Taiteiden ja suunnittelun korkeakoulun opinto-opas 2014–15

PACK-AGE: Interdisciplinary Packaging Design Project

Basic information on the minor

Scope of the minor in credits: 15

Teacher-in-charge for the minor: Markus Joutsela, Packaging design researcher and teacher

Language of instruction of the minor: English

Target group: Aalto University master's students who are interested in packaging design and working with real projects

Level of the minor: Advanced studies

The minor is taught in collaboration between four different schools: Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University School of Business, Aalto University School of Chemical Technology and Lahti Institute of Design and Fine Arts. The Master's Degree Programme in Graphic Design in the Department of Media at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture is responsible for organisation of the minor.

Description of content

Learning outcomes for the minor

Content outcomes:

  • The student knows the purposes of a package and understands how the packaging value chain is constructed. He/she understands how a package serves the consumer, store, manufacturing and packaging industry in different situations and in different phases of the product's life cycle.
  • The student knows the principles of visual and user-centred packaging design that complies with sustainable development, and is able to evaluate the functionality of a packaging solution from many different perspectives. He/she can apply the new know-how learned and adopted from lectures in the group's own design project.

Skill outcomes:

  • In his/her own packaging project, the student can select functional design solutions taking into account the properties of the product being packaged and the task assigned by the company, and ecological impacts of that packaging solution.
  • The student can utilise packaging design as a tool for visual communication and brand-building and design a selling package that reflects the characteristics and value of the product it contains. He/she understands how a consumer package works as a media, how it can produce added value and how the package can contribute to building the product's user experience and the overall experience.
  • The student is familiar with good project work practices and can function responsibly as a member of his/her project group. He/she understands how an interdisciplinary approach supports the project objectives and can utilise his/her background and special competence as part of the project.
  • The student can communicate in an appropriate manner concerning the project's content and its stages with various stakeholders, and has good time management skills.

The PACK-AGE minor prepares students for project work in working life, which often involves cooperating with experts from many different industries. The student learns to identify and utilise his/her special competence as part of a project and thus strengthen the team's expertise. The student also learns about the way in which he/she works in a group. The project teams are often multinational.

Packaging is an area of production and design that is associated with nearly all parts of industry, logistics and business, so an understanding of its design mechanisms and impacts provides students with an advantage after graduation. 

Content of the minor

The students work in groups on company projects. The learning tasks involve designing future packaging concepts and package prototypes. The learning content consists of theme lectures and workshops as well as independent and supervised group work.

Teaching is based on collaboration between different teachers and schools. Utilising competence and cooperation networks makes it possible to offer more comprehensive and holistic approach to teaching and learning packaging design.

The teaching themes are:

•    Packaging communication and design for user experience (ARTS, Media)
•    Graphic design and packaging structures (ARTS, Media)
•    Marketing, brand and consumer research (BIZ)
•    Material technology and packaging engineering (CHEM)
•    Sustainable product design (ARTS, Creative Sustainability)
•    Package development and model making (Lahti)

The PACK-AGE minor study module is carried out as one project, a course that provides a single 15-credit study attainment and which cannot be completed in smaller parts.

Structure of the minor



ECTS Credits




The minor is organised as one long project-style course.

Timing of the minor

Teaching in periods IV-V. Prior to the start of teaching, and during period III at the latest, the project groups will be created on the basis of the applicants' skills, backgrounds and interests.

Application and selection

Number of positions in the minor

30 students will be admitted to the minor, 25 from Aalto University schools and 5 packaging design students from Lahti Institute of Design and Fine Arts. The selected students will form five project groups that take diverse competence, the nature and objectives of the project into consideration.

Application process and criteria for selection

Students apply for the PACK-AGE minor by means of written motivation letters.

The motivation letter should include the following information:

  • why you are applying for the minor and what expectations you have for the minor,
  • what you are enthusiastic about and what particularly interests you in packaging design,
  • what kind of competence you bring to the project,
  • whether you have experience of project work or the packaging industry,
  • whether you would be interested in serving as project manager in your project,
  • whether you have a lot of other studies going on simultaneously, and
  • why you should be selected for the minor. 

The application period is 15 September – 30 September 2014. Students can apply for the minor study module by sending a motivation letter to the following e-mail address by 30 September 2014: Tämä sähköpostiosoite on suojattu spamboteilta. Tarvitset JavaScript-tuen nähdäksesi sen.. The student can also attach work samples to the application in pdf format (max. 5 MB).

The leaders of the minor study module will form the project groups before the course begins, at the end of period III. Selection of students is aimed that the course has motivated and interdisciplinary competence for different project groups The composition of the project groups varies according to the brief and project, but a team typically includes design, business and engineering experts as well as one student who serves as the project manager for the design team. 

Selection criteria:

  • motivation
  • suitable educational background and know-how for the project 
  • targets of interest and experience
  • suitability for the group
  • available time (not too many other studies at the same time)
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