Wheeling, Ill. — In today's market, packaging design for blow molding is entering a new era, according to David Heisner, industrial design senior manager at Graham Packaging. More elements of design are starting to be prioritized than before.
"But in today's world, everything has to be sustainable," Heisner said. "Everything must be lighter, faster, aesthetic and functional. There's just so many things that go into design."
Heisner spoke at the Society of Plastics Engineers' Annual Blow Molding Conference, held Oct. 23-25 in Wheeling.
Learning to balance what the consumer needs and what the brand owner needs becomes more complicated within a circular economy, he said. The factors of the consumer experience, manufacturing materials, sustainability drivers, safety and convenience, and e-commerce all need to be balanced at once.
Heisner said design used to be mostly about self-impact. Now there are more challenges to solve to make a successful package.
"Before you know it, we will be getting packages sent to our houses through Amazon drones, and it's not that far away," Heisner said. "How is something like that going to affect the way we design for the future?"
He said designers need to focus on human factors and apply a creative thought process to stand out in the market. There is more of an emphasis on safety, convenience and sustainability, which will be beneficial for consumers.
"Sustainability is a huge, important factor for us and the consumers," he said. "Being responsible for the environment, understanding how to design things that are the best solution for lightweight reduction of plastic."
Beginning to reduce energy usage during a process can be a step forward to save money and become more sustainable, and it also affects the delivery system. The package design also impacts how to plan for the afterlife of the package.
Heisner points out current delivery systems and how much cardboard and plastic are used within shipping. Package designers must consider that more products will be shipped directly to consumers.
Blending creativity, user experience and technical foresight can help decide the best blow molding process, and having a design team on staff that can create realistic renderings and samples for consumer testing can be an advantage.