Star Students

1 September 2005 (Last Updated September 1st, 2005 18:30)

With IMPZ and the GPTF taking place in Dubai, it seems the city is becoming an important venue for packaging events. The WSS competition shows that such events can promote packaging across the world.

Star Students

Winning entries

Ghana Four Student Stars
Gulf One Student Star
Singapore Eight Student Stars
South Africa Five Student Stars
Sri Lanka Six Student Stars
Turkey Three Student Stars

Two important international events in the field of packaging took place in the city of Dubai on 10 and 11 July 2005: the International Media Production Zone (IMPZ) and the Gulf Pack Trade Fair (GPTF).

It is exciting to see the city of Dubai becoming an important venue for Asian and global packaging events. The enthusiasm expressed by the authorities in Dubai will no doubt promote the country's packaging sector in particular and the region in general.

As we all know, packaging plays an important role in the product distribution chain. The value and the practical functions of packaging in relation to society are widely recognised. The level of packaging technology in developing countries is lagging behind developed countries. This has affected the effective distribution of goods across national boundaries, creating constraints in the march towards national competitiveness.

A concerted global and regional approach, perhaps through education, may be necessary. The World Packaging Organisation (WPO), the global packaging body, and the Asian Packaging Federation, one of the leading regional packaging bodies, could assist the needy countries in establishing general, or perhaps country-specific, action plans needed to install harmonised package development schemes for truly globalised packaging solutions.

Promising students

With these in mind, Dharma Ratnayake, the president of APF, who is also a vice president of the WPO and chairman of the World Student Star Committee, set about organising the first ever World Student Star competition.

In conjunction with the judging of the World Student Star (WSS) competition that took place on 10 July 2005 at Hotel Towers Rotana in Dubai, the 52nd meeting of the APF board of administration was held on 11 July 2005 at the same venue chaired by Ratnayake, with delegates from Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka, and representatives from the WPO and the International Trade Centre.

On an initiative taken by Binghalib, and on the advice of Ratnayake, and Carl Olsmats, the secretary of the WPO, steps are being taken to form a packaging body in the Gulf region, called the Gulf Packaging Federation with the intention of joining the APF and the WPO once the new federation is established. This federation intends to work with these two major bodies, for the improvement of the packaging industry in the region, as well as other parts of the world.

The WSS competition is still a new event for most of the countries in the world. Only a handful of packaging organisations around the world conduct such packaging awards for students. The student population is a highly potent stratum in our society. There is no doubt that they could contribute their novel views and concepts by transforming them into package design prototypes.

The WSS competition will be a forum for harnessing the potential of the global student market towards developing a better global packaging industry. It was established to give further recognition to those students who win student stars at national or regional competitions.

It is also to encourage the national packaging organisations to hold student star contests at national level, so that those students in their countries who win national stars get the opportunity to get further recognition on a global level.

All the entries that were submitted for WSS 2005 competition had won national awards. Those that had won regional awards were of a very high standard. The panel of judges consisted of packaging professionals from Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland and Dubai. They were requested to give marks to each entry separately taking into consideration six criteria:

  1. Ingenuity or novelty of concept
  2. Sales appeal/graphics
  3. Package suitability for protection preservation and transportation
  4. Environmental compliance
  5. Ease of processing
  6. Overall impression

Jacky Charbonneau, the senior packaging adviser of the International Trade Centre, Geneva, and Carl Olsmats, the secretary of the WPO, were prominent members of the panel of judges.

As it was the first WSS competition, the panel of judges had to take certain important decisions and also made recommendations for future competitions. Initially, the process of judging started without revealing the country of origin. However, after judging a few entries it was felt that the country of origin would help in assessing the context in which the packaging development had taken place.

It was agreed that at the level of students, with arts and printing backgrounds, the concept of attractiveness is more important than the construction and optimisation. So the entries were assessed more on this basis.

It was also suggested that, since during the professional packaging courses students also undertake market studies, optimisation studies and research work, the same should be considered for future WSSr competitions.

An interesting feature observed by the organisers and the members of the panel of judges was that, except for entries submitted by students in Singapore through the Packaging Council of Singapore, all the other entries had been submitted by developing nations in Asia, the Middle East and Africa and there were none from developed countries.

It was encouraging to observe that 75 per cent of the entries submitted by students from these countries reached the standard set by the panel of judges to receive a Student Star.