Passion for Packaging Innovation

Multi-faceted aluminum can tries to improve consumer appeal

Here is another aluminum can design that stands out among the ones we have seen lately. This design adds no new functionality, or tangible consumer value, apart from some potential branding opportunity. However, we do believe that even in that area, this design is rather limited.

The idea here is to use a process called impact extrusion to make many flat surfaces on an otherwise round package.

Arrival of new processes, and application of old processes to new areas, often fuel technology driven innovation. Unfortunately, technology driven innovation often suffers from being a solution looking for a problem, as opposed to consumer centric innovation. This particular concept, seems to have originated from such a perspective.

There is a reason why most soft drink packages on the market are round, and it is not a random coincidence, It originates from round being an optimal design when contents are under pressure. That is why propane tanks, scuba tanks, etc. all employ round designs. Soft drinks in PET bottles are also packed in round designs.

The reasons behind this are simple to understand. One needs to look no further than airplane design. Pressurized airplane fuselage designs also are typically round or close to round, because they are typically designed to withstand lower ambient pressures at 35,000 feet, with the internal pressure of the airplane being higher relative to that of the ambient. To overcome this problem, airplane designers utilize something called monocoque design, which, ironically, is often demonstrated by standing on an aluminum can and showing that it can take the weight of a person until a very small dent is made on its side. Then the can promptly crushes.

To make the long story short, round is good, and non-round requires substantially more strength, which means higher gauge material. For airplanes, it means weight, for packages, it means cost. In our opinion, there is no consumer value in this concept, apart from a dubious branding potential, and therefore we do not believe that this is a well conceived concept.

This brings us to good packaging design. We do see a lot of package concepts out there, and we often see that they touch only one element of design, typically the aesthetics of the package. Usability, functionality, consumer value, and cost are often ignored, as well as many other fundamental factors such as distribution efficiency. More and more, successful package designs need to incorporate all of these factors in their designs to be successful, and that goes beyond aesthetic design, well into the area of package innovation, which is what we pride ourselves on.

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