Starpack Awards Insider

Starpack Awards Insider

With Starpack Awards 2014 entries opening soon, Packaging Gazette targets the experts for some insider information…


Judges and experts with a wealth of experience are on-hand with advice throughout the Starpack Awards entry process. Here, we speak to three industry experts who were involved in the 2013 awards. 


Clover Abbott (CA), Packaging Technologist at Innocent drinks

Simon Pendry (SP), Creative Director at Blue Marlin

Benjamin Punchard (BP), Senior Global Packaging Analyst at Mintel


Q. What does the Starpack Awards offer industry that other packaging competitions don’t?


CA: It’s done by category rather than by material type, which I believe is much more appropriate.


SP: Starpack offers a great blend of focus on innovation, practicality, and environmentally friendly green credentials, all hugely important things in the packaging industry. 


Q. Why is it important for established companies, already operating successfully in the packaging industry, to further gain recognition with innovative packaging?


SP: Awards are always a great story for clients, who like to feel they have commissioned an award-winning design, but also for the designers. Having industry recognition is a real buzz. Awards also attract new talent to the agency, which is great for future growth. 


CA: Business success is often linked to reputation. If you have a reputation for creative problem solving, for being in touch with customer needs, and for innovative solutions, it’s likely that more people will come to you with business. Developing a business isn’t just about selling lots of stuff, it’s about enhancing your customer’s experience so they keep coming back for more and recommend your business to their peers. 


BP: The retail shelf is not an easy place to be. In addition to competing with all the other brands, the UK saw 25,000 new products launched in 2011, all competing for the consumer’s attention. In this crowded marketplace it is often packaging that makes the difference between a purchase and a lost consumer. And the winners can be packaging that has added functionality, but just as important is packaging that communicates the properties and values of the brand or product. 


Q. What did you look for in the industry entries?


CA: Problem-solving through packaging design. Personally, I am more driven by function than form, so tell me how a problem has been solved through good use of packaging. (Of course sometimes the problem is about form, which is fine.) 


BP: Incremental changes that improve on an idea can lead to some truly impressive results, but for the Starpack Awards I looked for step change innovation that really challenges the status quo. That could be a revolutionary use for a common material, or a packaging design that really changes how the consumer interacts with, or thinks about, the product. 


Q. Do you have any insider tips for applicants?


CA: Tell us why and how your packaging solves a problem, show us how it has been successful, and don’t forget to give us the before and after picture. What was the brief and how has your solution met the brief? 


SP: Produce game changing, revolutionary ideas with a green footprint.


BP: All the entries into the Starpack Awards are of a high standard and worthy of merit, so to win an award is a tough game. Make sure that you clearly communicate where you see the game changing innovation in your design and the benefits this will bring to your clients, be they manufacturers, brand owners or consumers. 


The Starpack Awards are open for entry on 20th January 2014. For further information please visit




Stephanie Cornwall
Stephanie Cornwall