Packaging is what catches your eye in the cereal aisle at the grocery store. It's the reason you gravitate to those great headphones in the big box electronics store or that geegaw on the checkout counter at the 24-hour shop near your office. Packaging, or more accurately, packaging design, when well thought out and executed, speaks to you, the target audience, and draws you in. Colors, brand names, materials, fonts, inks, logos, taglines, and mission statements, often more than what the product actually is or does, will dictate your purchase.
Wikipedia's page for Packaging and Labeling provides an all-inclusive definition of the science, art and technology of packaging.
The materials used in packaging design are undergoing close scrutiny - unless you're growing all of your own food, you see evidence of this in the market every day. Sensible use of materials is being demanded by consumers and their advocates and in some countries mandated. Packaging designers and engineers must now consider the whole life of both the product and its packaging when proposing how that product will go to market - food, electronics, appliances, automobile parts, medicines - everything that is in-process, shipped, stored, consumed, exchanged, imported, or exported.
Items packaged safely, but with a minimum of packaging, are gaining popularity because of environmental considerations. Smart packaging is key and changes are being made daily. For amazing and innovative retail packaging ideas, head straight to The Dieline. Manufacturers of electronics and metals where corrosion or field defects may be a concern should consider the benefits of Intercept Technology Packaging as a solution. For cogent discussion on where packaging is headed, read The Packaging Diva's "Packaging News You Can Use" blog and join the discussion.