Behind the Packaging: An Interview with Vivian Tam – Structural Design

Today in our blog, we continue our “Behind the Packaging” blog series with Vivian Tam who is a member of our Structural Design team, Folding Cartons, Retail Packaging Division at the Dyke Location. Vivian had been with Ideon Packaging since 2018 and has been with GLBC for one year. Vivian enjoys being creative and providing solutions on projects that are challenging.

Behind the Packaging: An Interview with Vivian Tam – Structural Design
Behind the Packaging: An Interview with Vivian Tam – Structural Design

Why did you choose a career in design?

I finished my Graphics Communication Diploma at BCIT in 2018 but was unsure what I wanted to do afterwards. All I did know was that I wanted to utilize my creative traits but felt it was very limited in the print industry. Luckily though, before my program wrapped up, Jeff Tichbourne from Ideon Packaging was offering a tour of the facilities and open interview times. Unfortunately, though, there were not any available spots at the time but during spring break, they reached out to me to help out during spring break as a temp. I had a 6-week practicum and ended up signing for the long term!

What was your most successful packaging design and why?

I had a very particular customer who was very technical and specific with their packaging. So when they came to us with a new project; a large telescopic shipper with modular protective inserts made entirely of corrugate that required no glue. I spent days on it. I made sure that I was prepared by completing research before presenting it and was sure to add my input, and with their feedback, I was able to create a solution that the customer was happy with.

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

It’s all about the visuals and graphics for me! Especially when the aesthetic fits the theme and brand. Also, when a package has a unique shape.

What brands or design products do you admire the most?

I admire packages that have a memorable unboxing experience like presentation/influencer kits.

Where do you get your packaging design inspiration from?

Mainly from online research and books – what is currently trending or unique. Also, just from looking around me in the office, and seeing what the other structural designers have made, it’s a great time to ask questions too.

My packaging designs are practical but yet visually appealing to the eye.

How do you approach a new project?

When I receive a new project, I usually go through the resources that are provided so that I do not miss anything important like special instructions. From there, I will communicate with the packaging specialist who entered the details of the project to ensure we are on the same page. Once confirmed, I will start creating my drafts and send my work in progress to the Packaging Specialist. When we feel like we have a draft we are happy with, we will then send it to the customer for approval.

What do you like most about your job?

My job allows me to provide input so that I can have an influence on the design. I like finding and providing solutions/suggestions to make packaging better!

My days are on a project-to-project basis, so my days are not the same – it keeps things interesting. Every day is different and I enjoy the challenges!

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


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

I think time management is a big one. Learning how to cope with various requests and how to handle them as they come in.

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

The different requests that come through and the support that lets me tackle them – not every day is the same!