The Paperboard Packaging Alliance (PPA) announced the winners of its 2020 Student Design Challenge, a competition designed to foster awareness and appreciation of paperboard packaging with university educators and the next generation of packaging design decision-makers.

A team of student designers from Ryerson University won first place; Rochester Institute of Technology took home second place; the Fashion Institute of Technology received third place; and an honorable mention was given to an additional team from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Students were asked to design an innovative packaging toolkit for educators to use as part of the Trees into Cartons, Cartons into Trees (TICCIT) program, which engages third through fifth graders in an environmental and educational activity, highlighting the renewability and sustainability of paper and paperboard packaging. All submitted designs can be viewed on the PPA Website.

The Student Design Challenge is an annual competition for university students in leading packaging design programs to show off their creative talent, design skills and innovative approaches to meet real-world customer needs and marketing scenarios.

“The Student Design Challenge is proof there is a vibrant and bright future ahead for an essential and sustainable industry, the paperboard packaging industry,” says Heidi Brock, AF&PA president and CEO. “Teams of students not only solved a challenge, but they also overcame obstacles presented by COVID-19 this year. They used virtual collaboration and technology tools to develop impressive designs, demonstrating an ability to be more adaptable and resilient.”

“The positive impact of this year’s Student Design Challenge on the future of our industry is twofold,” says Ben Markens, president of the Paperboard Packaging Council. “First, it has engaged some of the brightest minds in the next generation of packaging designers, offering them hands-on experience with paperboard. Second, by designing for TICCIT, they’re helping to educate an even younger generation — schoolchildren who will one day have the opportunity to choose renewable, recyclable paperboard packaging.”

2020 Students Design Challenge Winners

1st Place: Ryerson University
Team: Dorotea Bajic and Laura Rendell-Dean
Advisors: Natalia Lumby and Jay Park

2nd Place: Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
Team: Rachel Goldberg, Luke Hallick, Brianna Johnson, Allison Kunz, Jenna Robinson
Advisors: Carlos Diaz-Acosta, Lorrie Frear, Emily Barclay

3rd Place: Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)
Team: Valeria Bornacelli, Michelle Kim, Ashley Markiewicz, Margaret Seleznev
Advisors: Sandra Krasovec, Adam Straus

Honorable Mention: Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
Team: Daeya Shealy, Erica Boyd, Anna Schum-Houck, Sierra Babcock
Advisors: Carlos Diaz-Acosta, Lorrie Frear, Emily Barclay

The first-place design will be put into production and adapted for use in the TICCIT program. Winning student teams and their academic programs received monetary awards — first place: $5,500 to the team/$5,000 to the school; second place: $3,300 to the team/$3,000 to the school; third place: $1,650 to the team/$1,500 to the school.

2021 Student Design Challenge

The 2021 challenge is to design packaging for a hunger relief organization that enhances the recipients’ experience and can be used for storage. The deadline for submissions is Friday, June 4, 2021.