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The concept of carative factors relates to human awareness of what should be done for proper care of something or someone. It's a concept that has entered the minds of packaging designers on how to craft more sustainable packaging. Issues of waste reduction and environmental protection have become business issues because they affect finance and the future cost of resources. Here's a look at carative factors relating to packaging design.

Major Carative Themes in Packaging

Dr. Yoon J. Choi, a product design lecturer at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, is an active researcher in exploring possibilities for sustainable design. Her past experience includes working as a 3D packaging designer for various London firms. She is helping the packaging design industry pay closer attention to carative details.

Modern packaging has evolved over years of analysis for finding more efficient solutions. The four main carative themes are responsibility, commitment, empathy, and benevolence. Each of these areas calls for different types of carative actions for ensuring consumers get products safely and efficiently while causing minimal damage to the environment.

Responsibility is an important theme because it covers public safety and concern for the broader community beyond business profits. Many times businesses behave more responsibly when they are monitored.

Commitment combines a belief and dedication to action that provides support to someone or something. It has an ethical nature that suggests loyal support to a cause. Commitment comes from thought, time, and energy invested in making improvements.

Empathy is associated with caring and compassion through emotional engagement with someone or something. It often relates to concerns for society over individuals. Packaging designers can use empathy in crafting new sustainable solutions that might catch on with the broader market.

Benevolence is a type of carative state of mind that aims to be charitable without focusing on a specific person. It may involve sharing posts on social media that reveal emotions toward victims of poor working conditions.  

How Carative Themes Will Affect Packaging Sustainability

The four main carative themes will play a significant role in packaging design in the coming years due to the growing focus on business sustainability. Not only can businesses cuts costs and waste by paying closer attention to carative issues, they can contribute to a cleaner ecosystem. Businesses, particularly manufacturers, will face tighter regulations in the future, as the processes of extracting resources from the environment in a safe manner will become more challenging.

Social concerns are at the core of sustainability, as consumers share a growing awareness with manufacturers that landfills are getting too stacked with harmful materials. Dr. Choi's innovative sustainability model points to owner-object detachment with care for the object's durability. Her innovative approach to design involves treating objects like humans to the point of giving them the proper care when they need them.

Her ideas suggest that carative factors can be embedded into packaging design to not only improve the physical package, but its emotional value as well. She offers a toolkit for packaging designers to use for crafting new designs that encompass carative themes.

As a result of growing sustainability concerns, the materials used in modern packaging have been moving toward materials that either have been recycled or can be recycled. Inner plastic containers are getting thinner while outer packaging is getting stronger to reduce losses and waste in the shipping process. Meanwhile, various metals are favored increasingly as clean, robust packaging solutions.

Metal Packaging and Sustainability

The reason metals have been used in commercial packaging for over 300 years is because they do a good job protecting products from exposure to environmental elements such as sunlight and contaminants. Metals such as tin plate have been exceptionally reliable at preserving food and other perishable items. Not only does it protect food from spoiling, it keeps containers air-tight to maintain freshness.

Another strong benefit to metal is that it works well with print, either directly on metal or applying an adhesive label to the surface. A big part of sustainability for a manufacturer is transparency. So the more information you provide to the consumer on the label, the more they can make an informed decision.

When it comes to mass production of food products, the producer must care about why the consumer is buying it. The packaging should reinforce the product's benefits and provide a mental and emotional connection between the product, packaging, and consumer. The package should tell the consumer everything they need to know about a food item, such as its ingredients, nutrients and vitamins.

Relationships with Objects

Understanding the relationship a consumer has with a product is essential to improving carative aspects of both products and packaging. Every product has some type of lifespan that eventually is used up. Consumers must then make decisions on what to do with these objects that no longer have practical use. So the objects sit in a closet and take up space. In the case of food items, consumers might save the containers for repurposing.

Consumers, in order to reduce clutter in their homes, eventually must become detached from objects that lose their utility, aesthetics or emotional value. This detachment will allow them to free themselves of letting junk pile up in storage. The accumulation of offices or garages full of junk is typically a result of responding to persuasive forces within the world of mass production.  

The new emerging perspective of consumers about mass production is that there's been so much of it that people need to pay attention to sustainabile solutions such as recycling. The tech industry has provided a double-edged sword in recent years for sustainable solutions. On one hand technology it's providing innovative solutions to sustainability such as with IoT sensors that monitor large manufacturing systems. On the other hand, demand for new trendy tech gadgets keeps growing.

Tech gadgets are examples of objects that consumers grow an emotional attachment for. But eventually a new model with new features causes consumers to forget about the gadget they bought a few years ago and replace it with a new one. Some people hang on to old appliances the same way, even when functions start to falter.

But when people practice emotional detachment from objects, it can actually extend the lifespan of the object, according to Dr. Choi and other researchers exploring the relationships between humans and objects. Ultimately, circuluating objects and the materials from which they are made from leads to better sustainable solutions for supply chains and society.


It's now essential for packaging designers to learn as much as possible about how to communicate with consumers through packaging. The carative values associated with sustainability can become part of the design and the package's message. When carative values are applied to packing to reduce waste and encourage recycling, many consumers feel better about the package.



Topics: Packaging Design, Carative Factors in Packaging design

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