Chicago — Good, says Mark Dziersk, isn't good enough anymore.
As managing director of industrial design firm Lunar, Dziersk thinks about trends — where caps and closures have been, where they are now and where they are going.
"The closure is the No. 1 area to make people feel great or feel terrible," he said at the recent Plastics Caps & Closures 2018 conference in Chicago.
And his job is to make people feel good about their purchases.
"The experience we have with a bottle or a dispense event, it defines your brand. It actually changes the way people think about your product," he said at the conference organized by Plastics News.
Opening caps and closures to dispense or consume products can be a ritual and quite important to the experience a consumer has, Dziersk said.
"There's this thing we like to say: 'Good design is not good enough.' It has to be outstanding. It has to be great design. It has to move you emotionally. And that's being proven in all the work we do right now, especially in the consumer packaging work. Especially in the touch point that defines your brand," he said.
"Caps and closures are the touch point that defines brands. They are as important as the bottle, if not more. And when those two come together is when you get a win," Dziersk said.
The designer said that there will be plenty of pushback from people within organizations who are not interested in embracing new ideas and new designs. But if one company does not do the work, somebody else will figure things out and they will become the Uber of caps and closures.
He borrowed from an observation by Pablo Picasso, who said all children are artists but some people lose creativity as they age.
"The trick is [to] remain an artist as you grow," he said.
But being artistic does not mean overengineering a cap or a closure for no reason.
"A lot of people are doing things in caps that are just, you know … uh … peculiar," he said. "I think a lot of the industry is obsessed with 'it can do this' as opposed to 'why should it do this.' So we have to think about that carefully.
"On the other hand, there are structures and caps that do things that are really super meaningful," he said.
Ultimately, designing the right cap or closure is not a straightforward process, Dziersk said.
"It gets a little crazy. We have to go to places that aren't linear or rational," he said.
Much of our purchasing decisions are made with emotional context that can't be defined, he said, so "we have to play in that wilderness."
"That looks like it's crazy town. But it's not. It's serious pushing back on a problem, diverging, converging, prototyping and then learning from those prototypes. Diverging again and then iterating until you get the right answer," Dziersk said.
Moving in a straight line from point A to point B will result in a seemingly good answer, but pushing the boundaries allows for "the best possible answer within the constraints of the project," he said.