Today we offer segment 5 in our interviews on packaging in today’s retail market. The point of view comes from Steve Liska, owner at Liska + Associates in Chicago, Illinois.
Steve Liska founded Liska+Associates in 1980. He is actively involved in each project, supervising all steps to ensure that the firm continues to provide creative solutions that meet and exceed client’s objectives. Steve is the author of Business Graphics, the only comprehensive book about the relationship between design and business. His work and writing has appeared in Print Magazine, Under Consideration, Communication Arts and other design journals. A frequent design judge and lecturer, Steve has taught master’s programs at a number of universities.
1. In today’s packaging, how much emphasis is placed on form and how much on graphics? Is one more dominant than the other?
Form today has more to do with end use, shipping, eco requirements, quantity, customization, competitive form factors, etc. Which all tie into graphics- so I would say they are equal- since they have to work together seamlessly.
2. Has the focus on sustainability in packaging leveled off or will it continue to rise?
I think for end users it is expected, for manufacturers and distributors- a lot has to do with cost and demands from retailers. I think it has leveled off for now.
3. With the growing number of products entering the market, what are the expectations of companies in regards to sales performance based on package design and do you feel they are realistic?
Expectations are high- but the reality is that the content/product tied to marketing and price are equally important factors.
4. Do you find budgets for package design growing or shrinking?
Shrinking- with greater use of stock solutions.
5. When designing a package, how connected are you to the manufacturing and fulfillment segments?
Very connected- everyone has to work together to solve the problem efficiently.
6. How often have you bought a product based on the package?
Very- but I am in the design business- so visual priorities trump price and quality sometimes.
7. Have you ever purposely designed a package to have a life (or use) past the product it contains?
Often- I think the next step in eco-sensitivity will be adaptive reuse of packaging.
8. Many consumers complain about clamshell packaging due to the difficulty in opening one. Since that feature is in place to deal with theft, how would you counter or improve that part of the clamshell design?
Opening tabs, special seals, not sure. The problem is more in the merchandising and the fact that theft is rampant.
9. What package would you like to design?
Anything exclusive, high end and exotic- and maybe repackage Pepsi.
10. What is your favorite package?
Anything from Apple- it becomes a gift and is experiential, and I rarely throw them out.