Abstract

In recognition of the fact that current packaging design fails to address the resource reductions needed to support the sustainability agenda (INCPEN, 2001; Environmental Services Association, 2004), a 2 year collaborative research project between Loughborough University and The Boots Company, funded by DEFRA, was set up to investigate the feasibility of developing refillable packaging systems which appeal to the consumer whilst reducing the overall sustainability impact. The overall aim of the project – ‘Refillable Packaging Systems', reported on in this paper was to develop a refillable packaging system for a ‘body wash' product and to investigate its feasibility with respect to consumer acceptance (female customers, aged 21-40) and sustainability improvements. In order to achieve the project aim a broad range of qualitative methods were used. This paper details the methods used to collate background understanding, develop design concepts and test the viability of the design solutions. It reflects on why they were used, how effective they were and on the benefits of combining these different methods at different stages. The paper concludes that combining together an array of design related qualitative methods, of the nature described, can produce rich and valuable outcomes. The project demonstrates that this approach can lead to the development of a more detailed understanding of the topic under investigation and open up discussion by creating demonstrator products which can be handled, critiqued and examined.

Keywords:

Packaging; Design Methods; Questionnaire; Visual Templates; Prototyping; Consumer Workshops

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Jul 16th, 12:00 AM

Designing Refillable Packaging: A Qualitative Approach

In recognition of the fact that current packaging design fails to address the resource reductions needed to support the sustainability agenda (INCPEN, 2001; Environmental Services Association, 2004), a 2 year collaborative research project between Loughborough University and The Boots Company, funded by DEFRA, was set up to investigate the feasibility of developing refillable packaging systems which appeal to the consumer whilst reducing the overall sustainability impact. The overall aim of the project – ‘Refillable Packaging Systems', reported on in this paper was to develop a refillable packaging system for a ‘body wash' product and to investigate its feasibility with respect to consumer acceptance (female customers, aged 21-40) and sustainability improvements. In order to achieve the project aim a broad range of qualitative methods were used. This paper details the methods used to collate background understanding, develop design concepts and test the viability of the design solutions. It reflects on why they were used, how effective they were and on the benefits of combining these different methods at different stages. The paper concludes that combining together an array of design related qualitative methods, of the nature described, can produce rich and valuable outcomes. The project demonstrates that this approach can lead to the development of a more detailed understanding of the topic under investigation and open up discussion by creating demonstrator products which can be handled, critiqued and examined.

 

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