Blogger Sofia Erixson’s view of design trends and tomorrow’s packaging
Sofia Erixson has one of Sweden’s biggest packaging blogs. Here, she tells us about how it all started and treats us to some trendspotting, such as unboxing, the comeback of handwriting and packaging that talks to us. Further, she shares her views on the challenges for today’s packaging developers.
Spring 2009 was Sofia Erixson’s last semester at Nackademin in Stockholm, where she trained to become a packaging designer. It was then she decided to start a blog about packaging design. Today her blog is Sweden’s biggest in that category. She has become an influential authority in packaging design, and been a member of the PIDA Sweden jury.
Tell us about yourself and your background
“I am a Stockholmian who has settled in Malmö where I work as a packaging developer at Orkla Foods Sweden. I love problem-solving, colour and shape. And my great interest in packaging is the reason why I have one of Sweden’s biggest packaging blogs today.
Friends and colleagues often ask me how I find the time to pursue all my projects. Balance in life is something I hold in high regard, but as long as you enjoy something you have energy to give.”
“What has grown big in 2017, that I’m sure we will see more of next year, is the come-back of handwriting.”
What are this year’s biggest trends in packaging design?
“One thing that is becoming clearer every year is the fact that companies see packaging as part of a significant whole. The packaging is more than a necessary evil.
I believe in an increase in more sustainable packaging – and that food companies will inform consumers about the great environmental impact of food waste and what consumers can do to care for the environment and save money at the same time.
What has grown big in 2017, that I’m sure we will see more of next year, is the come-back of handwriting.
I also believe that e-commerce will continue to grow. And I can see that many companies are waking up to the concept of unboxing which can grow really big and go viral in social media if it’s packed and presented right.”
What will our packaging look like in the future?
“Digitalization will impact heavily on our packaging. In terms of both structural design and graphic design. And the way we do our shopping!
When it comes to food I hope we will get smarter bar codes that can tell us about expiry dates and whether I have to eat it today or if it’s safe to wait until tomorrow. I also hope that companies will want to choose materials from renewable sources, in spite of higher cost.
And I think we will see packaging that is better adapted to the product and offer better durability/barrier functions although the pack has lower weight. In addition, I hope that more countries around the world improve their recycling of packaging.”
A packaging blog, where I could gather inspiration for myself while sharing my thoughts and ideas with others, felt like a super thing to do. Looking back, my timing was perfect.
Yours is Sweden’s biggest packaging blog. How did it all start?
“During my last year at Nackademin, in 2009, blogs were something new and exciting, especially when it came to packaging. I thought then that a packaging blog, where I could gather inspiration for myself while sharing my thoughts and ideas with others, felt like a super thing to do. Looking back, my timing was perfect. The big question is what comes next.”
What do your blog readers find most engaging?
“I get a lot of questions and thoughts about training for packaging design in Sweden. Many of those I have written back to are people I meet later on at various packaging events, which feels great. Something I get a lot of feedback on is humorous packaging, which I’m also very fond of personally.”
Besides your blog, you work as a packaging developer. What can you tell us about that profession?
“The way I see the role of a packaging developer is that it may differ from one workplace to another. At Orkla Foods Sweden we work in projects. I am one of six packaging developers who work independently but have a strong sense of belonging to a team.
I sometimes say that we are the hub of a project, where we are involved from beginning to end. During the course of a project we talk to colleagues with different functions within the company but also suppliers of packaging material and equipment. Another part of the job is to drive various types of optimization projects and develop our existing line of packaging. If they need packaging-related help at our production sites we provide technical support.
It is our responsibility to make sure that our packaging solutions work along the entire value chain, from packing to consumer use. One launch that we are particularly proud of is the easy-to-open lid on our glass jars. We have received incredibly positive feedback from our consumers.”
A great challenge for a packaging developer is to come up with new solutions that are truly innovative. In many projects there is a will – but they end up in a compromise between cost, time and resources.
What are the greatest challenges in your profession?
“A great challenge for a packaging developer is to come up with new solutions that are truly innovative. In many projects there is a will – but they end up in a compromise between cost, time and resources. Our most successful packaging projects at Orkla Foods Sweden are those when packaging are considered at an early stage of the project.”
What is the best thing about your job?
“Among other things, that we keep an eye on trends. And that our products are part of so many people’s everyday lives. No two days are the same.
Because our factories are located on different sites geographically I get to travel a great deal. Which is fun and I meet lots of different people. At Orkla Foods Sweden there is a big focus on sustainable packaging, which I like personally and it’s also good for the environment.”
What is your experience of PIDA?
“The jury work for PIDA was very inspiring – meeting fellow industry professionals as well as meeting all the accomplished students. It was a day charged with energy, excitement and expectations! All the entries were incredibly high quality and the jury had a hard time picking the winners. What many of us jury members appreciated was the pitch that the students did just before the event. It provided us with more information and we got a clearer handle on the USP (Unique Selling Point) of the project. I have only one thing to say to all students who think about participating: Go on, do it! It’s a fun and exciting experience, where you get the chance to show your passion and creativity for more sustainable packaging.”