Model for Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Packaging Design

By Lorrie Frear, Alex Lobos and Sandra Turner.

Published by The International Journal of Designed Objects

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper explores a studio course in packaging design within Rochester Institute of Technology, which touches on three key elements: First, the course is designed as an interdisciplinary studio comprised of fourth year and graduate students in graphic design, industrial design and packaging science, allowing them to refine skills in their own disciplines while expanding their breadth in other methods of thinking. This model, commonly called “T-shape” profile, is crucial in today’s professional practice (Design Council 2006). Second, the course involves a Fortune 500 company sponsor, who challenges students to develop packaging solutions in an internal design competition. While collaborations between academia and industry have been common since the Nineteenth Century, they never cease to offer great benefits to all parties involved (Lee 2000, 111). Third, the course assignments require students to develop environmentally friendly solutions. Sustainability has become a key element in packaging design, given the negative effect that current practices in manufacturing and mass consumption have on the environment (Elshof 2008, 134).

Keywords: Packaging, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Design Education, Industry Collaboration, Inter-disciplinary

The International Journal of Designed Objects, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.1-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.842MB).

Lorrie Frear

Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA

Lorrie Frear is an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Rochester Institute of Technology. Prof. Frear’s design interests are diverse and include typography, packaging, environmental design and exploring new trends in the design professions. In addition to her Graphic Design teaching responsibilities, she also teaches Calligraphy. Prof. Frear holds an MFA from RIT in Graphic Design with a minor in Industrial Design, which has served her well in the packaging world. Before returning to teach at RIT in 1990, Prof. Frear worked in Rochester, Boston, San Francisco and Buffalo in various design positions in a wide range of firms and organizations including consultancies, corporate design groups, small design firms, advertising agencies and as an independent designer. In her free time, Prof. Frear produces small identity systems through her company Underwraps, and projects that incorporate distinctive hand lettering for exhibitions, collaborations, commissions and clients.

Alex Lobos

Assistant Professor of Industrial Design, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA

Alex Lobos is an Assistant Professor in Industrial Design at Rochester Institute of Technology. His research positions design as a tool for environmental and social innovation. He has held faculty positions at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Universidad Rafael Landivar in Guatemala and ISTHMUS Escuela de Diseño in Panama. He also has done extensive work in the area of home appliances, first during his graduate studies and then as an Industrial Designer for General Electric. Prof. Lobos is a Fulbright Scholar and holds an M.F.A. from the University of Notre Dame and a B.I.D. from Universidad Rafael Landivar.

Sandra Turner

Graduate Student in Industrial Design, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA

Sandra Turner is a MFA Industrial Design Candidate and Teaching Assistant at Rochester Institute of Technology. Her thesis research is in the area of designing dynamic objects in elementary classrooms that allow for increased physical movement and greater flexibility with lesson plan development. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Art from SUNY Brockport.