IKEA’s 2023 Advent Calendar is a Christmas-themed Diorama of Tiny Treats

While traditional advent calendars from the 1850s were designed as cards with biblical verses in them, counting down the days to Christmas, modern-day advent calendars make the process a little more fun by including tiny gifts that build up the anticipation to the 25th of December. Major brands participate in the Advent Calendar trend, and IKEA isn’t one to be left out. The Vinterfint Advent Calendar comes flat-packed like every IKEA product, and needs to be assembled together. Put the pieces together and you end up creating an adorable Christmas-themed diorama with characters, houses, trees, and a few snowmen too! Under each of these objects lies a small trinket or chocolate that sparks joy every day for the 24 days before the grand celebration!

Designer: IKEA

The Vinterfint advent calendar opens up to reveal an adorable Christmas scene featuring Santa, snowmen, and a few goats from the nativity display. You’ve also got decked-up Christmas trees and classic countryside-roofed houses amidst a snowy landscape.

Each paper object can be lifted up to reveal goodies underneath, featuring a selection of chocolates including pralines, nougats, and truffles, ensuring a sweet treat for each day leading up to Christmas. IKEA designer Paulin Machado envisioned it as a way to engage in holiday arts and crafts, providing everything needed to create a winter landscape complete with Christmas trees and snowmen.

The broader VINTERFINT collection, which the Advent Calendar is a part of, is IKEA’s way of creating a cozy atmosphere that falls in line with its brand ethos as well as the warm holiday spirit. The collection, inspired by Scandinavian folklore and traditional handicrafts, includes items like table linen, tree ornaments, gift bags, and wrapping paper. The wrapping paper, for instance, features horses, fire trees, and red apples, a nod to IKEA’s Swedish roots, infusing traditional Swedish folk art with a modern twist.

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This Gorgeous Coffee Advent Calendar gives you 24 Unique Blends to count down days till Christmas

A calendar that looks AND tastes great!

For the uninitiated, Advent Calendars aren’t your standard calendars. Rather than chronicling the 365 days into 12 months, Advent Calendars have just one simple purpose – to count down the days till Christmas. The calendar became somewhat of a tradition in the 1850s, with 24 different flaps that had Bible verses that you’d read every day up until Christmas Day on the 25th of December. In modern times, the calendar has become more of a gifting ritual, with brands creating tiny calendars with products/gifts for each day. This year, the folks at Onyx Coffee Lab decided to make a calendar that quite literally gets you ‘charged up’ for Christmas. The 2023 Coffee Advent Calendar comes in a gorgeous box that opens up to reveal an entire spread of coffee. The box itself is decorated beautifully with gold foil, and creates a wonderful fanned presentation of coffee sachets when opened. I imagine once you’re done drinking all that coffee, it would make for an incredible book or magazine holder!

Designer: Onyx Coffee Lab

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Featuring 24 days of coffee, the calendar explores various origins, blends, and processing methods, allowing you to experience a veritable tapestry of coffee flavors leading up to Christmas. It’s a perfect way to explore the world through a single cup before deciding on what coffee you want to try more of in the next year!

While Onyx delights practically every year with its gorgeous advent calendars, this year’s packaging exudes elegance and is designed to leave a lasting impression. The box’s exterior is adorned with stunning seasonal illustrations, enhanced with gold foil treatments. Upon opening the box, you’ll discover an accordion-style collection box revealing 24 individually wrapped bags of coffee. Each bag is marked from Day 1 to Day 24, guiding you on a daily journey of coffee discovery. A beautifully designed information card is also included, providing details about each coffee, adding to the overall unique coffee experience.

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Eco-Friendly Shampoo Bottle Dissolves After Use, Leaving Zero Waste

In a world grappling with the environmental repercussions of excessive plastic use, the need for sustainable alternatives has never been more pressing. Packaging waste, predominantly composed of plastic, poses a significant threat to our ecosystems. As we seek innovative solutions for a healthier planet, Philippine creative agency BBDO Guerrero has taken a bold step by sculpting vibrant shampoo bars into Dissolving Bottles, presenting an ingenious solution to the pervasive issue of plastic pollution.

Designer: BBDO Guerrero

The Dissolving Bottle shampoo bars are not just a practical alternative; they are a symbol of commitment to a sustainable and plastic-free future. The concept is simple yet revolutionary – as users lather up and wet the Dissolving Bottle, it gradually diminishes in size until it disappears, leaving no trace behind. This innovative approach eliminates the need for traditional toiletry containers, offering a convenient and eco-friendly solution for daily hygiene routines.

