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Packaging plays an important role in marketing. As the ‘flagbearer’ of branded products it plays an vital role in differentiating competing products and can be decisive in influencing the purchasing choice made by consumers.

Structural packaging deals with all the elements of the package design that are not associated with the graphic design of the product such as the packaging materials, shape/form, function and performance.  In practice, separating the graphical and structural elements of the packaging is counter intuitive and the best results are often achieved when all elements are considered during the design process.  

Generic packaging is used everywhere and brands using generic packaging differentiate through the graphic design of the label and sometimes the colour of the packaging materials.  Packaging elements such as bottle caps, cardboard boxes and glass containers are common generic elements that are stripped down to their function and performance.

More often today, brand managers are looking to use structural packaging to differentiate their products in the marketplace.

Lets review one of the trends that we have noticed continuing to evolve in structural packaging design.

Green Packaging

The trend in all things green has found its way to structural packaging.  But as in the product world brand owners need watch out for “green washing”.  Consumers and customers will spot any disconnects in your overall brand, product and packaging message and these become seeds for discontent.

Lifecycle Analysis (LCA) is a tool commonly used in the packaging world, it is mainly used to establish why plastic is better than glass that is better than paper etc..  When used for good however, it can provide valuable insights into selecting preferred packaging solutions for your products,  even when applied at a rudimentary level.

New plastic materials that are biodegradable, compostable and made from plant based renewable materials are all available to use in packaging but don’t think that incorporating a particular component will make the whole environmental story.  A wholistic approach is required to ensure that every step, touch and technology is aimed at being as environmentally friendly as possible.

The continued focus on recyclability and packaging minimisation will remain for now and into the foreseeable future.  These make good economic as well as environmental sense.  Don’t get left behind in these areas.  They should remain as key influencers on all your packaging decisions.

If you have a need for aligning your structural packaging with your brand then we are the people to talk to.  Give This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. a call on 03 9413 9000 and arrange to come and talk with them about your packaging needs.

coke plant bottle small

In late 2009, Coca-Cola Co announced the selective global roll-out of its new PET bottle made from up to 30 per cent plant materials such as sugar and molasses.  The drinks giant said its PlantBottle containers were beginning to hit retail shelves across the world, with a planned production target of two billion by the end of next year.  Hailing the move as a “major step along our sustainable packaging journey”, chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent said Coke was the first to bring to market a recyclable PET plastic bottle made partially from plants.


Home Brands expand

We have seen the use of structural packaging to differentiate products in the marketplace move in the last 3 years into the packaging of generic and “home brand” goods as supermarkets and retail chains expand their ranges in competition to the established brands.   No longer do you get your deli items from Safeway packed into the common variety takeaway container.  Supermarkets have their very own pack designs to improve the experience of their customers.

Woolworths Salad Container

In our experience, supermarkets developing their "home brands" tend to shy away from differentiating wildly from the established brands and most often adopt a “me too” approach.  Whilst this remains the case, brand owners can stay  a step ahead by continuing to produce new and improved packaging solutions and experience for their customers.


Finish brand dishwashing tablets vs the generic branded Coles tablets