From November 17 to 27, VIU’s third-year Graphic Design students will be showcasing their re-designed packaging projects from the ARTG Packaging Studio course. The students researched a variety of products in their original packaging, pitching the idea to the professor, intending to change the way the product is sold.

Tim Yeung, a student working on the event, found that this project examined many aspects of the consumer industry. The mandate for the project was to retain the business goals, allowing the product to still stand out.

“This is your opportunity to make it more eco-friendly,” Yeung says. “Some of us were trying really hard to eliminate the use of plastic packaging completely.”

Each student went about their project differently, intending to improve the product for the consumer, the company, and the planet. One of the students, says Yeung, used a glass container to showcase the product, and, as a result, “elevate[d] the product’s perceived value,” as a collectible. This added weight to the packaging, but gave the item a cleaner look, compared to clear, hard plastic, which Yeung says is created using a lot of petroleum.

Another featured re-design, a favourite of Yeung’s, is the birth control packaging change. Ally Phillips took the package-heavy prescription and, instead of changing its materials, altered the way the pill is dispensed. “She made a completely unique dispenser mechanism,” Yeung says “It encourages people to keep it handy, and stick with it.”

“That understanding of the audience on her end really stuck out to me,” Yeung said.

Professor Nancy Page has been teaching the course for four years, and uses this class to encourage students to be innovative in their designs. Page chose to assign the packaging re-design project as the first of two in the semester to answer many students’ questions like, “Are we just designing beautiful garbage?”

Page’s focus for the project involved a not-so-typical physical aspect to the making of the three-dimensional packaging, as Yeung found working on a hands-on project allowed for new ideas to come through. “As opposed to digital manipulation only. It’s a bad habit,” Yeung says “[Graphic designers] tend to be very digital.” Highlighting the process from original package to redesign was a focus for the class, and will be demonstrated next to each project at the gallery.

The exhibit will run for 10 days, allowing for the public to see each re-design from start to finish, something that Page really wants her students to experience. “The gallery is a chance for them to celebrate their efforts,” Page says.

The event will showcase over 15 projects in VIU’s campus gallery, Tuesdays to Fridays from 1 to 4 p.m.

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