There is a growing awareness of the threat that the capitalist system entails for life on our planet. On the other hand, the deep crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemics pushes us to prioritize “returning to normality’, to the decisions that caused this current situation without solving any of the preexisting problems.
At this programme we will address questions such as:
— is sustainability enough to face the current environmental and social crisis?
— to what extent can design help revert the negative consequences of consumerism society, to which it has contributed?
— what role could design play in a post-growth society?
We are going to reflect on our current economic and social models in order to understand where do consumption trends come from and where they can (should) go. The final goal of this programme is to develop critical awareness as designers and citizens, to think further possibilities and to open new opportunities around packaging design.
The practice of packaging needs forward-thinking professionals with a mind of their own, a broad perspective on contemporary design and a good understanding of the world of today, as well as the main challenges regarding environment and new materials. We want our master’s programme to prepare students to meet those requirements through active experimentation and practical learning, with the support of top-notch professionals.
We believe in looking at packaging from a disruptive point of view to shape the innovative solutions of tomorrow. We will focus on unconventional ideas to thrive in a sometimes outdated environment, as the market usually is. We will encourage exploration and discovery to create new opportunities. We will look for the unexpected off the beaten tracks, to change the status quo.
This one-year master’s degree is structured around challenges, projects and workshops run by professionals of reference in Design, along with theory oriented lessons and capsule presentations by critics and lecturers. Our dedicated faculty will collaborate in the process and encourage students to dig deeper, to go into detail without losing sight of the big picture, through a balanced combination of thinking, planning and action.
We believe in interdisciplinary practice: Graphic, Product, Industrial Designers and Engineers working together for the common good. Collective work is the core of our way of doing things; we encourage it, because mastering how to behave and interact with colleagues, clients or suppliers is an integral part of the design process.
Through a constant and intense practical approach (even in those theory focused classes), the experts and professionals in charge of the subjects will share their tools and know-how not only to learn but, also, and above all, to put the acquired skills into practice.
We need to rethink and question the world we live in and how things are made. We firmly believe in the value of being critical, always trying to find the reasons behind our certainties and constantly looking for a way to improve.
Students and teachers:
The programme faculty includes prestigious design professionals who play an active role in the students’ development. Their experience and knowledge will serve as the source of constant advice in the search for solutions, guiding students in making their own decisions and developing their own perspectives.
With the guide of outstanding design professionals from different fields our students will develop thought provoking concepts that defy the industry of packaging. They will be encouraged to look for game changing ideas that challenge the statu quo.
❶① Disruptive packaging design
In our current context, the foundations of the role of packaging as a product-service are being shaken; new blue oceans are opening up. It is our part as “designer citizens” to take these problems as an opportunity for change. In this module we will develop a project that will question what packaging means and represents nowadays in the consumption and production chain, and we will offer disruptive solutions. We will approach the subject from different angles: conceptual, material, “form/function/protection”, new business models, graphics…
❶② Ephemeral packaging design
If, as scientists do, we consider matter as something that neither becomes nor disappears, but is in a continuous process of transformation, and we then reexamine packaging according to this conception, exploring its role and physicality from its natural ephemeral condition, we will be able to investigate with a renewed gaze new conceptions that lead packaging to address other values much more “committed” that go beyond past considerations about their materiality and semantics.
❶③ Hybrid product/packaging
In this subject we will understand packaging as an inseparable part of the product. Packs that are the products and products which are a pack, packs that shape the product’s concept or that affect its form. We will look for new ways of packaging, drifting away from the concept of branding to focus on the product, the product being the main element of the Brand.
Students will work hands-on under the guidance of professional experts to translate new ideas and disrupt the established categories in the world of packaging. They will tackle projects from a fresh perspective putting people (not the market) at the centre, creating new meaningful relationships between citizens and products, and building new paradigms around waste.
❷① Sensorial packaging
Senses are a key part when it comes to experiencing any kind of contact with packaging. In this project we will work on the sensorial experience linked to the feeling, texture and function of a unit or a collection of different packaging. Its morphology, materials and finishes, will help us tell a detailed story that can transmit, communicate and generate a vital and sensorial experience with the user.
Sight, smell, touch = emotion!
❷② Emotional packaging
The aim is to broaden the language of materials and the sensitivity of what surrounds us. To study the cultural, emotional and traditional baggage that enable questions and sustainable innovation. To acquire knowledge and a critical eye on the environmental and social impact of our decisions. To create a dialogue between materials, paying attention to their finishes, shapes and volumes which generate light and shadow. Prototype to scale, to propose new ways, we will investigate new forms to go from prototype to industry.
❷③ Redefining luxury packaging
In luxury packaging, the form starts with the concept. It is about discovering, interpreting and translating the essence of the project in a unique form, in a real discourse that tells its own story. Therefore, luxury is mostly in the creativity and not only in the form and finishes. The true value of luxury packaging lies in a reality that is not tangible and goes beyond form.
❷④ Ways of seeing packaging
Products are explained to the world through images and the signification of a photographic image is decisive. Images have layers of deeper meaning beyond what they show on the surface: they can offer a valuable document of how a brand or project sees the world.
❷⑤ Enhanced packaging
Can we create smart packaging? Is that already a thing? What is the future of packaging?
Sensors that allow us to know the food quality, thermochromic inks, IoT packaging, the Internet of Food…are a few examples of technologies that are or will be in the market very soon. In this subject we will explore the boundaries of packaging through the use of these and other cutting edge technologies to rethink the form and function of the packaging of the future.
Workshops are learning experiences to question and expand the discipline. They will encourage intensive and practical design during five-day long workshops with specialists and renowned professionals. They are usually scheduled from Monday to Friday.