Introduced in 2021, the Dissolving Bottle has recently expanded its reach to several countries in Europe through a partnership with LUORO GmbH, a Cologne-based e-commerce company. The bottle-shaped shampoo bars, distributed under LUORO’s Plain B brand, are not just a visual marvel but also carry a powerful message. By adopting the familiar shape of a typical shampoo container, BBDO Guerrero aims to make the transition from plastic bottles to shampoo bars seamless for users.

David Guerrero, Creative Chairman at BBDO Guerrero, emphasizes that the Dissolving Bottle was conceptualized as a response to the escalating plastic pollution crisis. The personal care industry, a major contributor to environmental issues, produces over 500 billion single-use plastic items annually. To address this problem, BBDO Guerrero chose a design that not only promotes sustainability but also incorporates witty slogans on the shampoo bars, such as ‘Recedes quicker than your hair,’ ‘vanishes into thin air,’ ‘leaves nothing behind,’ and ‘guaranteed not to last,’ serving as comical reminders of the benefits of choosing plastic-free alternatives.

While the environmental impact of Dissolving Bottle Shampoo Bars is undeniably positive, questions arise regarding their commercial viability. The entire bottle serving as solidified shampoo requires careful handling, as exposure to water could initiate premature dissolution. To address this logistical concern, there might be a need to explore alternative packaging materials which will be interesting to learn.

Moreover, the shift from traditional soaps to liquid body washes, driven by ease of use and convenience, poses a challenge for the widespread adoption of solid shampoo bars. The need to incorporate essential information typically printed on packaging into the Dissolving Bottle’s design further adds a layer of complexity.

Marketing strategies play a pivotal role in bridging this gap, and the strategies employed by BBDO Guerrero are commendable and hold the potential to capture consumer attention. Offering an intriguing narrative that aligns with environmental consciousness.

As these Dissolving Bottle shampoo bars make their way into the European market, priced at a reasonable starting point of 5.99 EUR, it remains to be seen whether consumers will embrace this innovative solution to reduce plastic waste. The success of such eco-friendly initiatives depends not only on their environmental benefits but also on their ability to cater to the evolving preferences and habits of consumers. The Dissolving Bottle represents a commendable step towards a more sustainable future, and its journey in the consumer market will undoubtedly be closely watched.

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Redesigned Kleenex Tissue Box is Stronger, and makes it Easier to Reach the Last Few Tissues

In the grand scheme of global design, it’s easy to take the basics for granted. Why bother redesigning a tissue box when we’ve got more pressing issues like solving the Climate Crisis, or going to Mars, right?! The case that needs to be made, however, is to look at the small problems with equal intensity as the larger ones. A problem ignored is a problem persisted, and with enough time, it really becomes a part of our life in general. Take for instance the humble tissue box. Outwardly, it’s a pretty simple product – a box with a cutout that you can dip your hands into to reach for tissues. Dig a little deeper and you realize that it isn’t perfect. The box’s inherent design makes it rather flimsy, and when you get to the bottom of the box, reaching for the last few tissues can involve some mildly frustrating deep digging… to say the least.

Designed by studio CLAY Inc. for Yuhan-Kimberly (South Korea’s joint-venture in charge of the brand Kleenex), this reimagined tissue box has a unique feature that allows it to overcome its past problems. When full, the box holds its shape really well (thanks to the tissues inside giving it volume), but as and when you reach the bottom, the box can be pushed into a new arched/curved structure that makes it much more stable, while reducing the the box’s overall height at the mid-section. This makes it easier to reach the bottom of the box without having the entire structure collapsing on you. The new box design is elegant, clever, and eco-friendly too, with the use of bamboo recycled paper in its construction. Moreover, it uses no ink (helping save cost while enhance recyclability) but rather comes with a simple Kleenex logo embossed on the side. The box is easy to use from start to finish, and once done, can easily be recycled or composted without any material impact on the environment.

The redesigned Kleenex Facial Tissue Box is a Winner of the Red Dot Award: Design Concept for the year 2023.

Designer: CLAY Inc. for Yuhan-Kimberly, South Korea

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A Step Towards Sustainable Personal Care With Upcycled Deodorant

In today’s world, where sustainability is at the forefront of consumer consciousness, innovative solutions that challenge the status quo are celebrated. One such groundbreaking product is Refresh, a sustainable and refillable deodorant that redefines personal care standards while making a significant impact on environmental conservation.

