Want To Recycle Your Coke Bottles? There’s A Vending Machine For That.


By: Rudy Sanchez

Coca-Cola is using technology to encourage recycling and has created a vending machine that not only dispenses your daily Coke fix but also accepts empties and credits the customer for recycling.

Dubbed VenCycling, these machines employ leading edge tech like facial recognition and mobile payments. The vending machine is square with rounded edges and sports a shiny, red body, reminiscent of classic Coca-Cola vending machines. Two “eyes” serve as dispenser and receptacle, and AI smart LEDs anthropomorphizes the devices, giving it a mouth and eyebrows. If WALL*E and EVE had friends, this machine looks like it could one of them.

This two-way vending machine makes it easier for consumers to recycle used bottles and helps Coca-Cola accomplish its “World without Waste” goal of collecting and recycling the equivalent of every bottle produced by 2030.

We envision a system that allows vending machines to also collect used packaging,” says Vice-President of R&D for Coca-Cola Asia Pacific Shell Huang. “It will help enhance recycling awareness among consumers and nurture recycling habits.”

Of course, returning empties when purchasing new bottles of Coke is not an entirely new idea. In Latin America, up until the 90s when PET plastic bottles started supplanting refillable glass bottles, consumers would typically exchange empty bottles for new ones, or they would pay a deposit to the retailer. One-way plastic bottles are preferred by large supermarkets and chain convenience stores, whereas smaller stores sold and accepted refillable glass bottles of soda.

Will a cute, robot-like vending machine that accepts empties and rewards consumers create a change in recycling habits? Who knows? But Coca-Cola experimenting with cutting-edge technology to promote recycling and reduce waste is as refreshing as an ice-cold Coke on a warm summer day.


Rudy Sanchez

Rudy Sanchez is a product marketing consultant based in Southern California. Once described by a friend as her “technology life coach,” he is a techie and avid lifelong gamer. When he’s not writing or helping clients improve their products, he’s either watching comedies on Netflix, playing the latest shooter or battle royale game or out exploring the world via Ingress and Pokémon Go.

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Check Out The Dynamic Packaging For These Brews


Halisten Studio designed this dynamic packaging for Monyo Brewing Co.

“Monyo Brewing Co is a craft microbrewery based in Budapest, Hungary. They are producing various beers with quality ingredients, all of their products have a unique identity and made for a personal style of taste.”


“The studio was invited to participate in the redesign of their branding and packaging. The task was to create a unified and recognizable layout with different styles for each product. They chose to redesign their logo and labels completely, and selected five of their beers to show our concept. These five beers include two types with fictitious names (Black Alligator and Invisible Bikini), two types with descriptive names (Black Ipa and White Ipa) and a premium one (Franky Four Fingers).”



“The logo was designed in the spirit of representing their current progressive and tripping punky style. We also chose plain and vibrant colors to support the simple logotype and to make the base of the identity as clear as possible, so the illustrations can have the greater role. Labels in each category (normal, premium etc.) have the same layout. Vector illustrations were made for the beers with fictitious names and a playful background for the beers with descriptive names. Both beers have handwritten names, made with brush in order to soften the hard edges of the vector illustrations.”






Art Direction: Halisten Studio

Client: Monyo Brewing Company

Typography, Layout, Lettering: János Kőrös

Illustration: Gergő Gilicze

Location: Budapest, Hungary

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Get Happy With This Adorable Snack Packaging


BR – Design Firm created the fun and playful packaging for Feliz, a Portuguese snack brand.

“Feliz means ‘Happy’ in Portugal and is a honest brand from Angola that aims to offer an healthier food option and also to bring positivity to the market. Strongly inspired by the contagious smiles of the African kids, this brand is represented by two big smiles, from a boy and from a girl, which allows exploring great opportunities of emotional communication on the shelf. The graphics make the brand cute, and helps establishing connections with the consumers.

Currently the brand’s portfolio Is composed by brown sugar and different types of nuts.”





