From Paperboard to Eye-Stopping Project: Packaging Design Students Top the Competition

A team of three Packaging Design BFA students has won first place in the Paperboard Packaging Alliance Student Design Challenge for 2021. Competing against more than 40 other teams from 10 schools, FIT teams also took one of two honorable mentions and one of four “shout outs” for semester-long class projects that required creativity, teamwork, and mastery of the technology needed to economically turn flat paperboard into eye-stopping, functional three-dimensional packaging.

Hate is a Virus super kit

The winning FIT concept – the Super Kit – was unique and timely. It was developed for Hate is a Virus, the AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) organization against Asian American violent crime. The team members are from AAPI ethnic groups from three different countries — Indonesia, Guam, and India. All seven FIT teams got to choose an organization for which each team did a project.

T-Shirt and educational materials packaged in The Super KIt to spread awareness for the Hate is a Virus organization

Their concept, aimed at students age 7 to 9, combines 20 cards with conversation-starting questions, other teaching materials such as a family tree fill-in, and a T-shirt, all in a small folding carton that turns into a superhero shield with room for the students’ own messages. Except for the shirt, the whole kit starts out as one standard-size 14 x 28-inch sheet of paperboard. The folds locks everything together with no glue needed.

Hate Is a Virus design concept

“FIT’s Packaging Design BFA Program is the only one in the United States,” says Packaging Design Coordinator Sandra Krasovec. “We compete with colleges that approach the issues more from a structural engineering point of view.”

Nevertheless, “FIT students have almost always come away with one of the top three prizes since we started participating in 2006,” she said.

The Super Kit winning team: Jessica Vergel, Ankita Ghosh and Claudia Natasha

“We’re coming at it from a different perspective – brand development and how to best portray the brand narrative and its visual application to a 3D package.”

The first place award winners – Ankita Ghosh, Claudia Natasha, and Jessica Vergel – participated in the competition in Spring 2021 as juniors in PK343 Explorations in 3D with Professor Adam Straus. Students submitted concepts last May. Judging was held in Fall 2021 and the top three teams were notified late last year.

Super Kit Team member Jessica Vergel

The three team members presented the FIT team’s project to 200-plus industry members in Denver, at the PPA/PPC (Paperboard Packaging Alliance/Paperboard Packaging Council) 2022 Spring Outlook and Strategies Conference. “We were so proud of them. They spoke beautifully.” They received their first-place prize at an awards dinner.

Sandra Krasovec/Professor & Packaging Design BFA Coordinator, The Super Kit Team members: Ankita Ghosh and Claudia Natasha; Heidi Brock/President and CEO at American Forest and Paper Association; Super Kit Team member Jessica Vergel; Packaging Design Professor Adam Straus

The students presented to industry members who “run the gamut, from paperboard manufacturers and converters to print production and use of special materials and finishing techniques,” said Krasovec.

Addressing sustainability with packaging design concept

She added that it was “really nice for industry to see what the students had done, and students had a lot of great opportunities to network, including a bowling event.” “Our students attended the conference program and met the other top teams. Each school had a table in the exhibitors’ hall, along with conference sponsors – students were able to display their concept prototypes, and so could talk to attendees as they walked by.”

The 2021 class was a particular challenge because like the FIT group that took third place in 2020, they were doing this virtually. “Working in different time zones to develop a 3D concept via a 2D screen was a real challenge,” Krasovec said.

About the Hate is a Virus community

“Adam and I, especially Adam because he’s an inventor, were trying hard to art direct and explain ideas because this is a hands-on process and you can’t show exactly what you want to communicate via a virtual meeting!”

Krasovec said a lot of the explanations involved sketches and short videos. “We typically met once a week during most of the semester.”

Said Krasovec: It’s an interesting time for our industry and an interesting time for our students to consider innovation and sustainability challenges, so we equip our students to have a voice when they go out into industry to start their professional careers…and to lead conversations.”

Recognition also came as in two other categories. An Honorable Mention for the project: PERIOD All-In-One Dispenser Box. Team members included Alana Abesamis, Melissa Portillo, and Alyssa Randone.

PERIOD All-In-One Dispenser Box won an Honorable Mention

And a Shout-Out went to the team who designed Doctors Without Borders Obstetrics Kit with team members, Courtney Hannel, Lily Janker, and Tiffany He.

The Doctors Without Borders Obstetrics Kit receives a “Shout Out”

To read an earlier post about FIT involvement in the Paperboard Packaging Alliance Student Design Challenge, go to: “Packaging Design students hit the sweet spot!”

To learn more about the School of Art and Design’s Packaging Design BFA program go to Packaging Design at FIT.

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