Designer: Elanur Aslan

Refresh takes sustainability to new heights by upcycling waste plastics to create its packaging. This ingenious approach breathes new life into discarded materials, giving them a renewed purpose and diverting them from landfills. By doing so, Refresh not only reduces the burden on our environment but also sets a precedent for responsible consumption and production.

One of the standout features of Refresh is its refillable design. The inner chamber of the deodorant is easily replaceable, allowing users to extend the life of the packaging. This simple yet effective innovation curtails the need for new plastic manufacturing, which is a significant contributor to plastic waste in our oceans and landfills. By embracing this refillable concept, Refresh encourages consumers to be part of the solution to the plastic pollution problem.

The ergonomic design of Refresh ensures effortless application, making it a user-friendly choice for those seeking a sustainable alternative to conventional deodorants. Beyond functionality, Refresh’s departure from traditional deodorant packaging exemplifies a commitment to forward-thinking sustainability. It sets a new standard for personal care products, emphasizing that sustainability should be a cornerstone of our daily routines.

In a world where sustainability is a shared responsibility, Refresh is a beacon of hope. By diverting plastics from landfills, this innovative product conserves valuable resources and reduces energy consumption. It embodies the principles of a circular economy, where materials are repurposed and given a new lease on life. Recycling waste plastics through high-pressure compression not only lessens the harm to our environment but also reduces the demand for new plastic production, ultimately reducing our carbon footprint.

Refresh encourages us to reshape today for a sustainable tomorrow. By choosing to refill and reuse, we contribute to a cleaner and more responsible future. The availability of deodorant refills ensures that the product remains effective for the long term while promoting responsible consumer behaviour.

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However, Refresh is not just about sustainability; it’s also about aesthetics and functionality. Its sleek lines, innovative use of recycled materials, and ergonomic shape come together to create a harmonious blend of form and function. When you choose Refresh, you’re not only making a statement about your commitment to the environment, but you’re also embracing a product that aligns with your discerning sense of style.

In conclusion, Refresh is a game-changer in the personal care industry. It sets a new standard for sustainability by upcycling waste plastics, promoting refill and reuse, and offering a product that combines aesthetics and functionality. By choosing Refresh, you’re not only making a responsible choice for today but also investing in a cleaner, more sustainable future. It’s a reminder that sustainability should be at the heart of every product we use and every choice we make.

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A New Material For Eco-Friendly Packaging For Coffee that’s not just beigie

In today’s consumer-oriented market, packaging plays a vital role in capturing attention, conveying brand messages, and standing out from the competition. However, the issue of waste generated by packaging disposal has become a growing concern. To address this, the Earthmade Aromabox presents a remarkable solution—a home-compostable, eco-friendly packaging design that revolutionizes the coffee industry’s approach to sustainability.

Packaging is an integral part of the consumer experience, but its disposal is often overlooked. In a world of diverse packaging options, evaluating the best kind involves considering its sustainability and value even after it is discarded. Earthmade Aromabox sets a new standard by offering a packaging solution that is not only visually appealing but also environmentally conscious.

Designer: Alex Philpott (Beta Design Office)

The Aromabox is a coffee packaging solution designed for beans and grounds, crafted using Bamboo-O which is an eco-friendly material made from bamboo fiber and plant starch. Unlike conventional packaging, it contains zero plastic and is entirely natural. After years of research and development, Bamboo-O was created, leveraging the flexibility of starch and the strength of bamboo. This material mimics the rigidity of plastic while being completely home-compostable.

Earthmade had a brilliant idea to shake things up in the coffee packaging world, so they teamed up with Beta. They wanted to give roasteries and retailers a better option than those pesky PLA-lined paper and plastic bags. And guess what? Beta was totally on board with its vision of “natural circulation.” They wanted to create coffee packaging that not only made people happy when they used it but also got them all hyped up about being eco-friendly. Because let’s face it, convenience is important, but so is saving the planet.

Through multiple iterations, Beta refined the Aromabox design based on market research and feasibility testing. The resulting design fulfills the essential function of coffee packaging—preserving the freshness of the coffee—while adhering to Earthmade’s commitment to sustainability.

Earthmade offers the Aromabox with two different lid styles: push-fit and screw-top. The packaging features an integrated cork layer, ensuring tight and secure sealing, while its vertical tessellation when empty enables roasteries to save space and transportation costs.

The Aromabox has a degassing valve on the underside. This little valve is a game-changer when it comes to preserving the flavor, aroma, and texture of your coffee. It lets the carbon dioxide escape without letting any air sneak in. It means you get to enjoy a top-notch coffee experience every single time. No stale flavors or weird smells here. Just pure, delicious coffee goodness.

