The State of Packaging – 2015 (Interview 2)

Interview 2 on the state of packaging - 2015 is with Steve Liska, owner at Liska + Associates in Chicago, Illinois. Steve Liska founded Liska+Associates in 1980 and is actively involved in each project, supervising all steps to ensure that the firm continues to provide creative solutions that meet and exceed client’s objectives. Steve is the author of Business Graphics, the only comprehensive book about the relationship between design and business. His work and writing has appeared in Print Magazine, Under Consideration, Communication Arts and other design journals. A frequent design judge and lecturer, Steve has taught master’s programs at a number of universities. 1. If one significant factor in packaging has changed in the last 3 years, what would it be? Reduction in materials/shipping space/shelf space/cost. 2. Do you see pouch packaging (flexible packaging) as a viable replacement for folding cartons? Yes, depending on content, easy to use, easy to ship and can be inexpensively produced. 3. Among the various forms of laundry detergent packaging there are plastic containers with small colorful pods containing detergent. Recently these have been ingested by children and pose a serious health risk. Should the package be redesigned with stronger security measures in place? Yes. pods have come and gone over the years, not sure if they are environmentally friendly, they seem like a step backwards in packaging and product honesty. 4.  We see chewing gum go from simple wrappers to bigger packaging with more stylish graphics. With the product basically still the same, how does simple and basic packaging compete? The first few brands that did this - stood out. Now they are as confusing as they all follow the same formula- which is a typical trend. 5. I see a number of juice boxes and pouches competing in the children’s category. Do you see winner in this market? No idea. 6. Now that vapor, or non-smoke tobacco products are taking off, what role do you see packaging playing? This is a market as aggressive as cigarette packaging-  probably more so since brand attraction and loyalty needs to be created for a complex product. 7. Today’s electronic market is flooded with smartphones and some of the packaging has gotten fairly complex. Why is it then that Apple’s iPhone packaging has become simpler and more minimal? Does their packaging not play a key role anymore? The opposite- the packaging is a great reflection of the brand (and the experience). Simple, thoughtful, easy. A pleasure to open. 8. With all the coffee we consume through venues like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, should we expect these companies to look into more permanent drinking cups and lead the way in doing away with disposable cups? Or charge more for such? They sell a fair amount of tumblers already - that people get filled up in the morning. Unless costs go up so that disposables can create a discount for “bring your own container” this will not happen for a long time. Cleanliness, convenience and cost are factors. Plus the environmental perception of paper cups and sleeves would need to change for the negative. 9. What material do you see that is on the forefront in the packaging industry? Not sure- but I hope it is not plastic. Walk along any oceanside and you will want to use nothing but paper and cardboard. 10. What is the least desirable package you have seen or experienced? Plastic clamshell packaging, followed by more clamshell packaging.   CTI is a full service packaging firm leading the industry in contract packaging. To learn more go to

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