The Rise of Interactive Packaging, Envisioning the Future: Meet Gerardo Herrera of Art Center

by Diane Lindquist on 04/16/2014 | 5 Minute Read

Gerardo HerreraDirector of Packaging for Art Center College of Design, will be presenting The Rise of Interactive Packaging: Envisioning the Future at The Dieline Conference on Thursday, May 15, 2014.

As the Director of Packaging of Art Center College of Design, Gerardo leads his departments faculty in the continued development of the curriculum, while teaching and working with Art Center’s Educational Partnerships for Corporate Sponsored Projects & DesignStorms®. These all are vehicles to explore industry challenges and envision the future through a team of multi-disciplinary design students and, faculty. Gerardo honed his distinctive insight, passion, and global experience over two decades while leading the Global Brand Experience team at Nokia and other brands. He is also an associate at Design Studio Nuovo, with founder Frank Nuovo, former chief of design for Nokia and founder/creator of Vertu. Design Studio Nuovo is an incubator for developing compelling ideas, design solutions and innovative technology systems for commercially viable products and services with global brands and new ventures.

We asked Gerardo a few questions about his careers and inspirations.

How did you begin your career? 

After graduating from Art Center College of Design, my best friend and I started our own studio in addition to working with other design firms. During this time of my career, I worked on a variety of projects that ranged from packaging, exhibit, entertainment, game design, toys, travel, health, beauty and sports. Not only did I work in teams, I also had the opportunity to lead teams in fast paced environments during my young career. This became my foundation for what was stored ahead of me, an adventure of a lifetime building design teams for Nokia.

Several years later I was asked by Frank Nuovo, the Chief of Design of Nokia, to build the Global Brand Experience Design Team. I was responsible to build and lead teams in the US, UK, Finland and China to develop and align strategic activities along a common path for a holistic global brand experience. My teams provided strategic insight, innovative design solutions to the Nokia brand, product development, user interface and experience design creation. We also utilized design processes through interdisciplinary cooperative efforts between industrial design, insight and innovation, engineering, colors & materials, annual trends groups, and internal Nokia business and marketing units. 

After Nokia, I was asked to teach at Art Center College of Design to work with students and corporate sponsored studios to envision the future. At the same time I co-started and co-created Yep Yup, a new company designing premium pet lifestyle products and separately teamed up with Frank Nuovo to launch Design Studio Nuovo, an incubator for new technologies and businesses. At DSN, we have currently launched our own patent pending micro locations technology, Datzing.


Who has inspired you through your career?

My uncle, who was a creative director in Mexico for an advertising agency and continues to keep working creatively for clients even now in his early 80’s. He is an amazing letterform designer and artist that tackles all forms of design from print to product, I hope to continue in his footsteps. I also have to add Frank Nuovo, Gayle Towey, Disney Imagineering, and the Nike design team.


Can you tell us about what you will be speaking on at The Dieline Conference? 

I will speak about the rise of interactive packaging and what developing technologies and materials will be applicable in the near future through a series of case studies done by my Art Center College of Design students. I will show examples of what if’s and the way students are looking at how these technologies may play an important part in the packaging of certain products and retail experiences of the future. You’ll see how both students and global corporations benefit from multi-disciplinary studios organized to think through how brands might utilize emerging technologies in their packaging, branding, advertising and retail experiences. 


How do you see the role of designers changing? 

The role of packaging designers continues to evolve in understanding new tools and processes in the area of sustainability, technology and production. A designer must constantly be up to date in understanding the role manufactures play in the way sustainability and manufacturing efficiencies dictate what can be done and where both can co-develop where the opportunities arise. Also, challenging certain norms to progress or advance new ideas and knowing when the packaging becomes an IP asset and ensuring those assets are well protected. A designer must also be on the lookout for new technology and how it might benefit consumers, retailers, manufactures and distribution chains. 

Where do you feel the future of the package design industry is headed?

The future of packaging design is about interactive/smart packaging and the retail systems they live in. This will become important as we start utilizing sensors, wireless technology, flexible screens and digital substrates that can be personalized and updated for product and consumer benefits. The packages that have miniature technology and sensors will communicate messages such as safety, expirations, or reminders. For example, food packaging that will have notifications when food is spoiled and unsafe to consume and the pharmaceutical industry with safety, reminders and multiple drug management. These smart packages and retail systems will have the ability to communicate to manufacturers, retailers, and consumers within their homes (kitchen, living room, medicine cabinet, etc) and wearables.

Check out  Gerardo's recent Opinion Series: Imagining Future Solutions.

Editorial photograph

Meet Gerardo Herrera at The Dieline Conference

Find out what the future of interactive packaging looks like, and what developing technologies and materials will be applicable in the near future, through this series of case studies done by Gerardo Herrera’s students at Art Center College of Design. You’ll see how both students and global corporations benefit from multi-disciplinary studios organized to think through how brands might utilize emerging technologies in their packaging, branding, advertising & retail experiences. 

The next generation of designers and forward thinkers is looking to clarify, inspire and create a vision for smart packaging technologies and the connected retail experiences that benefits consumers, retailers, manufactures and brands as we enter the Internet of Things. 

3 Main Take-Aways

  • Inspiring and thought provoking proposals and scenarios revealing how some technologies could be used.
  • Understand why educational Partnerships are key for design innovation, process and methodologies utilized by corporate organizations as part of the product development cycle.
  • The latest design thinking by students exploring interactive packaging and pushing the boundaries of their discipline to be relevant for today’s multi-disciplinary designer and their employer. 




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