To ensure that a design endures over time, having a great idea is only the beginning. Creating a product is no easy task and nor is designing its packaging. Its appearance must be recognisable to consumers, but in this, like in so many things, aesthetics is not everything. Packaging is design serving design, given that it takes part in the distribution and communication of products, even modifying their material characteristics. From a disciplinary point of view, it is a complex practice that is part of product design and graphic design.
Super– Packaging gives us a journey into the past, present and future of packaging and.or container design. Conceptualised as a fun experience for viewers to see, the show transforms an exhibition room into a supermarket in which we can analyse our routines as consumers through packaging design.
The first section takes us back to the origins of some design milestones, without which we could not understand the commercial landscape of the supermarket, from cans and aerosols to true universal and local icons, such as the Coca– Cola bottle or Cola Cao can.
Then it moves into the present day of packaging, represented by some of our country’s best design studios, exhibiting the different solu- tions provided today to companies that request their services. We can see works in diverse categories by Botánico Estudio (Salamanca), Sidecar (La Rioja), LaCía and Delamata Design (Madrid), Lavernia&Cienfuegos (Valencia), Estudio Maba and Eduardo del Fraile (Murcia) and Cabello x Mure (Jaén).
Each year some of these studios are honoured at the Pentawards, the most important international awards for packaging design. They value the end result of the design process, including the production, transport, warehousing, logistics, sale and use by clients.
What is the future of packaging design? This future is linked to its disappearance. There are so many problems from the use and abuse of plastics and its by– products, with environmental resources that are nearly exhausted, that the search for alternative designs is vitally important for the industry. Society needs more lightweight and easier to transport packaging that contribute to reducing the carbon footprint and that, furthermore, are recyclable.
Some of the projects presented by Super – Packaging would
be unthinkable with technological advances. Research into new materials is fundamental to increase the functionality of packaging, providing universal solutions adapted to all types of consumers, from the elderly to the youngest. Many designers today are already proposing new ways of thinking and doing. Replacing plastic bottles with strong, edible and biodegradable bubbles, packaging projects manufactured with bioplastics from organic waste, or customised packaging to consumers’ tastes are just a few of the examples we are now starting to see on supermarket shelves of the future.
Produced by La Fábrica and curated by Ana Domínguez Siemens and José María Faerna, this exhibition aspires, on the one hand, to act as recognition to the creatives who devote their lives to packaging design. However, it is an attempt to guide the public’s eye, provoking thought on some daily objects whose appearance reveals much more than it may seem at first glance.