Top accolade for design consultancy

John Kirkby of  Design Futures, with one of the jewellery gift bags that the Sheffield Hallam University-based consultancy developed for Yorkshire-based Kiroco Jewellery, using a revolutionary new, mouldable paper, called FibreForm.
John Kirkby of Design Futures, with one of the jewellery gift bags that the Sheffield Hallam University-based consultancy developed for Yorkshire-based Kiroco Jewellery, using a revolutionary new, mouldable paper, called FibreForm.
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Design consultancy Design Futures has picked up a top award after using a revolutionary new material to make gift bags for a jewellery company.

The Sheffield Hallam University-based consultants’ use of a new, mouldable paper, called FibreForm, to make the gift bags for Yorkshire-based Kiroco Jewellery secured it the Innovation Of The Year accolade at the UK Packaging Awards.

Judges also highly commended the Design Futures team in the category for best carton-board pack.

FibreForm was developed by Swedish paper producer BillerudKorsnas as an alternative to plastic, glass or metal for the food industry.

But Design Futures used the opportunity to make handbag-style gift containers, which have now gone into mass production for Kiroco.

The consultancy has also developed a production and prototyping method to help manufacture new FibreForm designs at its Sheffield Hallam base and is working with a range of companies to produce new packaging formats.

Design Futures creative director John Kirkby said: “To win Innovation of The Year shows that we are mixing it with the big boys when it comes to using cutting-edge techniques to provide economical and environmental packaging solutions.

“Working with a new material is always very exciting. It allows designers to push boundaries and create truly innovative new designs.

The exceptional strength of FibreForm means it can be formed to replace some plastics with paper, a far more sustainable product.

“Our main focus is innovation so to be recognised for it by the industry in this way is a particular thrill.”

Design Futures’ Innovation of the Year Award follows on from its success earlier in the year when it won a gold award for Best Packaging at the International Cider Challenge, organised by Off Licence News.

The consultancy picked up the award after designing new packaging for a premium cider, brewed by the monks of Ampleforth Abbey, in Yorkshire.

Design Futures was called in by Ampleforth Abbey after the monks heard how it had helped organic brewers Little Valley Brewery – based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire – with a rebranding project.

The monks’ first challenge for Design Futures was to give the monastery’s bottled beer a 21st century look, without losing its monastic heritage.

After that, Design Futures went on to design the award-winning cider packaging.

The organisation is no stranger to success at the UK Packaging Awards, either.

Last year it took a top prize at the awards for creating a cradle-style package for a cupcake manufacturer, which allowed customers to ‘eat on the go’.

One judge described the pack, printed in just one colour and made from a single sheet of board, as “stunning, “ adding that it had “huge potential to expand into other categories”.