Technology in the innovation process

An interview with Thomas Reissig

Thomas Reissig, Managing Director of packaging design and technology company VerDeSoft1 speaks to IN about packaging trends, the impact of technology on the process and the increasing importance of collaboration across the value chain.

What makes a packaging design successful?

The best packaging designs are the ones that transport the story of the product directly to the customer–ideally through a range of mediums; including graphics, shape, material and functionality.

What are the top three emerging trends in the packaging value chain?

  1. Shorter life cycle of products, meaning smaller quantities are being produced but with greater design variety and functionality.
  2. Individualization and personalization of packaging.
  3. “Natural looking” and sustainable packaging solutions.

What is the end-user increasingly looking for in packaging design?

As a general rule, the end-user isn’t overly concerned about new trends in packaging design. Rather, consumers are more concerned about buying products with attractive, functional and easy-to recycle packaging. Consumers are drawn to packaging which looks “natural” and “sustainable” when they have the choice. Two such examples include packaging that is matte or looks like paper. Perhaps the appeal of paper packaging comes from a growing public awareness among consumers of plastic pollution such as marine litter in the ocean. However, many consumers are also unaware of how sustainable other packaging types–such as plastic–can be.

Can you explain a bit about VerDeSoft’s role in the design and production process?

VerDeSoft is able to guide the new packaging concept through the long and complex development chain. There are so many innovative and creative ideas developed by design agencies and brands, but unfortunately many of these never end up on the shelf as they are unable to meet production, technology, consumer and functionality requirements and are too costly. Packaging tends to stick to the tried and tested models, namely pouches, folding boxes or blister packs. However, because of our creativity and packaging technology know-how, VerDeSoft has the ability to think from both sides and develop the packaging material, the structural design and utilize the necessary technology to produce innovative products.

How does the process work throughout the value chain?

The majority of our projects come directly from brand owners but a proportion also come from converters, raw material suppliers and machine manufacturers. Over the last few years, we have seen a surge in the number of projects coming directly from material and machine suppliers–as opposed to converters and brand owners–who are increasingly interested in development trends and new packaging concepts that incorporate new materials and machinery.

What are the benefits for the brand owner of collaborating with a company such as VerDeSoft?

We have a holistic packaging development process–not only are we able to provide an innovative design, but we also have the capability to run the whole process until the product is on the shelf. It’s extremely useful to collaborate with a company that has both the creative capabilities as well as access to a packaging lab with different processing technology and tools for sampling and the ability to mock-up packaging from original materials. Working with an independent agency also ensures that the outcome is not limited to the product range available from the supplier and to protect the developed intellectual property, based on the contracts signed before the process.

The case study…

We recently worked on a project, from start to finish, with start-up “Frizle” who developed the idea to create a new chilled product. They were looking for a convenient packaging solution for their “Spätzle”-dough which would allow the consumer to squeeze the dough directly into boiling water, creating fresh “Spätzle”-pasta. This was the perfect briefing for us, and in fact, the design won both a German packaging design award followed by a gold medal at DuPont’s International Packaging Awards. The product has just gone to market…so let’s see what the future holds!


CONTRIBUTORS

Thomas Reissig

Managing Director VerDeSoft

German packaging design and technology company VerDeSoft is a service company developing packaging innovations in a variety of industries. In “Technology in the innovation process”, Reissig discusses the impact of technology in the packaging industry and the crucial importance of partnering up throughout the value chain.


Footnotes

1Founded in October 2000, German company VerDeSoft combines packaging design with engineering activities to create, develop and realize innovative packaging solutions for brand owners in a variety of materials. The company runs the entire process including creative idea generation, computer animation, detailed technical design to mock-ups and industrial samples (all made from the end-use material).