This paper explores a studio course in packaging design within Rochester Institute of Technology, which touches on three key elements: First, the course is designed as an interdisciplinary studio comprised of fourth year and graduate students in graphic design, industrial design and packaging science, allowing them to refine skills in their own disciplines while expanding their breadth in other methods of thinking. This model, commonly called “T-shape” profile, is crucial in today’s professional practice (Design Council 2006). Second, the course involves a Fortune 500 company sponsor, who challenges students to develop packaging solutions in an internal design competition. While collaborations between academia and industry have been common since the Nineteenth Century, they never cease to offer great benefits to all parties involved (Lee 2000, 111). Third, the course assignments require students to develop environmentally friendly solutions. Sustainability has become a key element in packaging design, given the negative effect that current practices in manufacturing and mass consumption have on the environment (Elshof 2008, 134).

Publication Date



NOTE: This is a preprint of an article whose final and definitive form will be published in The International Journal of Designed Objects. Volume 7, 2013, www.designprinciplesandpractices.com, ISSN 2325-1379 © Common Ground, Lorrie Frear, Alex Lobos, Sandra Turner, All Rights Reserved Permissions: cg-support@commongroundpublishing.com

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Design (CIAS)


RIT – Main Campus