Designed By: BR – Design Firm

Location: Lisbon, Portugal

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Get Your Build On With Primo’s Toy Blocks


The project’s objectives were to create playful packaging for the Cubetto Playset and all its expansion packs. The purpose was to create a consistent range look across all packs, and a format that can be repeated for future products. The design had to communicate the functionality of all the products through product photography, copy, and illustrations.

The idea is to walk customers through from first grabbing their attention to slowly explaining the products. As these are to be sold in store as well as online, the use of colour is important to make packs stand out. Designs were created to be free of clutter to reinforce the idea of quality.




One of the toy’s main characteristics is the materials from which it’s made: warm and tactile natural wood, which separates it from all the other coding toys present on the market. The packaging had to reflect the idea of something made with natural materials but incorporating contemporary technology at the same time.

The target audience is mums and dads with children of primary school age looking for toys that add value to their child’s lives. They have a broad understanding of programming through what their kids are learning at school, and it’s important for the packaging to reinforce this.



From a marketing objectives point of view, the packaging is a key sales tool. In the majority of cases this will constitute a consumer’s first interaction with Primo, therefore all packs need to clearly spell out the function, benefits and brand ethos.

With a big focus on coding and programming, the packaging needs to capture Primo Toys as the brand that teaches kids to program.

The outer sleeves illustrate the product and what can be found inside the box, all featuring the brand’s contradistinctive cream background. The colours of the images are bright and bold, giving to the packaging the feeling of something fun.


On one of the sides of the packaging there is always an illustrated image of the toy itself as represented in all the Cubetto stories, in order to give children and parents a clue of all the adventures they’ll be able to discover with the toy/expansion pack.

Under the sleeves we have a raw, almost plain cardboard box. The cardboard is natural and elegant, distinguished only by a small black illustration on the top.

The “playful” diecut of the boxes was created in collaboration with Burgopak, a company specialising in providing exciting alternatives to the plain cardboard box. In the Cubetto Playset, on the opening of the package, the friendly face of Cubetto emerges from the cut, while on the other side some colours peek from the holes in the cardboard, hinting at an adventure which is about to be discovered.






On the Adventure Maps and expansion packs (Logic Blocks and Directional Blocks), a wavy cut separates the user from the product. The same wave, representing the sea, can be found in all the books and maps from our range.

The products were available on Kickstarter in June and July 2017, and through the Primo Toys website later in 2017. There were also available at a number of limited run pop-up events, for example at the Primo Toys x Appear Here pop-up store in NYC in October/November 2017 and at the Science Museum London in December 2017. The products are also available on Amazon US and Europe.



Consultancy: BurgoPak

Designer: Federica Orlati, Senior Visual Designer at PrimoToys

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With a Pop of Green This Skincare Packaging Stands Out


Luminous Design Group designed the striking packaging for Mythos / Aloe, a range of Greek skincare products.

“Mythos / Aloe is a line of products for the greek tourist market. The client’s brief indicated that the use of green color along with the word Aloe, had to be present on the pack. As the rest of the competition uses photographic representations of Aloe plant, we opted to take on a different approach. A decisive role in our design was the varying of the containers small sizes, as a necessity to the specific market for practical reasons.”




“Laying out the design principles we chose to highlight the green color isolating it on white containers, while the typography for ‘ALOE’ was set in a way to define the scarce but vertical format of the containers. Product categorisation was enhanced with the creation of oxymoron, thematic illustrations that tell a different story each time, while the Aloe Vera plant takes a leading role. All the necessary info complements the artwork, on the front of the container, in a clean and structural way.”






Designed By: Luminous Design Group

Location: Athens, Greece

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Vocation Brewery Releases A Few New Playful Cans


With three world class collaborations that push brewing boundaries the Hebden Bridge Based Brewery turned to strategic brand design agency Robot Food to serve up visual flavour.

