March 21, 2019

Neave Thorne

I never thought I’d get the chance to work with real companies while studying at university – until The Parsnipship presented their brief to the second year Product Design students at Cardiff Met.

The Parsnipship are a unique vegetarian and vegan produce company. Getting the opportunity to design for a company that has such passion for creating innovative products has been an amazing experience.

The brief was to create a new packaging solution. The look of the packaging had to reflect the ideas ‘Natural’, ‘Organic’ and ‘Quirky’. We also had to think about Ergonomics – how much would the packaging weigh? What size would it be? Would it be easy for the customer to pick up? Finally, we had to make material choices – would we use recyclable or biodegradable materials?

For this project we were put into groups of 4, which allowed me to work with some people on my course that I’d not yet had the chance to. As a group we aimed to design a simple yet attractive shape for the packaging itself, and then add graphics, logos and colour to make it eye catching when displayed on the shelf.

Prototype packaging
One of the prototypes.

We started by sketching down a load of ideas on paper and then went on to create models and prototypes using card and the laser cutters.

To test the final few packaging designs, we took them to the PEL lab at Cardiff School of Art and Design. PEL – the Perceptual Experience Lab – is the world’s first synthetic reality lab, and it can be used to recreate all sorts of different environments using a huge screen, surround-sound and even smells!

The PEL suite can simulate all kinds of spaces for product testing – including a supermarket.

We used PEL to recreate a shop environment, showing what our product would look like in an accurate setting. Once we set the PEL lab up we also got some volunteers from outside the course to test out our packaging models and give us some feedback on which ones they preferred.

Choosing the graphics and colours was the fun part for me, as it brought our final design to life. It helped us as a group to see what the product will look like when finished.

A lot of thought went into it – we added the Parsnipship logo to the top and front so that when displayed on the shelf the companies name was in the customer’s eyeline at all times. We kept the colours as organic and natural as possible, using black for the text and using a green as an accent colour to help the product stand out when displayed on shelves.

We were the winning team!

We were delighted to find out that our team’s packaging design was selected by the Parsnipship as the one they would proceed to develop further – and now it’s in the shops!

It’s amazing to see our work on the shelves in the real world!