❸① Ready-made packaging
The workshop focuses on the design and production of a packaging for a product using exclusively “out of use” materials and resources.
The process will require a thorough understanding of all the characteristics, conditions and qualities of the product or “the element” of which the packaging is made, investigating resources and materials that are no longer used according to their original use, to explore and develop “something” that adequately responds to all the different requirements that are demanded.
❸② Performance packaging
The aim of the workshop is to think that each project is unique and that it has its own features; a way to understand packaging through performative action. Based on an experimental approach to the process, the idea is to create a unique packaging that will distinguish the particularities of each product. The result of a project and its process are indivisible; the social, cultural, geographical and political context shapes the way of doing, thinking and projecting our work. Personal experience and collective design processes will lead to valuable and singular results.
The master’s degree will guide students towards building projects and challenges on solid ground. Therefore, theory classes and knowledge from world-class teachers will be the starting point to shape opinions, standpoints and choices that will be the foundations of the ideas that will change the world (of packaging).
❹① Understanding (de)growth
There is a growing awareness of the threat that the capitalist system entails for life on our planet. However, the great pause provoked by the COVID-19 spread can make us forget the real causes of the problem, which preceded the pandemics. This is a good time to reflect on our current economic and social model, to understand where they come from and where they should go. The ultimate goal is that students develop critical awareness as designers to allow them to go beyond the sustainability paradigm, which has proven to be insufficient.
❹② Materials for packaging
These sessions will be an introduction to the world of packaging materials. In the first classes, we will see several exhibitions on different materials to establish the first contact with the subject, with a critical view and from the matter of care, in addition to visiting the Materfad. The rest of the sessions will focus on assessment and exploration to complement the packaging projects the students are working on.
❹③ Sustainability, materials and innovation
Our goal is to provide an overview of key sustainability aspects connected to packaging design. We will dive in and reflect upon the following questions and topics: what does packaging have to do with the current state of the world? Can we afford packaging? Which material choices do we (really) have? What’s the role of packaging in the circular economy system? And how can packaging contribute to a better future?
❹④ Industry 4.0
These classes will involve digital technologies, new materials and new processes, such as additive manufacturing, collaborative robotics, virtual reality, nanotechnology, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the so-called KET (Key Enabling Technologies), among others. Their inclusion in the packaging world brings the knowledge and implementation of these 4.0 technologies, along with learning new skills and how to use digital tools. This is a paradigm shift to face future opportunities and challenges in the design and development of new innovative packaging solutions with an added value.
❹⑤ Designing from the self
As members of a society, citizens with needs, expectations and feelings, designers are personally involved as part of and as actors in the designed context. Working to understand and interpret our experiences and how they affect us facilitates the connection with the others experiences, nurturing our design process.
In this module, we will undergo the design from the self, from the first person perspective, to live specific experiences and to ideate and solve meaningful services and products.
These sessions aim to offer visions of future scenarios that break with the apocalyptic imagery so deeply rooted in us. Through dialogue with guests from different disciplines, the goal is to reflect on the transition “from dystopia to utopia”, as the slogan of the environmental movement says. We want to create a space for open reflection that allows us to flee from pessimism, without falling in naive techno-optimism.
Capsules will take the shape of a series of short presentations focused on a diverse range of subjects and topics related to the world of packaging and its surroundings that will expand the students’ vision on design; they will enable unexpected connections to happen.
To listen is to learn, especially when professionals, both up-and-coming and with a solid career, share their life experiences through their professional career. Inspiration has to find us working, but also listening.
❻① International lectures
We invite prestigious international designers to speak at lectures that allow us to learn about experiences, projects and case studies of different fields of design first hand.
❻② Masters’ Talks
We organize talks with famous creators of different fields that allow us to share experiences, observe design phenomena, obtain new ways of looking at things, reflections and references that enrich our interdisciplinary perspective of design.
Leads the Ephemeral Packaging Design challenge and runs the workshop Ready-made Packaging
Expand your perspective
The Beyond Packaging master’s is intended to be the beginning of something new, not another step in the students’ career. We want this programme to prepare them to find their own professional path; as such, we will encourage students to foster independence and nurture their talent as they explore the different disciplines of design.
Discover your potential
Learning to connect different ideas and perspectives is vital to expand the possibilities for the future; this is why we offer the tools and the experience our students need to design, develop strategies, generate content and manage the creative process.
Build an excellent portfolio
The projects that the participants will complete during the course will give them the necessary knowledge and skills to create an excellent portfolio – the key to making the transition into the professional world.
A unique experience
The combination of challenges, projects, workshops, showcases, lectures and mentoring make this master’s degree a great opportunity to build knowledge and broaden experiences and perspective.
Live in a city immersed in design
Barcelona is awash with design, culture, gastronomy and cultural influences of all kinds; it’s the ideal setting for learning and for fun. Barcelona is inspiring; an unforgettable experience.
Be part of a multicultural and enriching environment
Students come from all over the world and create a vibrant cultural atmosphere where the exchange of ideas, points of view and cultures takes place in a natural way.
Who can apply
Design graduates and professionals with experience. It is not essential to have a bachelor’s degree to take this master’s degree; we value professional experience as much as college education. If you still have doubts about whether you would fit in or not, submit your request and we will look through it on a case-by-case basis.
Editions and languages
We offer a single edition of the master’s programme each academic year. The course is taught in English.
Number of students
A maximum of 20 students will be selected for each edition of the programme. Once the registration period is open, there is a rolling candidate selection process as pre-registrations become effective.
In accreditation process