Pentawards winning designs use packaging to raise awareness around environmentalism and mental health
The winners of the world’s leading packaging-design awards will be announced this evening – Thursday 30 September – during a virtual gala ceremony.
- Dalia Al-Dujaili
- 30 September 2021
In its 15th year running, the 2021 Pentawards competition saw more than 2,000 entries from over 60 countries across five continents, with the UK, Spain, US, Russia, Japan and China receiving the highest number of awards. This year’s Pentawards hopes to highlight the packaging designs spearheading conversations which have become increasingly visible and prioritised over the past decade.
For example, Supple Studio, a Platinum award winner, hopes to facilitate conversations around men’s mental health through box design. Based in the UK, its Tough Beautiful mantra is evident through its packaging for outdoor jackets for Frahm, a small family-run online-only UK business that takes sustainability and men’s mental health seriously. Supple Studio used macro shots of UK native beetles, which aim to spotlight these tough yet beautiful creatures.
The beetles are printed large-scale on boxes and bags, reflective of Frahm’s jackets in that their exterior make them sturdy in all kinds of weather. Supple Studio wanted to remind customers and fans of the outerwear brand that it supports the charity Mind, so it created a bespoke packaging tape with an “Open Up” message.
Elsewhere, 2Yolk in Greece created the packaging for a line of vegan home-care detergents targeting environmentally conscious consumers, Oceaniq (deliberately misspelled to bring “Oceanic” and “IQ” together). The product is made from 100 per cent recycled fishnets from oceans worldwide and mild cleansing, plant-based agents. It aims to protect the life of the oceanic creatures which are displayed in the illustrations across the products’ packaging. “The Platinum winners of our newly introduced sustainable design category really blew us all away this year and were more incredible than anticipated,” said Adam Ryan, head of the awards.
And Special One soda by Gosha Chubukin in Russia is a social project aimed at raising awareness for and reducing the stigma of mental health conditions within young people. The soda comes in five tastes, which correspond to the most common personality disorders: graphic metaphors on the front of the can reveal the features of these disorders. The backs of the cans feature general information about the disease and identify the first symptoms, whilst the packaging also has augmented reality: if you point your smartphone camera at a can, an animation appears displaying a relevant fact.
These choices hope to display the Pentawards’ aim to advocate for change and “inspire the next generation of creative talent,” says Ryan, “educating the industry towards a more sustainable future.” The competition is run blindly, meaning that entries are submitted anonymously. Ryan hopes that this “allows freelancers, small and large agencies to compete at the same level, and it shows that freelancers and small agencies really can think big.” Ryan goes on, “Not only do the Pentawards promote the discipline of packaging design and showcase the best work created across the world, they serve to connect and inspire the global packaging design community.”
This year’s Diamond award went to Moët Hennessy and Stranger & Stranger’s sustainable design for luxury rum brand Eminente Reserva. “I cannot ignore the Diamond award winner (our highest accolade) – Eminente Reserva by Moët Hennessy and Stranger & Stranger,” says Ryan. “They’re a winner that ticks every single box, from successfully launching during Covid and disrupting a category, to embracing sustainability and emotional connection, all underpinned by attention to detail and quality design.”
As Ryan notes, package design can help raise awareness about mental health, or highlight the diversity and inclusivity agenda. “It can also act as a way of informing consumers about sustainability, like Oceaniq, or just making us a little more conscious about the way we all consume.” Ryan continues that, if used with the correct intentions, “there is potential in years to come that we are using materials, processes and systems that allow zero waste and that packaging will have a less negative, and perhaps, even further down the line, a positive impact on the environment.”
Bold Scandinavia: Non-food (Copyright © Pentawards, 2021)
About the Author
Dalia joined It’s Nice That as a news writer in July 2021 after graduating in English Literature from The University of Edinburgh. She's written for various indie publications such as Azeema and Notion, and ran her own magazine and newsletter platforming marginalised creativity.