Partnering with Manchester’s Chorlton Brewery Co, Hull’s Atom Beers and New Zealand’s Yeastie Boys, Vocation wanted to bring something fresh to beer lovers everywhere. Each exciting collaboration demanded a design to suit and Robot Food were asked to deliver.

Having worked with the brand from the beginning across a number of projects, Robot Food looked to balance Vocation’s brand identity with graphics inspired by the beers themselves.

Ben Brears, Senior Designer at Robot Food explains, “we used the ampersand from our original brand creation with Vocation to represent the collaborations. Acting as a template to keep a constant visual throughout the range, it alters to reflect each new pairing and flavour that comes with each new brew.”


On Vocation & Chorlton’s ‘Sour Smash’ Brears states, “the bold interpretation of the ampersand here, was inspired by the explosion of tropical and citrus flavours of the Sour Smash. We dialled up the sour with a punchy colour palette and explosive visuals.”
Atom Beers celebrate the science behind the brew. With their focus firmly grounded in the knowledge of brewing, Robot Food created a blueprint design for the ampersand which reflects both Atom’s focus on science and Vocation’s forward-thinking attitude to brewing.

The most recent flavour pairing with long-distance friends Yeastie Boys crafted the Waffle and Blueberry Breakfast Stout. Brears explains, “this beer you could drink for breakfast demanded a mouth-watering design, so the ampersand template was transformed into a delicious waffle, good enough to eat, and drizzled with blueberry jam.”

Cans have already flown off shelves but grab yourself the Waffle and Blueberry Breakfast Stout while it’s still hot.



Designed By: Robot Food

Location: Leeds

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The 4 Best Things We Saw At SPC Boston

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By: Bill McCool

Last week, we headed to Boston for the members-only Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) conference, and like the fashion brand and their iconic hip-dad-jacket from the 80s, there was a lot to love.

Attendees had the opportunity to tour Converse HQ, the Harpoon Brewery and Kuering Green Mountain and see what they’re doing around sustainable packaging, but also the Billerica Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) where visitors got to see just how their recycled materials are collected—and rejected.

But that’s not all— there were numerous panels around renewable and reusable materials, presentations on how businesses can make a case for sustainability and reducing plastic waste, and discussions on the health of our oceans.

Here are some of the best things we saw at SPC Boston.


Essentials of Sustainable Packaging

Plenty of brands want to go sustainable. You can’t throw a rock these days without hearing about how giants like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s are trying to use renewable or recycled materials in their packaging. While every major brand seems to be saying they’re going to go fully sustainable by 2030, transitioning to the right packaging can be difficult.

That’s why SPC has introduced the Essentials of Sustainable Packaging, online and in-person training classes for brands that want, “an opportunity to bring a company’s entire staff up to a common level of understanding about how sustainability relates to packaging.” These classes not only make a compelling argument for large brands and startups to advocate for sustainable packaging, but they also show you how to design for optimization and recycling recovery.



You go to a conference, and you want some high-end swag. We totally get it.

Well, every SPC attendee received one of Cupanion’s latest bottles from their Ocean collection. Made of the unbreakable glass-like Tritan, this water bottle is BPA-free and is dishwasher safe.  But the real selling point is their app experience. Download the Cupanion Fill It Forward app, and every time you scan the Fill It Forward tag when refilling your bottle, a cup of clean water is given to someone in need. Working alongside WaterAid, they’ve now given out nearly 3 million cups of water to those in communities who need access to clean water, hygiene, and sanitation. Even better? 20 fills, and you’ve already offset the creation of the bottle.


Recycling Partnership

“Recycling isn’t a service.”

This was said by Dylan de Thomas of The Recycling Partnership, a national nonprofit looking to improve our recycling streams. In general, taxpayers need to stop complaining about how much recycling costs as there is an intrinsic value in collecting these materials as they are essentially feedstock for an entire industry.

One would think that sitting in on a panel of recycling experts and waste management types would be about as exciting as watching competitive yogurt eating, but if you take a look at the abysmal numbers behind our recycling rates, you’ll realize that there is a real crisis happening.

