A beverage carton designed by university students that highlights the dangers plastic straws pose to marine life has won this year’s Red Dot Design Award for brands and communication.
Students and faculty at the D&A Lab in National United University’s department of architecture created cartons with animal designs aligned with the opening for the straw. If a straw is inserted, it portrays it going through a turtle’s nose on a green tea carton, a bird’s beak on a black tea carton and a fish’s mouth on a carton of Americano coffee.
The Red Dot awards are organized by the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Essen, Germany.
Photo courtesy of National United University
When people use the cartons, hopefully they would reflect on the environmental catastrophe being caused by the use of disposable plastic, the designers said.
“To stand out among a myriad of products and win the Red Dot award requires a product with value in terms of its aesthetics and the significance of its message,” Wu Hsi-yan (吳細顏), the professor in charge of the team, said on Monday.
The team was motivated create something that would be effective in terms of its visual qualities and psychological impact, Wu said.
Students Wang Yi-jung (王以戎), Chang Liao Hsuan-chu (張廖軒曲) and Huang En (黃茵) decided early on that they wanted to base their design on recyclable containers, they said.
They settled on black-and-white drawings to create a simple, yet elegant design, they said, adding that they used the packaging to spread the message that plastic waste is filling the oceans and harming marine animals.
If their packaging were to be widely used, people might decide to give up straws, having been reminded of the damage they cause, they said.
They could be spurred to give up other disposable items, such as utensils, as well, the students said.
“It is a rare and valuable thing for a product design to cause people to reflect on their behavior,” department director Liang Han-hsi (梁漢溪) said.
Wu Kuei-yang (吳桂陽), dean of the university’s College of Design, said that hopefully industry professionals would work with the university’s students so that more people would become familiar with its outstanding design program.
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