Designed to return to the earth at the end of its life cycle, the Aromabox encourages consumers to reuse the packaging. In ideal conditions, Bamboo-O breaks down within approximately six months. However, in a dry environment, it can last up to five years. The Aromabox is fully dishwasher safe and rated to withstand temperatures up to 120 degrees Celsius, making it versatile for various purposes.

The Aromabox is not just your average packaging—it’s packaging with a mission. It wants to go back to where it came from the earth. When it’s done serving its coffee storage duties, it’s all about reusability. They encourage you to give it a second life by reusing it as an aesthetic pot for plants. In ideal condition, this Bamboo-O breaks down in around six months if composted. However, even in a dry environment, it can last up to five years! Talk about durability.

Earthmade’s branding and color palette reflect the brand’s commitment to sustainability. Earthy tones and organic tactility are carefully chosen, representing the natural environment and the circular lifecycle of the Aromabox and its contents. This attention to detail ensures that every aspect of the packaging aligns with Earthmade’s vision for a more sustainable future.

The Earthmade Aromabox sets a new benchmark for sustainable packaging in the coffee industry. Its home-compostable, eco-friendly design addresses the environmental challenges associated with conventional packaging. Through innovative materials, functional features, and a commitment to reusability, Earthmade, and Beta have created a packaging solution that not only preserves the freshness and flavor of coffee but also fosters a deeper connection between consumers

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Absolut Vodka goes green with a test-run for recyclable paper-based bottles

We’re seeing a lot of brands and products experiment with their packaging. To become more eco-friendly and sustainable, a lot of product designers have been using materials that can be recycled and can also make it more convenient for their users. We’re all still trying to adjust to paper straws (even though a lot of people find it irritating), so are we ready to have paper bottles for our drinks?

Designer: Absolut

Absolut Vodka will become the “first global spirits brand” that will be selling their products in single-mould paper-based bottles. While plastic and glass bottles are already recyclable, having a “fully bio-based bottle” will be something that will further reduce their CO2 emissions and will also make their liquor lighter in terms of weight and packaging. Their three-month test in British supermarket chain Tesco will hopefully be successful enough that they will make it available elsewhere.

The single-mould paper bottles will be available for their 500ml-sized drinks. These are made from 57% paper and to make it sturdy, it has an integrated barrier made from recyclable plastic. They will also be using 40% ABV of the Absolut Vodka as compared to the 5% from their initial pilot run for the Absolut Mixt ready-to-drink. Users can recycle the bottles as paper waste or if it’s sturdy enough, they may even re-use the bottles for some other purpose.

The goal for this test run is to see how the paper-based bottles will transport to the stores where they will be available. They also want to see how people will perceive having a paper bottle, as there are still some very strong opinions about the aforementioned paper straws. Design-wise, the bottles are still carrying the “apothecary-inspired design” with the usual logos and labels. They also believe that these bottles will not replace the glass ones that are already iconic but it can complement them eventually.

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McDonald’s designs takeout bags that turn into an outdoor table in Milan

Most of the time, when I order take out from a fast food chain, that’s because I want to eat it at the office or at my house. Because I live in a pretty humid country, very rarely would I want to actually eat outdoors. And even if I wanted to enjoy fresh air while gobbling up fries , there are not enough places where I can just sit down (or stand up) and enjoy my lunch or snacks. If you live in Milan (I wish I did for many reasons), McDonald’s has a solution for you.

Designer: Leo Burnett for McDonald’s

For this year’s Milan Design Week, they released a limited edition TableBag which serves as not just your takeout box but can also be turned into an outdoor table, provided you have a post to place it on. They actually provided some of these posts and they come with a sign that says “Let me be your table.” although they didn’t really say if any other post or short pole will do.

The take out box doesn’t look like the usual one you get from the fast food chain. In fact, it is pretty big considering that you will turn it into a sort of table. Once you’ve unfolded your cardboard tabletop, it’s enough to fit in two sets of burgers and fries and cup holders for a pair of drinks as well. When you’re done using it as a table, you can bring it to a recycle bin since the entire thing is fully recyclable.

If you’re expecting this table top to be available at the McDonald’s near you, sorry to say that these were only for a few, lucky people who ordered through their app in Milan. It is a pretty interesting idea though that other countries can adapt, although as mentioned, it’s hard to eat outside where I’m from so it probably won’t reach a lot of places.

