Customer Experience & Branding | Packaging Design | Prototyping & Batch Production
The Micropod system was specially created to empower anyone to grow fresh, healthy microgreens at home, using an easy and sustainable process. The system which consists of a starter kit, seedmat refills and micro snips needed packaging: packaging that not only protected the contents but also tied in a positive user experience from end to end. Blender provided a full user experience design service of the product and packaging for this project.
The Micropod team had already done extensive market research for the design of the product itself, and worked with Blender to refine these insights, providing a deeper understanding of the brand and what was required for success in the packaging design. What came out of that research was some key considerations for the packaging design brief. It needed to reflect the brand’s sustainability values, provide a delightful out of box experience and be multi-functional so that no further packaging was required for shipping.
There was a pretty clear vision for this packaging right from the start so Blender got straight to work on concept sketches, to refine the features of the structural packaging with these key considerations in mind.
The product is primarily sold online, therefore the out of box experience had to be on point. A number of ideas were prototyped and user tested before eventually settling on the matchbox style “slide and reveal” which best suited the shape of the product.
Designing for a positive impact on the environment was a key outcome the Micropod team wanted to achieve. The Growtrays are made from bamboo fibres which are eco-friendly, BPA free and biodegradable. The seedmats are made in New Zealand and are fully compostable. It was really important that the packaging reflected the sustainable values of the brand so a lot of care was taken in material selection. The packaging and postage material is all biodegradable, compostable and recyclable cardboard. The seedmats are wrapped in clear material called NatureFlex, a biodegradable and home compostable product made from cellulose (renewable wood pulp), making it one of the most eco-friendly products.
A structural hexagon honeycomb theme in the design is mirrored from the Micropod physical product and branding. The hexagon cutouts on the outer box signify points of interaction to help slide the inner tray out. The honeycomb theme is repeated with a finger hole on the kraft card insert, to open up and to reveal the seed mats inside.
The final package design for the starter kit primarily functions to protect the product without the need for added packaging for shipping, just a courier label. This was ensured by the design of a double-walled matchbox style package and selection of strong, rigid corrugated E-flute card for the outer sleeve and inner tray. The insert was designed to contain and protect the seedmats, prevent the plastic trays sliding inside during transit and to be removed and folded up into a mini sandwich board with instructions for home or retail display.
The Micro Snips are a bonus accessory. After much experimentation and prototypes of pillow boxes and envelope style packets, we ended up with a hybrid (half pillow box, half envelope) that we think is just perfect to complement the full Micropod system.
Packaging was also required for the seed mat refill which are also designed to be sent in the post, without any need for further packaging. The package is opened with a recognisable and satisfying tear strip. Opening the packet reveals a bright coloured inside giving the product a more premium feel. The tab on the lid can be used to close the box up again and store seedmats for later use. Again, the shape of the tab mirrors the system honeycomb theme.
The final packaging design is a functional and eco-friendly solution which has subtle details that mirror the design elements from the physical product. We recognised that the user experience doesn’t just begin when they start using the product, but well before. The ingrained understanding of the brand ensured that Blender was able to design a beautiful product and its complimentary packaging to provide an enjoyable user experience from end to end. Right from ordering the Micropod system through to harvesting home-grown microgreens and enjoying them with a meal.
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