Breaking into the Packaging Design Industry

Blog / 11.05.2018

Our first blog post as part of the #robinsondesign campaign is a Q&A with Graham Nolan, Robinson’s Senior Product Designer, talking about his experience within creative packaging design and any tips and tricks that could help young designers break into the industry. 


What does your role as Senior Product Designer at Robinson entail?

To put it simply my job involves producing packaging concepts and turning them into reality. There is much more to this than people realise. Below is an outline of my creative design process:

I also manage our additive manufacturing facilities, produce presentations and artwork plus jigs and fixtures for quality and production.

What attracted you to pursue a career in the design industry?

My skills and interests lead me to consider a career in design – I started sketching from a young age which I think helped. I have always had an interest in taking products apart to see how they work as well as repairing broken items. Design and technology was my favourite subject at school and I always felt at home in the workshop. Designing products seems natural to me and is something I also do out of work.

Was there a light bulb moment when you realised design was for you?

It was at the beginning of my second year of university when I started my industrial placement – I really believed I could make it into such a competitive career. The time I spent in the industry really inspired me to become a designer and I developed the skills I needed to progress.

What has been the most valuable thing you’ve learned?

Nothing stays the same; everything is developing and evolving. You only need to look back a couple of years to see how far 3D printing has come. It was not long ago that metal printing was confined to special rooms and workers in white coats, and now they have brought out desktop machines! Just as technology evolves I feel my skillset has too. Learning new software and skills I believe to be very important.

What advice would you give to young designers trying to break into the industry?

Try to get a placement in the industry even if it’s just for a couple of months. I found my year in placement invaluable for learning new skills and working with customers on live projects. I also made many contacts in the industry that I still keep in touch with now.

What’s next for you at Robinson?

There is a lot of projects taking place currently and some exciting investments in new machinery, which will bring blow moulding and injection stretch blow moulding to our UK site. I will be looking to develop my CAD modelling skills to achieve the complex geometry associated with blow moulded products.