Design is great, whether it’s products or packaging

Do you think of tea or deodorant when you think of ‘design’? Or like me rather on a chair or a laptop? In the program Industrial Product Design (IPO), students specialize in either product design or packaging design in year 3. The packaging of your deodorant also starts with a design. Kiki de Boer and Mellany van der Plicht are both studying IPO in The Hague. What do they do during their education, and what do they really like best: designing a product or packaging?




Mellany chose product design. She has just finished her internship in year 3. At a company that designs walkers, Rollz, she did everything for six months. Not only did she design a new walker bag, she also tested a walker in all sorts of situations. For example, she went on the train with it. She did that test with a fellow intern, so it was fun, too. She also did a sustainability analysis of the company with a colleague and sometimes assembled walkers. Surprisingly instructive. But she got the most satisfaction by redesigning the vibration lever for the Parkinson’s walker.

Rollator that keeps the user moving

‘It was a really nice job,’ says Mellany. ‘The company has a walker that is specifically for people with Parkinson’s. They may freeze. Then the legs no longer communicate with the brain, and gait stops. The vibrating handle is one of the three functions the walker has to hold or get the user moving. A laser line can also be projected on the ground, and a metronome beep may sound. Both were intended to stimulate the gait rhythm.

Ninth draft was good

When Mellany started her internship, the vibration in the handle was fine on a laminate floor, but much less outside. About Mellany knew a solution. Mellany: “It was not that simple anyway. It took me nine models to come up with a good design. Eventually I moved the vibrator down and turned the handle so that there was more room for an extra bridge. I then integrated the separate part in The rest. My colleagues and I started testing, and luckily it turned out to work well for everyone. Very cool! ‘

Product design and packaging design

Although Kiki also chose the thesis less ‘Product Realization’ in 3rd year, she also likes to work with product packaging. So she made the smaller ‘Packaging Design and Innovation’ later. Kiki: ‘For products, design in 3D is very important, while packaging design also involves graphic design (2D). That combination turns out to be perfect for me. ‘ There is a lot going on in packaging. To start with, it should look good, open well and be robust. In addition, it is preferably as small and light as possible, fancy printed, and if possible made of one hundred percent recyclable material.

such as tomato packaging

The best packaging task for Kiki was definitely the tomato packaging for Tommies. During the project, she learned a lot about logistics, for example that the packaging comes in standard boxes. Kiki: ‘If you adjust the size of your packaging a bit, it will fit more in a box. It can save a lot of trucks driving back and forth! Products also often involve really large numbers. By making the packaging 1 gram lighter, you quickly save a lot of material. ‘ With smart choices in the design phase, our future designers limit the impact on the environment.
Kiki_and_Tommies (1)

What’s nice about IPO

What makes it so fun to study IPO is for Kiki in the projects. Then you start working with the tools that you get in teaching. ‘At IPO, you are the best teacher yourself. I also always really like that you actually did something at the end of a block. It is not like with other studies that one has more knowledge about something in the end. At IPO you have more knowledge and beautiful models and a beautiful design. And thanks to the subject of Photography, I can now photograph these designs beautifully. ‘

From beautiful drawing to producible design

If Mellany has learned one thing during IPO training in recent years, it is that a design must be realistic. ‘I was used to drawing nice things, but if you get a few feedbacks that something is not possible, you start to look at things differently. Think of several aspects. Of course, it can still be fun – even welcome – but the design should result in a product that can be manufactured. When I see a design now, I sometimes think: oh, but that aspect is not very good. ‘

Know what she does not want

That she can contribute to sustainability with her designs is a good idea for Mellany. And that she can also help people, such as with the walker during her internship. That internship also gave her even more, for example, the insight that she does not need to know what she wants later. She doesn’t really know that yet, even though she knows better and better what she does not want. ‘I’m not very good at the technical side. And I also don’t like 3D modeling all day. Yes, I know people who really like it. Just give me some variation. ‘

On-the-road design agency

Kiki is now in year 3. Does she have plans for the future? ‘They are still vague and change sometimes from day to day. I think it would be great just to work towards product or packaging design and then for a company. But I also still have the dream of buying a van and rebuilding it and then living life on the road. What kind of work would fit that, I do not know. Who knows your own on-the-road design agency. ‘

Would you like to design packaging or products? See the website of Industrial Product Design at The Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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