• Transform magazine
  • September 26, 2022

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Five minutes with Uwe Melichar

Uwe Melichar

Uwe Melichar, managing partner at packaging production agency MELICHAR Bros. and member of the Pentawards Sustainable Design jury panel, speaks to Transform magazine about the need to recognise sustainable design, how brands can achieve it and the role packaging plays, and what the Pentawards’ new category of Sustainable Design aims to achieve.

Why is it important to recognise the need for sustainable design?

As designers, we are responsible for applying creative thinking to the issue of climate change and finding innovative solutions that positively impact our environment. Sustainable design is one, hugely significant, part of that mission that deserves recognition. For too long, sustainability has been considered a “nice-to-have” or an afterthought in the design process. By introducing the Sustainable Design category, Pentawards are sending a message that environmental considerations are now an essential part of packaging design. The Sustainable Design Jury Panel hopes to give a platform to some of the most cutting edge sustainable designs, and inspire the industry to create even more innovative work in the future.

How can brands achieve sustainable design and what role does packaging play?

In the past, packaging design was driven by saving materials, cutting costs and maximising profits. To achieve sustainable design, brands must rethink this by putting eco-friendly materials and reducing waste front and centre. Many brands have been doing this for a long time, but the industry-wide call for sustainability only really hit the ground a couple of years ago. Central to the mission of reducing your carbon footprint is through material selection. By choosing packaging materials that are not harmful to the environment, and are not superfluous or wasteful, significant impact can be achieved.

What does Pentawards’ new category of Sustainable Design aim to achieve? What kind of material were you looking out for?

As the leading body dedicated to recognition of global packaging design excellence, Pentawards has always been a future-facing voice in the sector. The organisation has had a Sustainable Design sub-category for the past two years, but as the need for solutions to the climate crisis accelerates, the awards programme understood that it had to accelerate too. The mission behind this new category is simple: to stimulate, inspire and support more sustainable packaging across the sector. Packaging undeniably has a large role to play in minimising waste and reducing a brand’s carbon footprint, so the new category seeks to encourage brands to embrace sustainability even more. I couldn’t be more proud to be honoured to sit on the jury. We’re looking for brands that unite good design with sustainability, ultimately providing consumers with something that is still attractive, but not harmful to the planet.

Which entries shortlisted in the Sustainable Design category stood out and why?

For me personally a couple of entries that stood out were the Pedon Ce di Buono in Italia and Evian No Label packs. What I loved about Pedon was the circular approach by which they used their own waste from bean production for the packaging material of the pack. This combined with the neat and attractive illustrations on pack and its clear and simple description of the environmental improvement from the re-design showed it was very well executed. As for the Evian pack, its amazing that a major brand is being radical enough in design to create such strong branding without a label. All necessary information is integrated into the mould and the bottle is recyclable. It’s beautiful in its simplicity yet still creates standout packaging.