In January, two Clemson packaging student teams competed in the annual 48 Hour Repack student packaging design competition hosted by the IoPP Southeastern Chapter. In this competition, students have 48 hours to conceptualize, design, prototype, brand and market their unique packaging designs. This usually has Clemson students holed up at the Sonoco Institute all weekend to utilize the design software and prototyping equipment placed there. We connected with this year’s teams to find out more about their experiences!
We chose the second challenge to redesign the Hi-Cone six-pack PET bottle carrier to allow for both bottle and carrier to be recycled together.
What inspired our design was being minimal while remaining functional. We did this by honoring the space that the PET six-pack took up on the shelf. This included adding no extra dimensions to the six-pack footprint by way of the carrier, as well as making sure the handles did not conflict with shelf height.
A logistical challenge we had to overcome was scrapping our first idea and having to take a few steps back. We had an idea by the end of the first night, but after some thinking it turned out to be not as practical or functional as we thought. So, we had to go back to the drawing board and consider our other options the morning of day two and then hit the ground running.
We worked together to accomplish this challenge by taking up different roles and also offering our opinions and suggestions to other team members on what they were working on. So, while we had our own roles we were all involved, especially for the general brainstorming process. Gaby designed the package graphics in Illustrator, wrote the design rationale and assisted with pitch video captions. Thomas worked in ArtiosCad to develop the dieline, and he recorded and edited the video. Michael took the product photos and ensured that our product did not have any negatives other than cost and ensured that the group worked in an efficient manner.
We mainly utilized the computer lab for the design end in ArtiosCAD and Illustrator. We took advantage of the prototyping lab’s Fujifilm Acuity printer and Esko Kongsberg cutting table to bring our designs to life and test them out.
Dubnicka: What I learned from this process that I can take with me into the future is really how the package development and design process is applied, from the conception of the idea to the ultimate product. Of course, this project was accelerated, but being exposed to this type of challenge helped me understand the timeline, brainstorming and collaboration that is necessary to achieve a goal like this. I plan on taking this understanding and applying it to my co-op assignment.
Breslin: This project required a lot of creative thinking which forced me to practice my skills and improve them. A lot of quick decision making had to be done for this project and I hope to take that with me into the professional field. Using the things I learned in class in a real world challenge gave me more confidence and outlook on professional possibilities.
Lynch: This project really was quite a challenge, with the limited time decisions had to be made and our idea had to be the best. The biggest take away for me was really learning how to read an assignment and figure out what the customer wants. The challenge was pretty open-ended but making sure that our product did not cause the six-pack to take up any more space was the thing I’m proudest of about our product. The challenge gave me the confidence to lead a team in the real world.
Taylor: We chose to respond to the challenge to design a six-pack aluminum can carrier to improve curbside recyclability. Plastic HiCone rings are not widely recycled, and can even damage recycling machinery, so we looked to paperboard as an alternative.
Basel: One of the most obvious elements of our design is the triangle shape. We wanted to stand out against a conventional 2×3 rectangle. We knew we also needed a convenient handle that would work after the product was opened. We had a great brainstorming session Friday night and didn’t get too attached to any idea, which let us keep the creativity going once we started running into problems.
Taylor: The most difficult aspect of the challenge was trying to come up with a design that was unique but still functional. This year’s prompt was very similar to the 2020 Repack challenge, so we struggled to be inventive having seen the past contest results. Another logistical challenge that caught us by surprise was having to alter the dieline to hold Coors cans, which are slightly slimmer and taller than conventional aluminum cans of the same capacity.
Basel: We considered assigning different roles, but considering none of us had done 48 Hour Repack before and had limited prototyping experience, we figured we would go with the flow. I definitely gravitated towards graphics because I have a stronger background in Illustrator. But you can’t work on the video until you finish graphics and you can’t work on graphics until you finish the dieline, so all of us played a role at every stage.
Taylor: We started ArtiosCAD and Adobe Illustrator in the computer lab. In the prototyping lab, we brought our ideas to life using the Acuity digital printer as well as the Kongsberg.
Basel: This process gave me a lot of confidence in my design abilities. It’s one thing to do a class project with guidance but it’s another to work through a prototype with only your peers. Seeing those skills in action was incredibly gratifying. The best part about the project was working with my teammates, and taking that collaborative spirit into future projects will always be key to a successful design.
Taylor: Having the opportunity to practice the process of prototyping was so valuable, especially with the added time pressure. I have not had any classes in the Harris A. Smith building due to classes being mostly online, so it was great to get some hands-on experience sending files to be printed and using the machinery. It was also great to work with other people and learn from their methods and creative processes. This experience has altered my mindset and kept me thinking creatively about the packaging around me.
Whitfield: I learned a lot about how to work with a team. When multiple people are working on a project, differing opinions can arise. I learned a lot about hearing other ideas and looking for a new and improved way to move forward.
Winners will be announced in March. Check out these awesome videos the teams put together!