Lemtapes and Aalto University collaborate to design a user friendly, ecological package

In Aalto University’s package design course, Pack-Age, a multidisciplinary student group developed a new, ecological Bag in Box solution in collaboration with Lemtapes. The result was a visual and environmentally friendly package, with its corrugated cardboard handle reinforced with Lemtapes Eco Tape. This replaces the plastic handle and provides user-friendly and easy recycling.

Two of Lemtapes' Bag-in-Box packages against a yellow background.

Lemtapes reinforcement tapes have long been used to strengthen packaging handles for a number of companies, like Olvi, Hartwall, Saku, and many more. Lemtapes wanted to bring the same idea to bag-in-box drink packaging, making them easier to use and more ecological. Lemtapes suggested the idea to Aalto University’s package design course.

Lemtapes’ packaging challenge to the Pack-Age students was to design a better and more ecological BiB wine package. In addition to corrugated cardboard, Lemtapes reinforcement tape, like Eco Tape – made from recycled material – or cellulose-based Pure Tape, was used as material.

The design process proceeded in stages, starting with an initial brief from Lemtapes. The project then moved on to background research, brainstorming, concept design and prototyping – all carried out by the team of students.  The process involved testing, researching and developing various options based on feedback from several perspectives.

In-depth background research was conducted to develop a clear understanding of user experience, packaging, materials, distribution channels and global trends in wine packaging. Among other insights, the research found that many people are looking for more ecological solutions to plastic handles and that bag-in-box packaging is difficult to open.

“Our background research made it easier to develop solutions tailored to a specific context and user environment.”

Markus Joutsela, lecturer and packaging design researcher at Aalto University
A portrait of Markus Joutsela, researcher at Aalto University.
Markus Joutsela (photo by Veera Konsti)

The design process resulted in a package that combines cost-effective construction, visual appeal and sustainability. The package handle was manufactured from corrugated cardboard reinforced with Lemtapes Eco Tape. The resulting integrated cardboard handle is flat, which carries an advantage during both storage and transport.

Reinforcement tape was applied during the manufacturing stage, increasing the cost-efficiency of production while enabling high-quality printing and a versatile appearance. The tape wraps around the package, making the empty carton easy to break down for recycling.

“Today, responsible packaging is almost a requirement for new brands. A growing number of consumers are demanding ecological packaging solutions, and even large companies are actively considering more responsible solutions for product packaging,” says Joutsela.

The end result of the project was a BiB packaging solution that replaces the plastic handles, fits cleanly into existing logistic chains, and reduces the amount of air in the package. All while being easy to handle, open, and recycle.

Lemtapes has secured design protection for the package. As project lead, Lemtapes will continue to explore the packaging’s business opportunities and is open to collaboration with brands and manufacturers.

Interested in a better Bag-in-Box solution?

Demonstrating the easy-open functionality of Lemtapes Bag In Box.

Packaging is key to a high-quality user experience and brand

According to Joutsela, user-centric design is essential in packaging production.

“Packaging needs to resonate with the consumer in a number of ways during the purchase process while communicating the product and its benefits. The user interface of the packaging also affects the user experience.”

Packaging is an important brand feature. It both supports and helps build the brand while communicating a range of its values to consumers. Packages without a well-designed and considered user experience often fail to earn a second purchase. According to Joutsela, this is not a sustainable branding and packaging strategy.

“A better strategy is to explore the ways in which packaging can add value to the consumer at every stage, from the moment it’s noticed to the moment it’s discarded, and what design solutions can make it better.“

According to Joutsela, the increase in experiential design in consumer product packaging and the significant growth of e-commerce packaging are major global trends in the packaging industry. Other trends include a heightened consideration of brand experience in e-commerce packaging solutions, as well as the circular economy and its packaging innovations.

“We are living through a global boom in the packaging industry and packaging, which offers many new opportunities for sustainable, domestic packaging operators.”

Lemtapes’ reinforced handles offer a better user experience and easier recycling. Do you want to swap the plastic handle in your packaging for a more sustainable, functional and cost-efficient solution?

Pack-Age is based on the principle of co-design, where students, teachers, universities and companies from various disciplines work together to develop better solutions. The Pack-Age course involves various higher education institutions, from Alto University, Lahti’s LAB Institute of Design and Fine Arts, and the Department of Food and Environmental Sciences at the University of Helsinki. Adara Pakkaus Oy, Metsä Board, Grano Oy and Norex Selected Brands Oy were also involved in the project.

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