Art Students Win National Packaging Contest

art_package_design_200pxStudents from the Department of Art & Art History recently won a national packaging competition with their whimsical approach to a product display for a fictional circus.

Seniors Cosme Olivas, Holly Aldriedge and Ayla Haynes represented UT Arlington in the 15th annual Careers in Corrugated Packaging & Display Interactive Teleconference. The contest, sponsored by the International Corrugated Packaging Foundation (ICPF), included 18 universities from across the nation.

“Our students won because of their creative and thoughtful packaging display solution,” said Ben Dolezal, assistant professor of visual communication. “This is the first year that we’ve participated in the ‘Best of the Best’ team design competition through ICPF. The competition provides a great opportunity for our students to compare their creative solutions with students from other packaging focused schools across the country.”

Olivas, Aldriedge and Haynes, who will all graduate this May, were each enrolled in a special studies packaging and 3-D computer-aided design (CAD) course with Dolezal during the 2013 spring semester. There, they develop a point-of-purchase display that featured two products and incorporated a specific theme. The group selected a fictional circus — called “Augustus B. Circus” — for their event and included lollipops and popcorn in their display. (More on the group’s work can be seen in a short promo video on YouTube.)

Dolezal said he is proud of his students and excited about the way in which UT Arlington is making a splash in the world of packaging design. The work, part of the visual communications program, was only recently established. Students in the Packaging and 3D CAD course are introduced to a curriculum that focuses on packaging structure design, materials, performance, testing and sustainability. The curriculum is integrated within the new CorrPro Design lab — a lab made possible through a partnership with ICPF.

“The lab provides students with the structural design software, materials and a computer-aided design table to produce significant packaging solutions for use in the marketplace,” he said.

Throughout the semester, students work as individuals and collaborate in teams to develop innovative solutions to real-world packaging issues. Assigned problems in the course include the design and construction of a retail floor stand display, food & beverage shipper and retail shelf display. These dimensional product and packaging solutions explore the relationship between conceptual thinking, structural design, brand development and consumer behavior.

In addition, students receive valuable instruction from local and regional packaging professionals. Training includes a mixture of guest lectures, panel discussions, software demonstrations and facility tours by packaging business leaders in the DFW area.

“This partnership between industry and education allows students to engage in meaningful discussions and prepare for full-time employment upon graduation,” Dolezal said.

ICPF is a non-profit educational foundation, whose mission is “to generate a stream of increasingly qualified students to enter the corrugated packaging and display industry, now and into the future,” according to the group’s press release. This year’s contest includes student groups from Appalachian State, Cal Poly State, Clemson, Michigan State and Virginia Tech, among others.

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