6 Ways VR is Changing the Packaging Design Game

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Derrick Lin


Written by Austin Miller, he is the Head of Marketing at Strata.

VR might still be in its infancy, but it’s maturing. And as the industry matures, it’s finding more and more ways to service the needs of audiences that have needs other than slaying endless zombies (not to discredit you zombie slayers for your valiant service).

Some of those needs include those of the packaging industry. Now to be fair, most of the VR solutions that are crossing over with this niche are not directly marketed or intended as such. However, all it takes is a little creativity and foresight to see just how much is out there and where this is all going.

Alternate Revenue Streams
Think you’re awesome packaging designs only have meaning in the tangible world? Think again. Apps like Vire let you place your products within a virtual reality environment.

Similar to the pay-per click advertising model, these apps charge per interaction. App developers get paid anytime a user interacts with branded objects, and advertisers get to brand virtual objects and monitor engagement.

This setup makes product placement seem organic, and gives package designers a new avenue for building revenue. If this type of marketing takes off, your 3D design skills could be in even bigger demand.

Immersive Prototyping
Intended for product designers, packagers, and retailers —apps like inStudio VR allow 3D designers to import their designs straight from their desktop CAD applications like Strata 3D CX, Maya, Autodesk to a virtual reality environment. From the app, users can stage, view, and alter their models using motion controls in different settings like a kitchen, living room, or retail store.

VR is making prototyping a more immersive and hand-on experience. The ability to “hold” designs in your hands is a feeling that can only be achieved through virtual reality, or alternatively–a physical prototype. Don’t believe us? Check out this video highlighting some of inStudio VR’s coolest features…

With apps like inStudio VR, you can import 3D packaging models into a various retail environments. That means you can place your prospective product directly next to a competitor’s on a retail shelf. You and your prospective clients can see how the design looks next to others, and you can show in-depth comparisons of competitor’s designs as well as your own.

This means that you and your client’s are going to have a much easier time seeing how your product might stand out from others. This is a solid step forward as it will hopefully reduce time and cost, which brings us to our next point…

Cost Efficient Testing
It’s yet to see if this will be a widespread phenomenon. But seeing as it’s just too costly for retail stores to waste shelving and promo space on ineffective packaging–it’s not hard to imagine the day where products must pass the VR retail environment test before entering any physical retail spaces. The reason is two-fold:

*It’s more cost effective and less wasteful to produce a digital packaging product than it is to manufacture hundreds or even thousands of physical products and ship them out to various locations.

*It’s easier to track and share consumer behavior data in a virtual environment than it is in a physical space. Just as websites have heat-mapping technology (the ability to see where your focus and attention is), it’s likely apps will have similar reporting abilities.

Design Tools
To date, there is nothing we know of that would allow you to design a package from the ground up in VR. But there are already several apps attempting to mimic what you can do with design programs on the desktop. This means that we’re approaching a day where you may be able to do your entire workflow in an immersive virtual environment using motion controls.

Design Environment
Companies like Seymourpowell are creating collaborative design apps that let designers work together using iPads, VR Kits and other devices regardless of geography

If you’re in the packaging design space, you might be disappointed to hear that this app is only for car design. However, it’s fair to say–this technology will likely be applied elsewhere to other design applications. Look forward to the day where you and your fellow designers or clients are able to work collaboratively in real-time on designs.

Overall Impressions
When a new technology comes along, there’s always a certain anxiety about how it will affect certain industries. Undoubtedly dozens of articles come out each year claiming the end of industry and humanity as we know it. But as we survey the virtual reality-packaging design landscape, we don’t get the feeling that VR will overturn the industry as we know it.

In fact, we think VR will enhance it and help make designer’s jobs easier, and their client’s happier. At the end of the day there will always still be the need for physical products and regardless of the incredible enhancements technology provides, traditional design principles will still play a strong role.

About the author
Austin Miller is Head of Marketing at Strata. Strata provides intuitive 3D modeling software and custom AR/VR enterprise solutions. inStudio VR brings your 3D designs to virtual reality where you can stage, hold, alter, and view your designs in multiple environments. inStudio VR is optimized for HTC Vive and free for a limited time. To learn more about Strata and other products, please visit https://www.strata.com/, you can also connect with Strata with Twitter and Instagram.