transportation costs, gasoline, decreases carbon emissions, and only one plastic bottle is used instead of many. The goal: “A world without any packaging that lasts longer than the time it's used for.”

  • Smart Packaging Can Solve Multiple Problems, including waste. Smart Packaging is where graphics, form, and sustainability intersect. It includes at least two kinds increased functionality: Active packaging that can change shape or control moisture; Intelligent packaging that can communicate the status of the contents or its location in the supply chain. Example: Square oranges and tessellated shapes that require less shipping space, and different kinds of delivery systems that require less packaging, such as bio-packaging made of edible protein films or delivery by drone (we’re not sure about this one, just because or safety issues, but here are some other examples).

  • Brand Design As a Powerful Force for Change. Design can promote behavioral change by creating engaging experiences (telling stories) and by forcing people to reappraise what they have become used to, by making it better. Example: The Green & Black’s chocolate brand told a story, established fair trade and organic credentials that spread to other products, and its design helped brand its message to a wider audience. The growth of this brand created jobs, livelihoods and stronger economies.

  • Requirements for Band Survival. For brands to survive in the 21st Century, they must be based on powerful ideas, truthfulness, and transparency. The ideas must stand for something positive and make an impact. Choices must be clear, authentic and honest. Your sustainable message must be backed up with actual sustainability. Examples: Method, Help Remedies, Jamie Oliver, Froosh Smoothies, Waitrose. You must champion the power of great brand design as a progressive force for change, and encourage creative confrontational thinking through authentic brand expression.

His challenge: Dream, be courageous, take risks, challenge, discover. Brand design can transform lives and make things better, if there is a commitment to true innovation. Think alternatively and challenge the status quo—be a disruptive leader. Create a new design language and innovate to become environmentally sustainable. Make a positive impact on people’s lives through your product, service, experience, or brand. Don’t be lazy or timid. His hope is to be able to say that Pearlfisher, “helped create brands that did good and made lives better for people, and inspired others to do the same.”





Success! Message received.

bottom of page