Artificial Intelligence Revolutionizing Packaging Design

Discover how artificial intelligence is transforming the packaging design industry, improving workflows, and enhancing creativity. Gain insights from industry experts on the role of AI in streamlining processes and empowering designers.

Artificial Intelligence Revolutionizing Packaging Design

In recent months, ChatGPT has attracted huge attention from the media. Everybody was suddenly talking about artificial intelligence (AI). But AI systems have played a role in our everyday lives for a long time now. They have also become an integral part of life in the industrial sector.

But what does artificial intelligence have to offer in the creative sphere? Packaging designers are also using the self-learning programs, making lighter work of routine jobs.

Workflows are becoming increasingly complex. With self-learning algorithms, artificial intelligence is able to complete certain tasks significantly better and faster than human beings. Businesses in the packaging industry have also been making use of this for a considerable amount of time.

Printing press manufacturer Heidelberg has established an AI-backed process support tool, which automatically issues specific and easily actionable instructions to its customers to improve their workflows. And Heuft, a manufacturer of monitoring and inspection systems for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries, has been using artificial intelligence for imaging purposes for more than ten years. This allows it to classify objects after they have been identified, distinguish real defects from harmless structures and implement targeted teach-in.

Within the Beumer Group, start-up company Holocene offers cloud and AI-supported software that allows users to optimize cross-border supply chain processes, making their processes transparent and traceable. And AI is helping to make food safer. For instance, Sesotec is pairing metal detection with artificial intelligence as part of its quality control procedures.

Artificial intelligence also looms large in the creative field. AI tools are helping designers to implement their ideas more quickly by taking over specific aspects of the development process, which previously had to be carried out by staff at great time expense.

In the future, packaging designers are convinced that it will no longer take months for new packaging to appear on the shop shelf – they believe that it will merely be a matter of a few weeks. Trend and packaging design agency WIN Creating Images has already incorporated artificial intelligence into its workflows. “We treat AI as a support mechanism that enriches our work. It helps us speed up work processes and gives us more time for strategic and conceptual thinking – in other words, for doing what we love as creative types”, says Patrick Stöppler, head of design at WIN.

Staff can use AI image generators to sketch out initial ideas, which can then be physically manifested. “Creating a truly novel design requires the human mind. Creativity cannot be replaced with artificial intelligence. But AI is a valuable addition to the real-world side of work. Part of our creative process is paying attention to gut feeling and allowing ourselves to be influenced by emotional ways of seeing things. Brainstorming is about having an inspiring dialogue and engaging in outside-the-box, visionary thinking. In that regard, humanity is still and will remain far ahead of the machine. Nevertheless, AI is of great use to us as a sounding board – our new member of staff if you like. We have to use the tools correctly, and we must never view artificial intelligence as an enemy”, says the designer.

Like WIN, many other agencies are currently looking for applications in which AI can be put to good use. And the opportunities are apparently far from exhausted: “Development is taking a giant leap right now – it’s revolutionary. However, Artificial intelligence only repackages existing information – there’s nothing visionary about that.”

Nonetheless, it is continuing to develop at a rapid pace. “This is frightening people at the moment, too, because the most recent leap forwards with ChatGPT happened very quickly and the subject is receiving significant media attention”, says Tim Gelzleichter, Digital Transformation Lead at WIN. “But it is actually a steady development that just happens to feel as fast-paced as it does right now. AI is not suddenly appearing in our everyday working lives at this instant. The development has been evident for a long time, but businesses are now using the tools more and more frequently – and the results are so much better today than they were three quarters of a year ago. For instance, we can now make proposals for photoshoot planning in much less time.”

WIN is currently serving its first food brand with the help of artificial intelligence. This is used, for example, to generate the first sketches for the product renderings, which are then developed with human input and sent off for the photoshoot. Stöppler says: “For AI to deliver useful results, we need to have specific ideas. In the case of food packaging, for example, we need to know how the product should be staged. We have to provide ideas for the surroundings, perspective, lighting and much more to accommodate the brand positioning along with consumer desires and preferences. So getting good results isn’t all that easy. It can’t work without conceptual thinking.” Artificial intelligence cannot sign, seal and deliver a packaging design at the push of a button.

“I don’t think artificial intelligence will replace people in our field”, says Moritz Carstens, the creative director at Mutabor. “People don’t think algorithmically – we think emotionally and irrationally. Our intuition will remain important going forwards, since machines are unable to offer that.”

Mutabor, too, works with AI systems that are already an important part of the creative process, Carstens adds. “We are currently developing our own AI tool, which we can use for instance to eliminate any issues with image licensing. We also work with highly sensitive customer data and have to be very careful what we feed into the AI. Having our own tool will offer security in this regard.” The designer uses artificial intelligence whenever customers want it. “AI is also a top marketing resource, and the hashtag AI is really popular.”


Keywords

Artificial Intelligence , Packaging Design , Creative Process , Workflow Optimization , AI Tools

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