Paper as an industrial design material (?)

Hi, I am doing a research titled: “Paper as an industrial design material”, so far I am not getting any close to any concept or any kind of a product that has paper as its primary material. I found out that some furniture has some sort of paper lamination, wallpapers are often made of paper, lampshades, pre-design sketches are made on paper (:P), orignami, some toys (paper hats, table-board games) and of course paper-packaging, witch I feel it has the greatest interest. I feel that I am missing something. Where should I focus my research? Is there any book that anyone recommends? Some sort of a web link? I 've written about 15000 words so far and I am only touching, the paper as a material alone subject. Any help would be welcomed! Thanks in advance.

Unfortunately for you I think Bamboo is now replacing any uses that paper used to have in ID.

On a more positive note, did you see the paper mobile phone cover here at Core?

And How about cardboard:

That cardboard furniture is sure very impressing! I am interested in any product that is made from paper, from cardboard to compressed paper, paper trims, even paper pulp! The links you posted are very interesting, but I am searching for paper products that are more widely known (if there are any)! Thank you for answering so quick!

I think Packaging gets over looked a lot of times in the ID world. Do some research on all forms of Pkg. You will find that there are all different forms of paper packaging from you run of the mill paper board shoe box to very elaborate paper boxes and bags used by the japanees to package all sorts of premium products. Also look into Corrugated (Known to the non packaging world as Card Board) displays in stores. You will find cheap displays in places like Wal-Mart but will find nice elaborate display in movie theaters and Entertainment stores.

The way i am looking it right now, i have no other choice but to focus on packaging. Are there any particular sources that you recommend me? Where can i find the basic actions that takes an industrial designer in order to design a certain box or a milk cart etc. etc. ? Can you help me on a fundamental basis? Sorry if iam asking too much? Thanks for your answers again.

If you want info on the buisness you can visit the Paperboard Packaging Council web site. This will give you some info on what the paper packaging buisness is all about.

As far as for some examples you can look at or go to the book store and just look at books on Packaging design. Some will be very Graphic design driven, some will be structural driven, and some will be both. Try to study the ones that focus on both. This will give you a good idea how the package fits with a paticular brand.

I also encuage you to go out an study packaging. I am a designer for a candy company. Candy packaging is going to be different than alcohol packaging or shoe packaging. Also start looking at the package rather than the product. Especially with food you will notice that the package will tell you a lot about the product. It will relay emotion and create an experiance befor you even put your hands on what you are buying. Go to a Gadiva or a Harry and David or any store that sells premium food or beverages. See how they use different textures and materials or accessories likes bows or tags.

This just a few tips on the Packaging world. I hope it helps. I guess my biggest suggestion is to treat it like any othe ID research project and just keep you creative eye open. You will notice that paper can do remarkible things.

Thank you again, your tips are very useful, i 'll try to make as much as possible and i will keep posting here as i continue with my research, you really are helping me making progress!

No problem. Glad to hear some one is intrested in this small but very important part of ID. Keep us posted on your findings.


I am so happy to hear someone excited about packaging design. In most of the companies I have worked in I have often designed the packaging structure along with the product. It is so nice, especially after hours on the computer to go to a table and start cutting and folding lots of different packages. One great thing is the instant gratification. You cut, you fold, and you assemble. And packaging is also a huge area of problem solving. You have to think about how best to present the product while at the same time protecting it from shipping, in-store abuse, etc…

Lets hear it for packaging. YEEEAAAAHH!


Thank you for the post. I agree packaging does have a bit of instant gradification to it. It also is able to create so much emotoin. With out a great package the product will not sell.

A great example of this is Gadiva Chocolate. Gadiva is actualy low grade chocolate for its class. But they spend a lot of money on creating an experiance with their packaging that it is no longer about the chocolate it is about the gift and the emotions that little gold and brown box brings a Valentines day.

This is the part I love about packaging is how can I make your consumer product look great and sell. I do have to say I miss consumer product degin though.

I always look carefully at the packaging of any product. The corrugated industry is fascinating. Some of corrugated design is translatable to sheet metal. I have kept a vacuum formed tray-fold package for a Dell mouse, it’s an awesome example of packaging design. Guiness 4-pack cardboard wrappers are another awesome paper packaging design.

Also, what other industry has a cool TLAof C.O.W.