Origami box, a pile of packaging prototypes made of white cardboard, and tables full of cardboard. The workroom of August Salo, the Packaging Designer of Pyroll in Tuusula, is filled with joy of doing, experimenting and crafting.

Salo, who practiced origami as a hobby, was first supposed to become a designer of bigger structures, but the path to the profession of an architect turned to packaging design when Salo found himself studying design at the Lahti Institute of Design. August Salo, who during his studies was particularly interested in structural engineering, has been working in the packaging design team at Pyroll Pakkauset for several years. With his working partner Teemu Jormanainen they create functional entities of Pyroll customers’ packages.

The environmental trend can be seen on the packaging designer’s desk

Jormanainen has been working with Pyroll for more than a decade. The Tampere based designer has brought to the packaging industry the charm of effectively filled limited spaces. The designer who works with miniature models, finds inspiration from refining the details. And he says that for him, packaging design is also a self-expression through structures and shapes.

The two Design Institute graduates complement each other professionally. Salo’s strengths are comprehensive packaging design, where he combines graphical expertise and structural design. Jormanainen’s work, on the other hand, is somewhat accidentally focused on structures suitable for the industry. However, in their everyday work, designers do very similar things and can, if necessary, exchange projects with each other.

Salo and Jormanainen have been designing packaging with their skilful hands for a total of more than ten years. Along with the designers’ professionalism, also the trends in the packaging industry have changed. At present, there is a strong era of environmental awareness, which is also visible on the packaging designer’s desk.

Plastic-free approach, recyclability and packaging carbon footprint speak to the customers, and the designer can, in his work, increasingly focus on environmental friendliness of a packaging.

“Environmental awareness is interesting, but by no means simple or black and white. There is a lot of grey in between where solutions can be found,” Jormanainen ponders about the trend of environmental friendliness.

Both designers emphasize a genuine carbon footprint focussed thinking and want to avoid greenwashing while improving the environmental performance of packaging.

“The text “I am eco” itself does not necessarily make the packaging ecological. The right recipe for works and materials is needed in the background,” Salo discusses the challenges of the ecological trend.

New solutions can be drawn from multi-materiality

At Pyroll, Salo and Jormanainen work in an exceptional environment, as on the desktop, there are packaging prototypes of a wide variety of materials. Multi-materiality enables to come up with hybrid solutions and, for example, complete product group design by utilizing Pyroll’s expertise in colour management.

Customers’ wishes in terms of materials have clearly changed during the Jormanainen’s Pyroll years. More and more customers turn to a multi-material company without having decided on materials, and they are interested in hearing an expert’s views and suggestions on material options. For packaging designers, this is the best way to work, and they always look for the best alternative to meet the customer’s needs.

At Pyroll, packaging designers are able to respond to the environmental trend with agility, because there are several different material alternatives available in the same house that can be used to build new, functional and ecological packaging.

“Did the packaging say “hi” to you?”

For packaging designers, a shopping trip to the market can at the same time be a look into the potential of one’s own professionalism.

“I sometimes buy a product because I want to take it home and study its structure. Occasionally, I go to the shop only with the purpose to check out packaging. Sometimes some interesting packaging outright catches your eye,” says Salo about the packaging designer’s shopping trips. Between the store shelves, the designer can update their idea of packaging trends and spot the packaging that stands out in the shelves, from which they can draw ideas for their own work.

Both designers see the future of packaging design more like a holistic design, where packaging is increasingly seen as a means of communication and something that supports the product or part of the product. The best packaging is the one that speaks to the buyer, creates experiences, and according to Salo “greets the customer.”

Designers encourage the customer to invest in packaging and take packaging design as part of the new product development process right from the start. The packaging works best when it works hand in hand with the product.

“Packaging forms a critical part of everything. It should never be scrambled together,” Salo says.

23rd January 2019