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Samsung sustainability initiative takes a step forward with Unpacked 2022 devices

Smartphones are one of the most ubiquitous pieces of consumer electronics in the world today. An overwhelming number of people have one, some might even have two, and millions of phones are shipped every quarter. In fact, there might be too many smartphones out there in the world, and not all of them are actually in use or even in one piece. As wonderful as smartphones are, their production and disposal contribute to the worsening state of our environment, especially because of how many they are. Smartphone manufacturers have thankfully started to be more aware of their critical role in this broken ecosystem and, even better, are starting to take action. As one of the world’s biggest smartphone makers, Samsung is thankfully taking that responsibility seriously and is boasting the achievements that take it closer to its grand goal in 2025.

Designer: Samsung

From the cradle to the grave, a smartphone’s life is filled with materials and processes that harm the environment or even people. From the plastics used in electronics to the chemicals for treating different parts to the materials used in packaging, these powerful computers in our pockets and hands are almost like death traps for the planet. It’s too late to turn back, of course, so smartphone manufacturers are instead trying to reduce their negative impact little by little on all fronts. Samsung’s “Galaxy for the Planet” initiative tries to cover those different fronts, and the newest batch of devices it just announced demonstrates the progress it has made since the program was announced last year.

Samsung started with the Galaxy S22 earlier this year by using plastics made from recycled fishing nets that would have otherwise ruined our oceans and aquatic life. Since then, Samsung has expanded the use of that material to other Galaxy devices, including the Galaxy Book 2 Pro laptop and the Galaxy Tab S8 tablets. The new Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 continue that tradition and are even joined by the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. In fact, Samsung boasts that 90% of its new pro earbuds are made using recycled materials. Given its smaller size and fewer components, that is admittedly not that hard to pull off.

The company has also been trying to improve its packaging, and no, it’s not just about removing the charger. The company now uses 100% recycled paper for the packaging of its flagship phones, which does raise questions about the state of its non-flagship phone packaging. Samsung is also trying to reduce how much single-use plastic it puts inside the box, though it’s not yet ready to get rid of them entirely. Both the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4 boxes are less than half the size of their original models, which results in more efficient transport and reduced carbon emissions overall.

Sooner or later, phones do reach their end of life, mostly because they no longer meet the needs of their owners. That doesn’t mean they’re completely useless, though, especially if they’re actually still functional. Rather than simply breaking these down and having them undergo recycling processes that consume a lot of water and energy, Samsung is proposing upcycling phones to serve other needs, like acting as smart home hubs or cameras. In one specific case, old Galaxy devices even become eye diagnostic tools used in underserved communities.

These small steps forward take Samsung closer to its ambitious goal for 2025, but it might still be quite a ways away from that milestone. In three years, Samsung envisions itself as having eliminated all plastics in packaging, achieved zero waste to landfill, and used recycled materials on all mobile products, not just the flagship ones. Those are lofty goals, indeed, and some might say almost impossible to reach by 2025. When it comes to sustainability, however, every step, no matter how small, counts toward healing the planet and making sure there will still be people around to buy those fancy smartphones in the future.

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This mooncake packaging also sports a miniature observatory to admire during the Mid-Autumn festival!

Designed around the tradition of admiring the moon while munching down on a delicious, fudgy mooncake, the Dr. Alva Astronomy Gift Box is a rather eclectic piece of packaging that takes its cosmic inspiration pretty seriously. Not only does the packaging look inspired by R2D2, it also comes with its own miniature telescope that lets you admire a small version of the moon! Drawers on the side of the box also open up to reveal the gift box’s real treasure – its collection of packaged mooncakes just waiting to be devoured. Designed to be a gift given during the Mid-Autumn festival, the gift box was designed by Jiemei Fang and Kang Jiang for Dr. Alva, one of Asia’s most renowned skincare brands. I guess your skin and the moon both deserve a glow-up, no?!

Designers: Jiemei Fang and Kang Jiang

The gift box’s packaging resembles a cross between R2D2 and an actual observatory, with a domed top and a massive telescope underneath it. Designed as a limited-edition pack, the dome comes crafted from plexiglass, while the telescope inside is, in fact, a projection lamp that casts a tiny moon projection on any wall it faces.

Crafted to be put on display and sold at Dr. Alva clinics, the box comes with a set of skincare products in its upper container and 4 moon cakes in its lower pull-out drawer. The entire product stands at a rather massive 21 inches tall, and while there isn’t an official word on how much this gift box would cost, I bet it won’t come cheap!

The Dr. Alva Astronomy Gift Box is a Bronze winner of the A’ Design Award for the year 2022.

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