It’s 100% voluntary for consumers to learn how to manage their trash, and while consumers need to do more in educating themselves on recycling within their own municipality, brands and designers also need to step up and bring waste management streams into the conversation in order to create more closed-loop systems.

Tara Expeditions

During a reception at the New England Aquarium, conference goers had an opportunity to tour the Tara, a research schooner that has been navigating the oceans for more than a decade. Tara recently wrapped up a mission where they crisscrossed the Pacific for two years examining the coral reef and the effects of plastic waste on our oceans. Though docked, lifejackets were discouraged, but boat shoes and a hefty dose of Christopher Cross were definitely fair game on the aluminum boat.

Tara’s Executive Director Romain Troublé also spoke at the conference on a special panel about plastic waste in the ocean and shared some of their findings, like that bacteria can stick to plastic and spread toxins or that few bioplastics are degradable in seawater. Even more painful to hear was that plastic is literally everywhere in the ocean and that it’s not all just floating around in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.


Bill McCool is a writer and editor based out of Los Angeles. Though new to the world of design, he has always been a storyteller by trade and he seeks to inspire and cultivate a sense of awe with the work and artists he profiles. When he’s not winning over his daughters with the art of the Dad joke, he is usually working on a pilot, watching the Phillies, or cooking an elaborate meal for his wife.


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This Seafood Packaging Has a Clean Look


Fuman designed the clean packaging for East Rock Seafood.

“Gisborne-based fishery East Rock was founded by brothers from Stromboli, Italy in 1926. After four generations of fishing the East Coast, the Zame family still follows the sustainable fishing methods they have always practiced — using small boats on short, regular trips to ensure the freshness of their catch. A key point of difference is the product’s ocean-to-plate transparency, with every fish traceable to the boat and location it was caught.”



“East Rock wanted to tell the story of their heritage and sustainable practices while appealing to local customers and the Asian export market, who love the quality and freshness of New Zealand fish. We had the added challenge of designing efficient packaging for a busy factory environment – helping meet the company’s guarantee of having their product on shelves within 24 hours of the fish being caught.

To speak to a culturally diverse market, we drew inspiration from Asian art forms such as Gyotaku – where a real fish is layered with ink and a print is taken directly from the skin. The logo uses Hanko signature stamps, which are hallmark stamps that signal quality across cultures.”


“To further communicate quality in every language, the packaging needed to look exceptionally clean and fresh. We used negative space to draw focus to the product and chose bold, clean typefaces inspired by ship stern plates.

The colour combination was chosen for its striking effect and international feel, with the bold red referencing Italian passion and Japanese stamp ink. Combined with blue and white, the colour scheme also reflects East Rock’s New Zealand beginnings. Black and white photos, fishing coordinates and encyclopaedic illustrations of each boat reflect the expertise that comes with almost 100 years of fishing New Zealand’s east coast.”


“We produced a custom sleeve to show as much of the product as possible — a balance between form and function. This fits East Rock’s commitment to transparency, as well as using 50% less material in line with their value of sustainability.

The three-sided sleeve was designed to be shipped flat, yet not require assembly during processing. Fish packers have a ‘dry hand’ and a ‘wet hand’, so the design allows them to use a single hand to pop the sleeve open and quickly slide it over the product – with a tight tolerance that requires no added adhesive.”


“It was vital that the packaging showed where each fish was caught. We created a separate sticker to display which vessel the product came from – letting customers know exactly what they were purchasing. This gives them confidence in the product’s freshness and sustainability. The sticker was designed to be a key part of the packaging, not an add-on. To accomplish this, we reserved space on the packaging and created a deliberately eye-catching sticker that clearly communicates this important information to consumers.

The result is packaging that helps launch a new concept of fish delivery – celebrating East Rock’s small-scale, high-quality practices while appealing to both local and international audiences.”



Designed By: Fuman

Creative Director: Jon Chapman-Smith

Team Members: Mike Chapman, Gio Trevilla

Client: East Rock

Location: Auckland, New Zealand

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House Beer Gets a Streamlined Look


Made By Colony gave House Beer a new streamlined look.

