Behind the Packaging: An Interview with Cody Kendall – Structural Design

Our celebration continues for National Packaging Design Day as we speak with Cody Kendall who is a member of our Structural Design team.

At the beginning of our “Behind the Packaging” blog series,  we spoke to Jim Davison and Vick Kumar who are a part of our Prepress Team and gave you a little glimpse into the Prepress World.

In today’s post, we speak with Cody Kendall who is a member of our Structural Design team at the Dyke Location. As a structural designer for our Corrugated & Industrial Packaging Division, Cody helps develop and improve packaging for products and focuses on developing durable and easy-to-produce structures. Cody has been with Great Little Box Company/ Ideon Packaging (GLBC) for 6 years and is passionate about the development of standard practices within the company.

Behind the Packaging: An Interview with Cody Kendall – Structural Design
Behind the Packaging: An Interview with Cody Kendall – Structural Design

Why did you choose a career in design?

I started out in a Packaging Technology program in college, but my original goal was to be a Laboratory Technician. There was a Co-op program that was offering a position within a professional tech company where I would be designing for foam – things like custom carrying cases, automotive industry, etc. I developed a lot of experience and decided to run with design. As time went on, I was researching jobs and happened to find GLBC’s job posting. The culture of the company was appealing to me as the website was about the people, how they recognize their employees, incentives offered for bringing forth new ideas, passionate about continuous improvement, and box goal trips. I was also intrigued by the employee testimonials and how the company was not selling an idea but living it. I applied and after two weeks from having my interview with GLBC, I packed up my things and moved to British Columbia!

 What was your most successful packaging design and why?

In 2017, when I was a structural designer for the folding carton division, I won 1st place at the AICC Competition, Category: Folding Carton – Confections for La Churreria 2/3 Churro Sleeve and was awarded the Judge’s Choice. Another success was during our Advent Calendar Design Challenge, my design was placed for a customer order which was exciting.

Behind the Packaging: An Interview with Cody Kendall – Structural Design<br><br> 2017 AICC Competition - Category: Folding Carton - Confections
Behind the Packaging: An Interview with Cody Kendall – Structural Design
2017 AICC Competition – Category: Folding Carton – Confections

As a designer, what catches your eye that makes a product pop from the shelves?

For packaging in general, I am drawn towards minimalistic designs – specifically black on kraft board. I like when the product speaks for itself.

For craft beer, the artwork on the label or carton usually helps me decide when to pick something up.

Lastly, if the packaging is environmentally friendly, helping reduce the carbon footprint.

What brands or design products do you admire the most?

Apple Products – the packaging is sleek and simplistic but has the basis of protection.

Phillips Brewery – their artwork is awesome!

Steamworks Brewery – the graphic design on their products speaks to me in a way. Branding is always on point.

Tacofino – one of our designers recently completed a project for the company and it was a kid’s truck that they can colour on – very cool.

Where do you get your packaging design inspiration from?

I’d say for the majority of the job, I’m provided with the information. But 10% of the project is creative so I tend to lean on previous experience, look at what is trending in the market recently and try to implement on the design. I do enjoy designing for practicality and efficiency.

How do you approach a new project?

I check my schedule for upcoming dates and plan from there. I ensure that I have all of the information for the upcoming project and then start putting ideas down, what the style is, create a rough sketch and create the 1st draft. I usually cut the actual design in half and print it on paper, fold it, and see if the design works. As for the creative aspect, when the project has been completed on my end, it is sent to the customer for review and if need be, provided feedback. If so, the project is returned, and I then make the revisions. The project is completed when the customer is happy with the implemented changes.

What do you like most about your job?

My number one enjoyment is continuous improvement – working on how to better things whether it is processes, programming, etc. My goal is to do things better today than yesterday.

Regarding design, when projects are successful, and the customer is happy. Also getting acknowledgement for the hard work I provided – it’s nice to know that your colleagues are rooting for you and that you have the support of the team.

What advice would you give yourself 5 years ago regarding packaging design?

Learn as much as possible! Try to learn different ways to spearhead a project – not just stuck on one way. Also, to be attentive, flexible, and patient. Working in an office environment, you have to adapt to different working styles and personalities.

What were your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

There are times when I either receive too much information on a project where the details can get lost in the weeds or not enough information where I cannot start. Communication is key and I feel like I can reconnect with my colleagues to define what is truly needed and what direction I am to head towards.

What is the most fun part of your job/working at GLBC?

I get to work with fun people and connect with my coworkers outside of work. Prior to COVID-19, we had great social events like annual golf tournaments, fishing excursions, summer BBQs, and more. GLBC is a nice place to work where it’s all about connecting and collaborating.

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