Packaging Design is Child’s Play
With consumer pressure encouraging every company to consider the sustainability of packaging, it has never been more important to reduce, reuse and recycle. When packaging is designed to encourage reuse, it can have a positive impact on the brand, as well as on the environment.
The Play Potential of Cardboard Boxes
In her book, The Design of Childhood, author Alexandra Range identifies that the simplest toys are often those which aid the development of creativity and independence. She notes that as the size and demand for household appliances grew, the play potential of large cardboard boxes was realised.
Any parent can identify times when their child has appeared more interested in the large box, than the expensive gift inside. Building on this play potential is a fantastic way to encourage the reuse of packaging. This approach was considered by American company Target.
Hitting the Target with Packaging Design
Target was keen to come up with a fresh design for their delivery boxes. Rather than simply branding the boxes with their logo, they wanted to engage with their customers.
A rival to Amazon, they package goods in a range of different sized cardboard boxes. They used available data to identify the three most popular sizes. Accounting for around 70% of all deliveries, they focused attention on these.
Each Target delivery box now includes a black and red printed image of Bullseye, the dog. On one box, Bullseye is driving a delivery van. When unpacked, the box instantly becomes the perfect vehicle for young children to play in. The largest size features a dolls house design. They encourage reuse and spark imagination, without the need for a hard-hitting environmental message.
Packaging to Promote Play
This idea of designing packaging that could be repurposed for play is nothing new. Renowned designers, Ray and Charles Eames, were developing the concept back in the 1950s. They were engaged to design the packaging for Herman Miller’s modular design furniture. In addition to creating protective packaging and stylish branding, they also considered how the large boxes could be reused.
By printing dotted lines and child-friendly instructions on the reinforced cardboard packaging, they showed children how to transform the boxes into play spaces. The Herman Miller branding was strong and striking, adding colour to the boxes. Being made of cardboard, children could further personalise their boxes with crayons or paints.
Ray and Charles Eames managed to develop packaging that appealed to both design-conscious adult and fun-loving children. In addition, the reuse of the boxes reduced waste and added a delightful twist to the practical delivery process.
When Packaging is Part of the Product
Taking the concept a step further, some brands are now designing packaging that is part of the finished product. As we have been focusing on toys in this article, Tube Toys are a great example. The Tube contains all the parts to build simple tractors, trains and other vehicles and also forms the central piece in the design.
Would adding a touch of fun to your packaging design help to build excitement, stimulate creativity and encourage reuse? If an idea is forming, get in touch with Aylesbury Box Company on 01296 436888.
Our cardboard engineering skills and knowledge of manufacturing and print process can help your vision become a reality.