Chowan University ranks third in 2018 Student Design Challenge
Two Chowan University students, Gabby Wilson of Suffolk, VA, and Shelby Barlowe of Marion, NC, placed third in the 2018 Paperboard Packaging Alliance (PPA) Student Design Challenge.
Each year, students in leading packaging design programs across the North American continent accept the PPA challenge to show off their design skills and innovation. Participants take part in a competition to meet real-world customer needs and marketing scenarios. Chowan graphic communications students have entered the competition for the past six years, and this is the first time placing as finalists.
Barlowe and Wilson submitted their subscription box design, Moment, at the end of May 2018. In July, their submission was selected as one of three finalists to be judged at the 2018 Pack Expo, October 14-17, in Chicago, IL. They received third place in the overall competition, earning a $1650 award to split and $1500 for Chowan. Chowan placed behind California Polytechnic State University who came in 2nd and Rochester Institute of Technology who took first.
This year’s challenge invited undergraduate students to design a subscription box package. Designers had the option to create packaging for one of three items in the following categories: travel-size cosmetics, on-the-go snacks, or fitness gear essentials. The box was to enhance the customer experience, be reusable, enhance brand recognition, and influence customers to become loyal subscribers.
Barlowe and Wilson designed a package for yoga fitness products. Along with the entry, they included a marketing plan and one-page summary that explained the design concept and how it met the contest criteria. Their entry earned them one of the top three places to continue on in the competition. Well-known packaging industry judges for the competition included Richard DePaul, Patrick Shields, Brett Wade, Bambang Witoradyo, and Jeremy Harger.
Dr. Mitchell Henke of Ontario, Ohio, Associate Professor of Graphic Communications and faculty advisor, stated, “I try to teach students creative problem-solving strategies that extend beyond specific technical skills.” He continued, “Shelby and Gabby applied that knowledge and epitomized the approach as they designed their prototype and then tested it and improved it until it met their expectations.” Their hard work paid off when they placed third in the competition.
Barlowe graduated in May 2018 with a major in graphic communications. She described the PPA Student Design Challenge as one of the biggest, most intense projects tackled by students in Chowan’s graphic communications program. “It is an exciting project because of the challenge and opportunity for creativity and innovation. Tight deadlines and small groups make you think both quickly and efficiently, and the inherent stress of the situation helps bring students together.” Barlowe and Wilson were the only students on their team, where the maximum is five. “We had to make the best use of our time, which was roughly six weeks,” Barlowe said.
As a perk of placing in the top three of the PPA Student Design Challenge, Wilson, Barlowe, and Henke were invited to the Paperboard Packaging Council Fall Meeting and Leadership Conference in Atlanta, GA, October 24-26, to present their project again, in front of industry leaders. PaperWorks Industries Inc. headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, sponsored their attendance. “Seeing the end-product makes the entire process very rewarding, it is definitely a gratifying feeling,” Barlowe remarked.
The Paperboard Packaging Alliance (PPA) is a joint initiative of the American Forest & Paper Association and the Paperboard Packaging Council. The mission is to promote the benefits of paperboard packaging and products to influence preference for these materials in packaging design and selection.
Please join Chowan University in congratulating Shelby and Gabby on their accomplishment.