What’s it all about then?
As a Packaging Designer, you’ll be responsible for the creation of attractive, functional packaging for food products made by your company.
You’ll probably spend about a third to a half of your time actually designing packaging - and the rest working on production costs, meeting with colleagues to discuss your work and meeting with customers to fine-tune what you’re designing.
Your ability to work as part of a team within a large food company and understand the food business will be equally as important as your exceptional design talent.
What might I be doing?
On a day-to-day basis, it will be down to you to:
- Develop the primary and secondary packaging for new food products
- Initiate the qualification of new packaging materials and formats
- Conduct shelf-life studies and make recommendations based on findings
- Manage the testing of packaging materials with independent laboratories to ensure packaging integrity meets specifications
- Follow all company food safety protocols and government regulations
- Perform your role in a way that promotes and protects food safety
- Liaise with senior management in order to ensure that company legal and ethical requirements are adhered to
What will be expected of me?
As a food Packaging Designer you’ll need to have a good understanding of the qualities of the product that you’re working on and be able to work within the guidelines as drawn up in the packaging specifications for the product.
When a new product is created, you’ll be involved with the team involved with working out how to package the product.
Knowledge of food production technology and food science are vital here so that you understand the properties of what has been developed - this will have an impact on the way in which it needs to be packed or wrapped.
You’ll be responsible for the actual look and feel of the packaged product and finding the most economical options available for the packaging.
You may also be involved with the development of new packaging methods, shelf-life studies and such like.
What can I expect?
You can expect to be part of a larger team responsible for new product development - from initial consideration through to display in customer premises.
This is a job with a high degree of job satisfaction as you can see the results of your work every time you walk into a major supermarket!
What about the pay?
The pay varies with experience and location but although you might start on less, a typically experienced packaging designer will earn between £25,000 and £27,000 a year.
What qualifications do I need to get in?
You should strongly consider degrees in Food Technology and Food Science and other related subjects, particularly those courses that offer modules in packaging related areas.
What about further training?
Postgraduate degrees are available in Packaging. The skills you will need can be summarised as follows:
- Knowledge of basic budgeting
- Able to work effectively as part of a team
- Thorough knowledge and understanding of the packaging process and maintenance related processes
- Expert knowledge of national and regional food safety regulations
- Able to balance product packaging needs - including ecological, economical, increased shelf-life, visual appeal and transportation efficiency
Anything else I might need to know?
Food Packaging Designers typically work in a combination of laboratory, office and processing plant settings. They often work standard weekday working hours, although they may sometimes work on shifts, depending on the needs of their employer, and when processing facilities are available to test designs.
If you have a high degree of intellectual curiosity, enjoy using instruments and equipment to perform tasks requiring precision and like a combination of technical and creative work, then this could be the job for you!