“It started with a simple concept: one beer, done right.

We grew up drinking mainstream beers out of habit. While they went down smooth, they lacked flavor. Craft beers provided increased options, with better quality and flavor, but they didn’t give us the session beer quality we craved. We found ourselves choosing between beers that were great for drinking and beers that tasted great. When all we wanted was the perfect beer and nothing less.”



“So a group of us set out to craft the beer we had always wanted.

That’s House. Born in Venice, it’s a tribute to the city from which it came. To the people that define it. The creators and the modern makers. The bold. The authentic.

A premium crafted lager for those that push past tradition and expand the boundaries of their craft. House Beer. Always in good taste.”






Designed By: Made By Colony

Creative Director: House Brewing

Designers: Adam Nathanson & Tyler Ward

Location: Venice, CA

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Will Canned Water Replace The Plastic Water Bottle?


By: Rudy Sanchez

Americans love bottled water, drinking 13.7 billion gallons of the stuff a year, even though it’s perhaps a healthier alternative to soda, it’s a lot of plastic bottles. Globally, a million bottles are sold a second, and for the most part, they’re made of plastic.

Beyond our abysmal recycling rates, plastic presents another problem in that it comes from a non-renewable resource, petroleum, dinosaur juice extracted from the ground that once used is gone.

Plastic isn’t the only material we can use to make beverage containers, however. Just over a quarter of glass is recovered, and while it’s 100% recyclable, it’s not ideal because it’s heavy. Aluminum is lightweight, 100% recyclable, and already used for a lot of beverages, in fact, 70% of aluminum beverage containers get recycled. Aluminum also stays cold longer than plastic, so it begs the question: why doesn’t more water come in cans?

While it makes sense to can water in aluminum, outside of Deja Blue on Southwest flights, there are few cans of water to be found on the market as it continues to be a specialty item sold primarily to disaster preppers. Most aluminum cans aren’t resealable, whereas plastic bottles are capped and resealable, so consumers can carry them around and hydrate one sip at a time.


During natural disasters, Anheuser-Busch breweries temporarily stop canning beer and start distributing water. Of course, the cans aren’t sold. Instead, they go to those who don’t have access to running water. Several companies, however, are looking to kick the plastic bottle to the curb and sell cans of water to the public.

One such company is CanOWater, selling alpine spring water in traditional 330ml aluminum cans in two versions, resealable top, and the more familiar pull-tab. Their packaging is artfully minimal: still water comes in white, and sparkling comes in black.


Green Sheep also bottles sparkling and still water in aluminum bottles and cans. The bottles feature a cap made entirely of aluminum, and the 12oz cans are similar to beer and soda cans. Green Sheep also donates 1% of sales to the Surfrider Foundation which aims to protect the oceans, beaches, and waves through advocacy with 81 chapters located primarily throughout North and South America.


Noah’s Spring Water use a totally different type of aluminum can, a 24oz cap can, most commonly seen on those big, probably not good for you, energy drink cans. These aluminum cans feature a twist off cap, making it resealable. Of course, the packaging isn’t entirely plastic-free however: the cap needs to be sealed with a tamper-evident plastic wrap to ensure consumer safety and transport.

Hydration is salvation, and the most environmentally conscious way to do it is to use refillable canteens and bottles. Unfortunately, that’s not always feasible, and recycling spent bottles might not be an option either. While consumers are growing more and more concerned about the need to reduce plastic packaging, they are unlikely to get less thirsty anytime soon, and aluminum might be the next material we all chug out of.


Rudy Sanchez

Rudy Sanchez is a product marketing consultant based in Southern California. Once described by a friend as her “technology life coach,” he is a techie and avid lifelong gamer. When he’s not writing or helping clients improve their products, he’s either watching comedies on Netflix, playing the latest shooter or battle royale game or out exploring the world via Ingress and Pokémon Go.

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