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Simon Costin’s Dickensian street scene

09/12/2011 Leave a comment

Simon Costin's Dickensian street scene

As part of its Dickens and London exhibition the Museum of London has commissioned set designer Simon Costin to create a suitably Dickensian street scene as a window display of its City Gallery premises at 150 London Wall…

The cardboard city streetscape, complete with narrow alleys, church towers and shop fronts, is made entirely from cardboard and inspired by the descriptive essays of Charles Dickens. “My intention was to create a fantasy vision of London as it would have been glimpsed by Dickens on his nocturnal wanderings through the city,” says Costin. “His essays are extremely evocative. Dickens once wrote that he felt like a child in a dream ‘staring at the marvellousness of everything’. It is that marvellousness that I wanted to recreate.”

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A brief history of… packaging

14/08/2011 Leave a comment

different types of packaging on a table

If you are a regular visitor to the blog you might have noticed that we often feature packaging on ‘design of the week’.

Packaging is something we really take for granted so we thought it’d be nice to talk about the key moments in packaging history…

The common definition says that packaging is the technology, science and art of enclosing products for protection, transportation, storage and use. The history of packaging dates back to ancient times when natural materials such as leaves from trees, woven baskets and animal skins were used to store food. Examples of terracotta vessels that would have been used to carry liquids have been found that date back to 3000-1500 BCE. By 1200 BCE Ancient Egyptians were pressing molten glass into moulds to create jars of all kinds.

The study of old packaging is an important aspect of archaeology – a lot of the vessels from previous civilisations look more like works of art to us than everyday items. These are the predecessors to our current packaging and containers! Technical innovations were few and far between but the collections of ceramic and blown glass which fill our museums today show the extent to which everyday containers had become indispensable tools for our ancestors.

The earliest recorded use of paper as a packaging material dates back to 1035 when a Persian traveller visiting the markets of Cairo noted that vegetables, spices and hardware were wrapped in paper for the customers after they were sold.
By the Middle Ages wooden barrels had become the most common way of preserving and transporting food. They could be used for both solids and liquids. Their robustness meant they could survive the perilous transportation of the age.

During the Industrial Revolution in Europe the need for new types of packaging grew. Trade routes flourished and a vast range of new products were suddenly available to consumers. In 1764 tobacconists in London started selling snuff in metal tins but no-one was willing to use metal to package food as it was considered dangerous. In 1809 General Napoleon Bonaparte offered 12,000 francs to anyone who could preserve food for his army. Nicholas Appert, a Parisian chef and confectioner, found that food sealed in containers and sterilized by boiling could be preserved for long periods. One year later Peter Durand of Britain received the first patent for the idea of preserving food using tin can.

By the early 1900s, wooden crates and boxes were being replaced by corrugated paper shipping cartons due to their ease of use and low cost. Today ‘cardboard boxes’ are used almost universally for shipping products around the world!
In the early 1920s, the invention of transparent cellophane marked the beginning of the era of plastic. Bakelite followed soon after and was one of the first plastics made from synthetic components.

Since the 1920s a large number of technical innovations have led to the continued improvement of packaging. The 1940s brought the development of packaging for frozen food. Aerosol cans were introduced to the mass market in 1952. Aluminium drinks cans became popular in the 1960s and the soft drinks market exploded. Aseptic cartons were invented in 1961 and have been used for preserving long life milk ever since.

Today one of the most commonly used plastics is polyethylene terephthalate (PETE). This material only became available for containers during the last two decades after entering the market in 1977 as beverage packaging.
As people have become more conscious of the environment current packaging designers are constantly looking for new sustainable products to use and different ways of using recycled materials. One example of this is a new bottle from PepsiCo which will go into production in 2012. It will be the world’s first petroleum-free plastic bottle! PepsiCo will use raw materials and by-products from its food businesses to create a molecular structure that is identical to PETE.

We regularly supply prototype mailer packs, presentation boxes, POP and POS units, CD and DVD disk packaging and retail gift boxes. Working from your ideas we will agree the best way to create either a white dummy or a fully printed and finished package. On completion we will supply cad drawing, cutter-guide and print-ready artwork for further production requirements.

If you require something like this please call +44 (0)20 7837 6714 or email info@adtec.co.uk and we will do our best to solve your problem.

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