With 180 participants, November 2009’s edition of the Korsnäs Packaging Impact Design Awards at the Hochschule der Medien in Stuttgart set a new record. The students contributed top-quality entries, and the theme of luxury and sustainability engaged the audience long after the official programme of lectures and debates was over and the socialising had begun. Enthusiasm ran high, and the last participants didn’t leave until hours later.

A longing for luxury has been a constant through the ages, but nowadays we prefer our luxury with a dose of responsibility for coming generations. Designers, brand owners and converters have to be able to express these values in packaging to attract consumers in the long run. Many interesting aspects of the issue came up during the course of the day in the presentations and discussions.

Thomas Düllo, a professor of verbal communication at the Berlin University of the Arts, provided a cultural perspective, while Cornelia Diethelm, head of issue management at the retail chain Migros in Zürich, gave examples of the challenges facing brand owners today. Dr Christoph Häberle, a professor of packaging, design and marketing at the Hochschule der Medien, led an interesting panel debate in which the audience took part too.

After the students presented their entries, the chairman of the awards jury, designer Roman Klis, summed up the competition. “The results of this year’s PIDA Germany are unquestionably the best yet. These were the most creative entries we have seen, from simple, smart solutions to designs that are truly complex in both their construction and their graphic design. Some of this work is good enough that it could be put on the market as is.”

Pack and display

As always, the awards ceremony was the high point of the day. This year’s design challenge was to design both a pack and a display for an imaginary personal care or chocolate brand. Roman Klis reminded everybody that the focus of the competition is packaging impact – the goal is to stand out from the crowd and break into the ‘must have’ category. It was a close match between the three winning entries, which were far ahead of the others. A total of 18 groups competed, all of whom are being sponsored by Korsnäs with a study visit to Sweden and a tour of the Frövi production facility.

First prize

Cleopatra bubble bath: a pyramidal tabletop display with upside-down pyramid packs. The packs are easy to open and are held together with a single fastener. By Christian Heizmann and Michael Fischer.

Second prize

Chocolate Tangram: a tabletop display with intricate packs of fine chocolate triangles in small boxes that together form a puzzle. By Sabin Bara, Jonatan Scherer and Sebastian Zeug.

Third prize

Davenport: a chocolate pack that also serves as a display, hanging from a door handle. A gift pack and a stylish calling card in one. By Markus Frey, Marcel Messner, Malte Seidel and Markus Zellhuber.