SPC Impact 2018: Q&A with Paul Nowak (QuadPackaging)

March 2, 2018

In your perspective, what does an ideal packaging design roadmap look like when sustainability is a forefront goal?

Ideally sustainability should become a standard data point in the design roadmap similar to form, fit, function and brand. However, until recently, the industry has viewed sustainability as a special consideration or afterthought. QuadPackaging has added sustainability to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) level electronic design forms that our sales and marketing team uses to initiate all packaging projects. These project forms now include questions regarding what raw material is being requested and what print technology is preferred. Adding sustainability into these foundational project decisions allows designers the opportunity to think differently about sustainability from the beginning and ensures that it becomes habit and part of annual training.


As a packaging converter trying to fulfill a brand’s expectations, how do you manage achieving the desired effect from a package design with consumer experience, recyclability, use of renewable or recyclable materials?

We have the unique position of working across marketing, brand management, procurement, R&D and many other functional groups within our customers’ businesses. This allows us to bridge gaps and become a communication partner with these teams so that we can help them optimize the consumer experience while managing the need for sustainability. For example, we might be in a brand marketing meeting on a new product launch that has highlighted the need to use recyclable material. Knowing that, we will work with procurement and R&D early on to ensure that the packaging will perform at the necessary levels in the manufacturing, filling of the packaging and logistics of the final product.


What will be the key takeaways you want attendees to leave your session with?

We want attendees to gain a deeper understanding of the entire packaging design process. Our aim is for participants to leave with new tools to navigate how internal and external stakeholders influence the end packaging result. We want them to learn to understand why a brand is asking for sustainable packaging and how to provide them with all the best possible data-driven solutions.


Can you tell us more about the role Clemson University will play as your co-presenter? Why is it so important to foster collaboration with universities and industry?

QuadPackaging and Clemson University’s Package Insights team share many common philosophies around using data to make better decisions early in the packaging design process. This data-driven thinking naturally lends itself to our collaboration in terms of studying how perceived and real sustainable packaging design is viewed by consumers and how it may possibly influence their purchase decision. It is important to foster this collaboration because we are all stronger together than the sum of our individual parts. QuadPackaging has vast experience with brands and their real-world decision making process as it relates to packaging. Clemson University’s Package Insights brings scientific methodology and goals not controlled strictly by business rules.  These scientific and branding skills naturally support each other and help both groups grow exponentially in their understanding of packaging.