NextPack to reveal the Future of Packaging

Paul Spitale

March 1, 2016

5 Min Read
NextPack to reveal the Future of Packaging

Flying cars? Hoverboards? Video conferencing? In 1989, the movie “Back to the Future II” made bold predictions about life in the year 2015. Yes, there were some hits and misses in the film, but all in all, the predictions were pretty accurate. Proof: some of us now enjoy video glasses (compliments of Google), most use video conferencing and almost all have at least one large-screen TV in the home.

Predicting what the packaging industry will look like in 2020 is hard enough—let alone what the industry will look like in more than 25 years. On March 22, 2016, hundreds of packaging professionals will converge on Atlanta, GA, to attend the 7th annual NextPack conference. NextPack is billed as the “Conference on the Future of Packaging,” and it offers at least one great way for attendees to sneak a peek into the future of the industry.

This year, NextPack will be held among the beluga whales at the Georgia Aquarium where attendees will be treated to insights from four renowned speakers:

• Joe Duffy, founder of Duffy Design Group, will present “Brand Packaging – Plus”—an integrated approach to package design that connects total brand voice, point of sale (POS), digital advertising and other forms of brand communication.

• Larry Logan, chief marketing officer at Digimarc Corp., will talk about “Enhanced Packaging as a New Marketing Channel for Today’s Mobile Shoppers”—how technology and packaging are merging to create a new inflection point with today’s mobile-savvy shoppers.

• Adam Schettle, senior director global packaging and Consumer Experience Design (CXD) at Motorola, will share the case study “Moto 360: Creating the next generation of innovative packaging”—overcoming the challenges of new, innovative design versus continuing the paradigm.

• Amcor president Ann O’Hara and Suresh Krishnan, technical director of Liquiform, Amcor-LiquiForm Group, will co-present “Changing the Packaging Landscape via Liquid Forming”—how innovating the manufacturing process can provide both a better product and lower energy, materials and costs.

In addition to this impactful line-up of speakers, NextPack will unveil the winners of its “48 Hour Repack” student competition. This competition proves to be a crowd favorite each and every year as students from around the country submit new, innovative packaging for one of four “problem” product categories. This year the staff chose juice pouches/boxes, K-cup packaging, Barbie-doll packaging and pizza boxes for the competition. These categories were unveiled to the students at 7 p.m. on Fri., Jan. 22.

Students had to submit their futuristic designs, graphics and a YouTube sales video by 7 p.m. on Sun., Jan. 24—only 48 hours later! The top 10 teams from this competition will be in attendance, and three teams will win $6,000 in educational assistance. New to the competition: NextPack attendees will be able to vote for the student team they think best deserves top honors. This “People’s Choice” award will bring an additional $1,000 to one talented, student team.

Karen Boyd, NextPack program director, offers additional reasons to attend NextPack, the Conference on the Future of Packaging:

Karen, this is the 7th annual conference being held in Atlanta. Tell us about the choice to house this event at the Georgia Aquarium this year?

Boyd: The event gets bigger and bigger, and nothing matches the size of this Atlanta landmark. In fact, the Georgia Aquarium was the largest aquarium in the world when it opened and remains the largest in the Western hemisphere. We hope the more than 100,000 exotic animals there can help inspire our thinking on the future of packaging. What better examples of attraction, protection and adaptation are there? Of course, we should also think about the impact our packaging choices make on the delicate ecosystem these animals represent.


What are the some of the highlights NextPack attendees should expect?

Boyd: We have four fantastic speakers and more than 30 exhibitors again this year. Anyone that touches the branded design or graphics space knows the name Joe Duffy, and we are privileged to have him as our keynote speaker this year. Joe is one of the most respected and sought-after thought leaders on branding and design. We really look forward to his insights around integrating the entire brand communication architecture—from packaging and POS to advertising and digital. We believe this will be the key to effectiveness in our industry over the next decade.

Will the 48 Hour Repack Competition steal the show this year?

Boyd: It certainly could. It is amazing to see the innovative package designs these student teams can bring to life in just 48 hours. The competition started as a Southeastern, regional competition intended to expose students from every discipline to the packaging industry. Now, it is truly a national competition that gets bigger each year. This year we had more than 200 students from 16 schools competing for top honors. The best part…in addition to the prize money, many of these students are getting jobs in the packaging industry as a direct result of this competition.


Are there spots remaining, and if so, what kind of discounts are available?

Boyd: Yes, the event is March 22, but spots are still available, and there are discounts for students and companies that choose to sponsor the event.

For individuals, simply use the promo code “PKGDIGEST” for $25 off the regular price. Please go to for more information.


Paul Spitale is president emeritus for the Southeastern Chapter of the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP). With 20+ years of global packaging innovation and new product marketing experience, Spitale is a consultant to the packaging industry. He has taken roles of increasing responsibility with companies like ITW, Newell Rubbermaid and WestRock, and has launched a variety of successful new products that highlight the importance of great packaging along the way.

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