Distinctive, Black-Glass Design Wins Student Packaging Competition

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Washington, DC (October 2, 2014) – First place winner of the 2014 Glass Packaging Design Competition at Michigan State University School of Packaging is the student team of Brett Boonie, Stephen Grimmer, Mitchell Kreps, and Brody Losh. Their pagoda-style, black-glass design for “Emperor’s Choice” soy sauce beat out 64 student teams in this eighth competition sponsored by the Glass Packaging Institute (GPI).

The winning glass bottle features the distinct shape of a Chinese castle, complete with a bright-red tiered closure. “Every design feature ties back to the old world origin theme which is brought together throughout,” says Paul Koning, MSU packaging instructor who led the competition with Rick Bayer, GPI Academic Subcommittee Chair, as part of GPI lectures to MSU packaging students. “It’s also a really feasible package from a manufacturing standpoint and that makes it attractive.”

The 10 fl. oz. glass bottle sits on a square, plateaued base with bowed sides, and a rooftop neck and cap reflecting the distinct pagoda architecture. “The black glass made it special,” says student winner Steve Grimmer. “There are a lot of plastic soy sauce bottles out there, but if you want something to be premium it really has to be glass. Glass also has good tactile feel, and the flexibility to create really unique bottle shapes.”

Four-member student teams, all randomly assigned, from the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 Packaging with Glass and Metal class participated in the competition, working on the project throughout the semester as they learned about glass packaging.

“It was an extremely close competition this year,” says Koning. “I think we’re increasing the demand on our students to perform at a higher level. Also, the track record of the class is well known. Students can see the previous winning models on display at the school.”

The top three teams were recognized with glass plaques, and the winning team was invited to glass container manufacturer Owens-Illinois for a tour of their Innovation Center in Perrysburg, Ohio. Student winners were also able to meet and dialogue with O-I’s new product development innovators, marketing leaders, and manufacturing quality team.

“The visit to O-I was an excellent, positive experience all around,” says Grimmer. “Their new R&D facility was incredible. They can kick out new packaging ideas faster, and test new products, such as the red glass they’re working on.”

“We wanted to make the student visit educational rather than a simple tour,” says Raul Parades, O-I’s Director of New Product Development. Students were treated to an in-depth snapshot of O-I’s design studio, quality lab, Ideation Center, Archive Center, and the new Innovation Center. “Armed with this hands-on knowledge, we hope they’ll become glass advocates, choosing to work with glass and creating innovative designs for new glass containers as they move forward in their careers,” says Parades.

"This visit really gave the students a focused understanding of what it takes to design, manufacture, and deliver a successful glass package,” says GPI’s Rick Bayer. The student visit also helped O-I understand how they could further enrich MSU’s packaging curriculum. They’re now working with GPI and MSU to have Parades guest lecture this fall.

A model of the winning design was supplied by O-I, and for the first time they designed a closure using 3D printing technology. The students had one idea for the pagoda roof line closure, but to display a full design solution, O-I created a couple of models from the student sketches. These were interpreted in a 3D CAD model and then transferred to a FDM (fused definition modeling) printer, which allows for virtually overnight prototyping.

O-I created a more traditional Lucite model of the bottle and painted it black to match the proposed black glass concept. Spear supplied a pressure-sensitive, 3-color film label for the model to replicate a traditional ACL look.

“We’re glad we could be a part of the GPI education program, and just as excited as the students to see their idea come to life in three dimension--and the real-world education that affords them,” says Doug Hesche, Director of Sales at Spear.

The top ten submissions (five from each semester) were judged by an industry panel including Dale DeVore-Ardagh, Raul Parades-O-I, Efrain Karchmer-Vitro, Dave Wengerhoff-Diageo, Bill Eaton-Pepsico, and Rich Crawford-GPI Past Chairman Board of Trustees.

“We’re really grateful to Rick Bayer and everyone in the glass industry who is involved in this annual design competition,” says Koning. “And special thanks to O-I for hosting the students this year and creating a beautiful model.”

About the Glass Packaging Institute

The Glass Packaging Institute (GPI) is the trade association representing the North American glass container industry. Through GPI, glass container manufacturers speak with one voice to advocate industry standards, promote sound environmental policies and educate packaging professionals. GPI member companies manufacture glass containers for food, beverage, cosmetic and many other products. GPI also has associate members that represent a broad range of suppliers and closure manufacturers. To learn more, visit www.gpi.org. Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook @ChooseGlass.