A Leading Packaging Design Firm
Design Intelligence Group
From January 2007 to January 2008, I was a member of the Design Intelligence Group at Sterling Brands, a leading design and strategy agency specializing in packaging design.
The Design Intelligence group was a hybrid department that sat in between the strategy and packaging design teams. I was initially hired as a presentation designer, to work on creating briefing and presentation decks. However, my role expanded to include the designing of visual tools to help conduct consumer research and workshops, as well as distilling insights learned from such sessions into briefings for the packaging design team.
The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC)
Having read Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002), when it first came out, plus my experience as a “green” lifestyle blogger, covering various types of consumer products, in addition to curating and producing Pomed, by the time I joined the team at Sterling brands, I was aware that even the smallest designed products, in comparison to a built environment, can have a great impact upon earth’s systems.
After joining the team, I took the initiative to enroll as an ambassador member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), on behalf of Sterling Brands. I participated on the monthly calls and relayed insights gained to the Sterling Brands team. At the time, membership was free.
Advocating for Sustainable Intelligence
During my down time, after I got all of my work assignments done, I independently researched and wrote a plan for a program that Sterling Brands could adopt, positioning it become an industry leader towards more sustainably designed packaging.
My pitch did not gain traction. Then again, most large packaging design agencies in the US at the time had not implemented sustainable design best practices. However, an executive who read the deck encouraged me to pursue a career where I could be more than a “presentation designer”and do more strategy and innovation work. And so, I took their advice.