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Brand without pack


Packaging and sustainability ... it's not an easy marriage. A lot of sustainability is claimed, but in practice there are few truly sustainable examples. There are many obstacles for a brand or designer to switch to less, more sustainable or reusable packaging. And to make the right choices in doing so, as a designer or communications professional you have to take a lot into account (logistics, protection, food safety, legal requirements,...). How can you thereby capture the unique brand image, the unboxing experience or the recognizability of (single-use) packaging and maintain, or even better, promote communication with the customer? We collect answers to this communication issue in a strategic framework with guidelines and best practices on how to successfully communicate without physical or with reusable packaging.

Problem outline

The reduction and sustainability of (redundant or single-use) packaging is a complex issue with many considerations. Sometimes packaging can be omitted completely, sometimes it can be done with less or with a smarter design and sometimes, but certainly not always, reusable packaging is the most sustainable solution. 
Packaging is still an important touchpoint to communicate a brand, and that sometimes presents an obstacle to switching to more sustainable packaging.

As a brand, a communications professional or a designer, how do you catch the partial or total loss of that physically present user experience, image and brand position? 
We want to inform, inspire and provide visual designers and communication professionals with tools to overcome communication stumbling blocks.
We target everyone involved in marketing a product, with a focus on communication professionals and graphic or brand designers.

Research question

How can you successfully and correctly communicate with your target audience without physical, or with minimal or reusable packaging?   

  • What are obstacles for brands, designers and marketing and communications professionals to make the switch to no, minimal, more sustainable or reusable packaging?    
  • What are small and large steps they can take to make packaging or POS materials more sustainable, and still generate a clear brand image?
  • What are best practices in reducing packaging that are associated with successful communication?
research method
  • Through desk research, we collect academic and subject-specific information (articles, reports, white papers, podcasts, etc.) on reusable packaging and POS materials, the impact of packaging, alternative forms of communication, etc.  
  • We collect and study best practices from companies that are committed to reducing or eliminating (single-use) packaging, using innovative ways when leaving the touchpoint to communicate with consumers.
  • We conduct expert interviews with branding and packaging experts, and with professionals who were involved in the development of these good practices.