People of Packaging Podcast, Episode 4: Brandi Parker
Have you been listening to the newly launched People of Packaging Podcast? Hosted by Adam Peek of WS Packaging Group and Ted Taitt of CPP Global, the show exposes the world of packaging to people outside the industry by interviewing experts in design, materials, production, supply chain and more.
In the latest episode our Head of Realization, Brandi Parker, talks about her path to production, advice she has for people getting their start in the design industry and how convenience culture is only the start to many more changes in packaging.
Question: Brandi can you please present what your title is to the listeners?
Answer: So, my title is Head of Realization and I get paid to bring things to life – to realize things. It’s kind of unique because I’m almost bridging the gap between packaging engineers and material scientists. And although I’m not an engineer or a scientist, I’ve gained enough knowledge over my 20 plus years of doing this to create what I believe is a truly unique role.
I’ve always been a proponent of learning more outside your job and how your role interacts with other people’s functions. And over the years I’ve learned that if you understand how everything works around you then you can help to make it work smoothly – whether that’s looking internally at our own workflows, which I’m very involved in or externally working with clients on proposals and projects – it’s important to understand how all the pieces work and it’s a big piece of my job.
A musician and artist turned realizer, Brandi speaks about the path to production and guiding talent into a role that requires curiosity.
There’s not a clear route for production. And that’s allowed me the freedom of some kind to cultivate this role as I’ve described it. But at the same time for those of you listening that want to get into what I do maybe you’re not a designer, but you want to be in a relationship with design, production is a fantastic way to go. I’m sorry to tell you, though, that there’s no class. There’s no roadmap, there’s no set of studies. You just need to be curious and almost collect a range of skill sets. That’s the best advice I can give.
If we had a crystal ball today, where do you see the world of packaging in the future?
That’s a funny question – I love crystals, by the way. I think the future of packaging is less packaging. I think it’s figuring out how to stop the perpetuation of our convenience culture. In trying to make our lives easier through technology, we’ve made our lives more convenient.
This model of convenience in our life is not sustainable. I’m not saying our lives should be made less convenient, but I think there’s got to be a big behavioral shift and therefore I think a different use of packaging – a smarter use of packaging, rather – is not using durable materials that stay around for hundreds of years in single-use items.