Does Your Brand Need a New, Inspired Packaging Design?

As a sponsor of the next 48 Hour Repack competition, you can tap into a cadre of creative students for new designs of your brand’s packaging.

Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor

October 2, 2020

Is your brand’s packaging design tired or a bit dated? You can inject some new life into it while supporting packaging and design students by being a sponsor of the 2021 48 Hour Repack competition. Now in its 12th year, this annual event is presented by the Southeastern Chapter of the Institute of Packaging Professionals.

“This student package design competition was created as a forum to highlight the skills and talents of tomorrow’s professionals,” according to the 48 Hour Repack website. It does that — and so much more. As a previous judge (I’ve also been accepted as a judge for the 2021 competition), I can attest to the imagination shown in the entries and to the viability of the winning designs to be successful in the market. You would be short-changing yourself and the solutions by thinking this is “just” a student packaging design competition.

Students redesign packages that are already in the market. For example, last year’s First-Place Winner designed a new, recyclable paperboard design, replacing the typical plastic ring carrier, for a six-pack of Coca-Cola bottles (see video above) to help reduce the amount of plastic waste in oceans and waterways.

The Coca-Cola Co. has been a regular sponsor of the competition. The Southeastern Chapter is now seeking sponsors for the 2021 challenge. If you or your company is interested in participating, contact Chapter President Scott Biondich at [email protected] as soon as possible. Sponsorships cost $5,000 and contribute to the winners’ awards and educational assistance prizes, as well as support the Chapter.


How the competition works.

What makes the designs even more remarkable is that the students envision the new package, create a physical sample, and shoot a video that showcases its features and benefits — all in just 48 hours. None of the students know what the challenges are until the clock starts, which for the 2021 competition will be at 7 p.m. EST on January 29. At that time, the contestants (individuals or teams) receive an email with several competition challenges and select one of the design challenges to solve, which depends on the number or need of sponsors. They must then submit their entries no later than 7 p.m. EST on January 31.

A three-person judging panel reviews the entries and selects First-, Second-, and Third-Place winners. The winners are recognized at the NextPack Packaging Summit, an annual spring event of IoPP’s Southeastern Chapter. Winners receive awards and educational assistance funds — $3,000 for first place; $2,000 for second; $1,000 for third.

Students, 18 years or older, enrolled in a design- or packaging-related program in a recognized college or university are eligible (even students from outside the US). In previous years, between 200 and 300 students from more than 25 colleges have participated.


About the Author(s)

Lisa McTigue Pierce

Executive Editor, Packaging Digest

Lisa McTigue Pierce is Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. She’s been a packaging media journalist since 1982 and tracks emerging trends, new technologies, and best practices across a spectrum of markets for the publication’s global community. Reach her at [email protected] or 630-272-1774.

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