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Michael Hendrix: Five Points On Packaging Design

February 22, 2015

 

 

Michael Hendrix (partner and managing director at IDEO) presented at the recent Dieline Summit in Paris. This is our summary of his extremely important and fascinating points. (Any misunderstandings or mistakes are ours):

 

1. Design as a Transformative Tool.  Design can disrupt and transform markets. It has the power—the subtle influence—to EMPOWER people, to make people HAPPIER, to make products FRIENDLIER, and to make businesses more EFFECTIVE.  Therefore, design is for, about, and should be in response to, people and their needs, wants and desires.  Therefore design is of ultimate importance and a high responsibility endeavor.

 

  • Example (ours)  The iPod was not the first mp3 player, it was not the iPod technology that transformed personal listening, the way many people get information via podcasts, and completely disrupted and transformed the music industry, it was the design.  It was compact, friendly and minimal, and empowered people to enjoy all their music, anywhere, any  time. It simplified complexity (it used to be very difficult to load music onto an mp3 player).  It made people freer and happier. It was the essence of customer-centric design thinking.

  • Key Questions: What elements of your designs have the ability to transform peoples thinking and behavior for the better? What elements of your designs address the real needs of consumers? 

 

2. Packaging must adapt to the sharing economy[1] and the maker culture[2]. Packaging must become easier to customize, designed so that it can be producible in low volumes, and have unique functions.  It will require the retooling of production lines, making them smaller and more adjustable for individual design, this is being done with algorithms.

  • Example:  IDEO’s Pill Pack is an example of a disruptive technology.  Medicines are individually pre-packed with the date and time printed on each packet. The packets come in a roll, in a recyclable box.  This meets a real need by simplifying complexity.  This is redefining how customers engage with their pharmacy.  

  • Key Question: How can you package your products so they are personalized, and which appeal in a way that makes people want to share the idea, and makes it easier for people to use the product?

 

 

IDEO's PIllPack (see original post here)

 

 

 

IDEO's PIllPack (see original post here)

 

3. Increase the experience by designing with visual, tactile, aural, and olfactory metaphors. “Embodied Cognition” means that all aspects of cognition are shaped by aspects of the body and the five senses.  Sense and Imagination are the same to the brain, and packaging is a perfect place to explore this idea.  He offered an “Emotive Design Framework”[3] (figure at the right), which takes into account:

 

  • The “Unconscious understanding of the meaning of different physical objects through our extensive interactions with them;

  • “Designers can extend and adapt the existing symbolic meanings through the design of these objects, adding a layer of emotive expression by manipulating their forms;

  • “Tactile Allegory explores the physical design language encoded into objects and asks: how can objects be computationally designed to communicate specific information through their very forms? He also mentioned Object based Media[4].

 

 

 EmotiveModeler: Tactile Allegory Design Framework (above) which shapes are connected to which emotions. This has been integrated into some 3D design software by the Object-Based Media Group at the MIT Media Lab, EmotiveModeler: Flavorful Forms Bottle Design Tool (below) to design emotive shapes that express the emotions of the flavors in container.  The user inputs emotive descriptors of the flavors the bottle contains and it adjusts the shape according to the Tactile Allegory Design Framework.

 

 

4. Complexity and the Socialization of the web bring new opportunities and new problems.  It allows us to order information in our own way, which allows us to get exactly what we want, but it also allows us to form micro worlds that become homogenous and create false reality bubbles.

 

  • Example: People who set their RSS feeds to control which news sights they see, therefore they might be getting only a rightwing or a leftwing take on the news, with no balance, which produces a slanted and unreal view of the world.

  • Key Question: How do we design dissent or randomness into the system to keep us honest and in reality?

 

 

5. Designers of the future will: be multi-disciplinary with even broader curiosity; be able to and like to work in, and experiment with, different mediums; have education in more than one field; have unique perspectives; approach all problems with design thinking; have confidence in intuition, a commitment to meaning, and a curiosity in the diverse world around us; have integrity to sand behind what they do. And most importantly they will know that packaging is beyond just craft, that it is about participation and meaning, it is genuine extension of a product, a part of the experiences.

 

Notes:

 

[1] Sharing economy: The basic premise of this concept that when information about goods is shared—via word of mouth and especially via social media—the value of those goods may increase, for the business, for individuals, and for the community. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharing_economy)

 

[2] The maker culture: This is a contemporary subgroup of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) culture that primarily relies on new technologies the allow people to invent, design and manufacture on a small scale. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maker_culture)

 

[3] Designing with metaphores: visual, tactile, aural, and olfactory. (http://www.metropolismag.com/Point-of-View/September-2013/Designing-with-Metaphors/)

 

[4] Object based Media: When self-aware content meets context-aware consumer electronics (http://obm.media.mit.edu)

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like our other posts about The Dieline packaging design summit in Paris, in November, 2014:

 

  • LELAND MASCHMEYER (COLLINS): ACCELERATING BRAND GROWTH THROUGH STORY-DRIVEN DESIGN

  • JONATHAN FORD (THE DIELINE): ALL ABOARD FOR THE FUTURE OF PACKAGING DESIGN

  • LORI GROSS AND TESSA WESTERMEYER (LANDOR): DEFINING THE FUTURE OF PACKAGING THROUGH GREAT DESIGN

  • ALEX CENTER (COCA-COLA): THE FUTURE OF PACKAGING DESIGN

  • MICHAEL HENDRIX (IDEO): DESIGNING FOR THE FUTURE WHICH IS NOW

  • REBECCA COSTA (SOCIOBIOLOGIST): EMBRACING FAILURE AND LEADING THE CHANGE

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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