Conestoga news

May 26, 2021 9:21 AM

Students create unboxing experience for industry design competition

First-year students in Conestoga’s Packaging Engineering Technician program took part in the sixth annual design competition hosted by AICC Canada over the winter term. This year’s contest challenged students to create a unique unboxing experience for consumers.  

Conestoga College_AICC Design Compeition_First Place.jpg
Packaging Engineering Technician students created unboxing experiences for an annual design competition hosted by AICC Canada. Joanne Hong’s relaxation and meditation gift pack design was awarded first place.

Used primarily as a marketing tool, an unboxing experience refers to creating a memorable customer interaction with a brand as they unpack a product. It often requires custom-fitted packaging, unique designs and creative inserts. The intent is that customers will film their unboxing experience to share on social media.

The competition was open exclusively to Conestoga Packaging Engineering Technician students as part of curriculum through the college’s partnership with AICC Canada. Students were given the term to each design and create an unboxing experience for a product of their choice. Packaging required a focus on brand representation and sustainability and needed to include a flow-through concept that served a secondary purpose. Under strict health and safety measures in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, students were granted access to on-campus resources and tools to help bring their designs to life. Entries were submitted at the end of the term, and AICC Canada revealed results in early May.  

Joanne Hong was awarded first place for a relaxation and meditation gift pack, which included a diffuser and wooden coaster, essential oils, a Bluetooth speaker, and a book. The package was designed with no corners to encourage a sense of calm, and when opened, unfolded like a flower to reveal the diffuser and oils. Hong utilized the packaging material to create stands for a cellphone, the book as well as the diffuser, and incorporated space for QR codes to access relaxation music and a free meditation membership. In recognition of her top honour, Hong was awarded $1,500 from AICC Canada.

Second place, and a prize of $1,000, was awarded to Sunkyong Kim for a tea gift set that used an octagonal design to house a tea kettle, two teacups and 24 bags of tea. The packaging also included a spinning wheel designed as a clock to help consumers pick a tea flavour from the set to try. Tammy Park placed third for a shoebox design that transformed into a shoe display and used the packaging material to create two small basketballs, a net and a backboard. Park received a prize of $500.

“The design competition provides students with an opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge to a real-world challenge and showcase creativity,” said faculty member Jeff Mills, who oversaw the project. “Students spent countless hours perfecting their designs this year, and the results produced some of the most innovative entries the judges have ever seen.”

Honourable mentions included Junggon Lee’s Canadian gift pack, a spice rack from Dakota Hart, and Dylan Turnbull’s matryoshka doll to package a small bottle of vodka.

In addition to monetary prizes, the top three designs will be displayed at an AICC Canada function.

An arm of AICC, The Independent Packaging Association, AICC Canada represents the business interests of the independent sector of the corrugated packaging industry. Comprised of independent corrugated packaging manufacturers and their suppliers primarily in the Ontario and Quebec market, the organization is dedicated to strengthening member positions in the marketplace with programs and services to empower success in a rapidly changing industry and increasingly competitive business environment.

Conestoga’s partnership with AICC Canada supports its members with access to a talent pipeline and helps provide students with real-world experience through industry exposure.

The Packaging Engineering Technician program provides training in the structural design of packaging materials. Through hands-on delivery and optional co-op, the program focuses on the product protection, durability and sustainability of packaging that utilizes materials such as metal, glass, plastic, paper and corrugated.