Let's Wrap it up!

krow Ireland’s Design Director, Colin Maguire shares the importance of food packaging design and the impact it can have on consumers.

I was brought up to believe you should never judge a book by its cover, “its what inside that counts” but I’ve never applied that logic when designing food packaging. When we pick up an apple or a banana we usually pick the ripest, freshest, least bruised fruit we can find because we know that what’s inside is good. The same principle is true when  purchasing packaged food products in a supermarket.

We always look for a brand we trust, colours that suggest fresh, images that say ‘eat me’ or nutritional information that gives us permission to eat. Packaging is such an important part of our food selection. It not only makes a product stand out on the shelf but it also protects them from chemical, physical and environmental factors that spoil, but most importantly packaging is what informs and helps us make our decision to purchase when we are standing in the supermarket.

We’re living in a world that is constantly pushing for change.  Packaging materials are being scrutinised more and more for how they are used in their lifecycle. Where once we threw packaging away thinking it would magically disappear, we are now standing at the bin with a conscience.  Taking care of our environment is key but that doesn’t just mean the complete removal of all packaging. We purchase products such as coffee, cocoa, fruits and nuts through fair trade schemes that help build whole communities, so to remove packaging would mean we couldn’t distribute with the same volume and therefore we couldn’t help those communities who rely on it.

In a ‘nutshell’, we all have a duty, as designers working alongside clients we have to look for new ways to say ‘eat me’ on a piece of packaging but seeing the whole environmental picture not just the short term ‘POP’ factor.

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