Lone Star PackageFirst place winner of the 2013 Glass Packaging Design Competition at Michigan State University School of Packaging is the student team of Taylor Thompson, Tyler Nunnold, Sean Hannah, and Matt Gallinger. Their cowboy-friendly, robust, 5-sided package design for Lone Star Whiskey beat out 70 other student teams in this 7th glass bottle design competition sponsored by the Glass Packaging Institute (GPI, gpi.org).

The winning design is a clear, 750 ml glass bottle featuring a star shape shoulder that carries up around the bottle neck. “It’s a big, robust, solid looking structure and the star shape ties in with the name of the product,” says MSU packaging instructor Dennis Young, who organizes this annual competition with Rick Bayer, GPI Academic Subcommittee Chair, as part of GPI lectures to MSU packaging students.

“The design, shape, and contours may be a challenge from a manufacturing standpoint, but they’re great from a marketing standpoint,” says Paul Koning, MSU packaging instructor who will lead the competition next year. 

Four-member student teams from the Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 Packaging with Glass and Metal class participated in the competition, working on the project throughout the semester as they learn about glass packaging. "This competition allows nearly 300 students each year to get a deeper understanding of the positive attributes of glass packaging,” says Bayer. 

“This project was just an incredible opportunity,” says student winner Nunnold, who added that the team chose to design a glass package for a spirit because it would give them the most opportunity for creativity.

“Glass gives you the best quality image when you put it on the shelf, the way it reflects light, and the moldability capabilities really allow you to be free from a lot of restrictions,” says Nunnold. “Glass is also one of the few materials that is 100% recyclable and if you’re going to make any large container you have to consider the impact on the environment.”

The top three teams were recognized with glass plaques, and the winning team was invited to Verallia (Verallia.com), a glass container manufacturer, for a tour of their Muncie, IN headquarters and Dunkirk, IN glass bottle plant. Student winners were also able to meet and dialogue with Verallia’s product design, marketing, and sales teams.

“At Verallia, we’re always looking for ways to share our passion for glass packaging, so this is a great opportunity to show off the many benefits of glass to future packaging professionals,” says Karla Kellogg, Marketing Manager for Beer at Verallia.

“This was my first time through a glass plant,” says Nunnold, “and it was amazing actually looking in to the furnace. To see what goes on there really took our learnings to the next level.”

Student winners were also stunned with the final Lucite mold of their winning design. “Seeing the look on the winners’ faces when we unveiled the product model was worth all the effort,” says Kellogg. “It was like kids on Christmas morning. The model brought everything they worked on to life for them.”

According to industry guest lecturer at MSU Doug Hesche, Sales Manager at Spear, “the student projects just get better and better in terms of design and technology.”

Young agrees and attributes that to the amount of hours that the industry spends with the students. “It really makes a difference to have knowledgeable, experienced people talk to the students,” says Young. “This event is a high point for students. It ends up on resumes and is a critical part for some students in where they end up in the packaging business.”

The top ten submissions were judged by an industry panel including Dale DeVore-Verallia, Raul Parades-O-I, Efrain Karchmer-Vitro, Dave Wengerhoff-Diageo, Bill Eaton-Pepsico, and Rich Crawford-GPI Past Chairman Board of Trustees. A model of the winning design was supplied by Verallia, and Spear supplied the pressure-sensitive film, 3-color label.

“We’re really appreciative for the support from GPI,” says Young. “The contribution the judges make and the tour hosts, we really thank them for all the support.”