For the past three years, AICC Canada has partnered with Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario, and the college’s Packaging Engineering Technician Program. AICC’s mission is to support their members by giving them access to talented young professionals and support the students by introducing them to the corrugated converting industry and providing them access to potential job decision-makers. 

This past winter AICC Canada held its annual Design Competition for Conestoga College. The students were introduced to the Design Challenge in early February with the criteria to create a unique unboxing experience for a consumer. These products would be purchased and shipped through online distribution channels such as Amazon. 

The students had many factors to consider when they were creating their designs, such as sustainability, an environmentally friendly design and the possibility for a flow-through packaging concept that could have a secondary purpose. The design had to focus on brand representation, all while creating the Ultimate Unboxing Experience. 

This year’s challenge was even more remarkable for the students at Conestoga College as they were in a remote learning environment. Everyone in the competition had minimal access to school resources. They resorted to designing and cutting samples on their own time, which meant weekends and late evenings. Every weekend, a student was provided two hours of model cutting time on Saturdays and Sundays throughout February, March, and April. The students spent many hours perfecting these designs to create their final submissions. 

In addition to our top three winners, there were three honorable mentions, each of which were beautifully designed. 

Junggon Lee created a gift pack for Customs Canada that could be handed out at Canadian airports, border crossings or ports of entry to new visitors coming to Canada. The theme of this unique design encapsulated Canada with its national emblem, a beaver. The tail of the beaver came out of the top of the box when you pulled on the beaver’s nose and slid the bottom tray out. Junggon put a lot of thought and effort into this creation to get the tail to come out automatically. When Junggon was asked about his design he stated, “I wish I were provided with this kind of gift when I came to Canada, so I could understand more about the great country that I was entering.”

Dakota Hart made a design that had two parts to create an eight-pack spice rack. The internal structure held eight small bottles of spices. At the same time, the exterior design had a pop-out viewing window that allowed the consumer to select a spice while the rack turned inside. This design had many iterations to get the inner shelf to turn smoothly while not encountering the outer wrap. Designing with cutback corners on an angle eliminated the possibility of obstruction while the spice rack rotated. This was a great innovation that took Dakota hours to perfect.

Dylan Turnbull created a Russian Nesting Dolls theme for his design. Also known as The Matryoshka Doll, which represents a peasant’s life in Russia, Dylan found a high-end Russian Vodka that he placed inside the nesting dolls. This design was complex to create as Dylan had to ensure that he scaled each design down to nest inside the other. The last doll contained a small bottle of Vodka that was a promotional gift to entice the consumer to purchase the bigger product. The secondary use that Dylan found for his design was to turn the dolls into piggy banks.

Receiving the award for 3rd place was Tammy Park’s Nike Shoe Design, shown at left. Tammy created a revolutionary design because she was able to nest one of the Nike court shoes into the lid of her carton. By placing one shoe in the top of this design, Tammy took two inches out of the depth of this style of box. In keeping with her sustainable design, she also created a backboard, net and two small basketballs out of her scrap. Tammy designed a locking feature in the side of her carton that allowed the consumer to take shots using the small, corrugated basketballs. When the box opened, the shoes would be on display as the consumer shot hoops. This design showed Tammy’s creativity and her passion for sustainable innovations. 

In 2nd place, we had Sunkyong Kim’s Tea Gift Set. Sunkyong created a Tea Gift Set with a unique ‘spin’ to it. This octagonal design had a tea caddy that offered a variety of tea flavours. To help the consumer decide which tea to enjoy, Sunkyong created Tea Time: a small clock. When you spin the hands around, it helps determine which tea to pick. This design took Sunkyong hours to perfect, from the octagonal shape down to the tea caddy itself. Her attention to detail was unrivaled right down to the authentic shape of the tea leaves that separated each of the flavours. This design held two small tea cups, a copper tea kettle and 24 packs of Twinings Tea. 

The 1st place Design was by Joanne Hong. 

The Covid-19 Relaxation & Meditation Diffuser Gift Pack. Joanne created a gift pack that would help take the consumer away from all the struggles with Covid in their lives. 

The unique locking feature on the top took Joanne several hours and design iterations to perfect. Her design had no corners, creating a Zen feeling of relaxation. When unlocked, Joanne’s design automatically opened up like a flower to display the diffuser and scented oils. She made a fantastic design, in addition to a website with a QR code to allow access to it. This code took the consumer to a video with relaxing sounds of a waterfall and a fresh mountain spring trickling in the background. In the scrap areas of this design, a ring held four small essential oil bottles and doubled as a lifter to remove the diffuser from the carton. It also transformed it into a table that allowed the diffuser to be set on top to enhance viewing pleasure. Joanne also used her scrap areas to create easel-style holders for a cellphone and a small book. 

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