Judge's Report

The Packaging Council of Australia’s (PCA) Southern Cross Packaging Design Awards celebrated a milestone 30th year in 2015. With its inception under the guidance of the Australian Institute of Packaging it was successfully picked up by the PCA and developed to be one of the worlds most entered student award programs at its peak. This year, more than 400 entries were received from 20 institutes across Australia including Universities, TAFE’s and private colleges specialising in Graphic, Packaging and Industrial design.

Evidence of the value these disciplines and award programs bring to our industry can be found in our 2015-judging panel. Alisha and Kellie – Graphic Designers by trade, are successful business owners and global designers in their own right with Kellie being a past winner of these Awards. Phillip and Nicholas, who like myself are trained Industrial Designers, share amongst us various patents, award winning designs and experience with global brand owners and manufacturers.

This year, students had six briefs to choose from. The direction of each brief is set by the sponsors and are driven by a packaging format or process, with a theme of focus such as improved accessibility, issues faced by society or requiring a brand re-design.

Judging is an intense three-day commitment. We review individually by category, assessing against the criteria and then discuss as a group. It is here that the diversity of our panels background and experience allows for some hearty debate. We then vote anonymously and discuss further to secure our winners across all categories.

As judges we always aim to find that trifecta of quality that includes an articulate and methodical rationale, a creative well-formed packaging design solution and a quality-finished mock-up. It was encouraging to note the diversity of schools and geographic dispersion from Commendation through to Gold winners, with 5 states across Australia represented.

As ever, our thanks go out to the sponsors of this event. Not only for their financial support and willingness to develop fresh design briefs but the technical support they provide to every student. It is always positive to see students engage with the sponsors in their rationales, validating the direction they have made on technical challenges and ultimately the final direction of their design.

On behalf of the panel, we congratulate every student that entered. The students’ inventiveness and creativity continues to inspire us. Southern Cross is a unique opportunity to unleash your creativity and explore the myriad ways packaging can influence and impact our society for the better. We encourage you to embrace it. Thank you also to the lecturers who tirelessly continue to support these Awards and see the value they provide students careers and development.

Thanks must go to our Judging Panel who continue to release their time freely. It is an honour to partake as a Judge in this program and help shape the future influencers in our field and I acknowledge the valued input and opinion given by Alisha, Kellie, Phillip and Nicholas to support me this year.

Finally, thanks and congratulations must go to Jen Salem, the Awards Manager at the PCA. Jen’s passion and energy for the Awards is unwavering. Jen’s ability to bring all of the schools and entries together appears effortless and makes the event a pleasure to be part of.

The Southern Cross Packaging Design Awards not only acts as a platform for students, lecturers and institutes to connect and network with industry but becomes a training platform for our emerging packaging designers and entrepreneurs. Our goal for these Awards is to discover talent that strengthens our industry and improves its creativity on a global level. I would encourage all institutions and lecturers to continue their support of these Awards, despite the challenges we all face with workload and limited budgets. A golden opportunity waits for those with vision, commitment and drive.

Congratulations to all those involved and looking forward to next year’s creative pool of talent on display.

Michael Grima
Senior Judge