Prototypes For Packaging Design Validation

Birdstone Proves Packaging Design with Clear 3D Printed Prototypes

Anyone who has opened a box of crackers to find the contents reduced to broken bits and pieces knows firsthand the consequences of poor packaging. Carman’s, an Australian food company, is mindful of how it delivers its products to consumers to ensure a high quality experience before the first bite is ever taken. Therefore, when Carman’s launched its new Super Seed & Grain Crackers, the food company kept presentation and preservation top of mind, and enlisted Birdstone, an Australian packaging design agency, to design an engaging tray insert. Due to the various requirements they needed multiple prototypes to demonstrate the proposed designs both aesthetically and functionally.

CHALLENGE: Balancing client requirements in packaging design

The packaging considerations in play for Carman’s were multifaceted: it needed to be easy to open, functional as a serving vessel, and enable Carman’s customers to reclose the container for storage. It was determined that the crackers should be stacked in three columns with room to encase the top crackers without crushing them, but also be easy to fill to not disrupt the production line. Lastly, the packaging needed to meet the retailer requirement for vertical packaging to maximise differentiation on the shelves.


Due to the complexity of the casing designs and unique functional requirements involved, our Nunawading project management team helped Birdstone select the most suitable prototyping process, materials, and finishing process to meet its outlined requirements. Using Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing, we built both a one and two-piece prototype in a rigid and tough clear 3D plastic material offering clarity and transparency.

The SLA prototypes were finished to meet Birdstone’s quality and realism requirements and submitted for manufacturing tests and consumer research.

Following the concept validation stage, Birdstone ordered four copies of the leading packaging design using our silicone tooling and cast urethane process. The preferred SLA prototype was used to make a mould which was then used to cast additional water-clear copies using polyurethane, a material very close to what would be used for the final product.

RESULT: Arriving at the final design

Following full evaluation of the clear prototypes, the final design was officially selected: an attractive one-piece clamshell case, uniquely contoured to the shape of the stacked biscuits. According to Grant Davies, Director, Design & Strategy at Birdstone, “The final design plays to the strengths of the packaging material and provides a secure, re-useable home for the crackers throughout the supply chain and into the customers’ hands. It is functional enough to be filled, stylish enough to serve from, and securely re-closeable for on-the-go snacking.” Birdstone says that by adding another level of consumer engagement through functional and aesthetic packaging, Carman’s is able to offer a deeper brand experience beyond consumption.

Note: Dec. 2020 3D Systems On Demand facility changed its name to GoProto ANZ.

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