Tajima craft knives,
Masking tape &
Good card stock"
I remember being fresh out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and jumping straight into my first position as an entry-level structural packaging designer in 2012. An introduction to cardboard that was met with awe. Playing with it, seeing what it can do. Learning how I could make the most of this material. Almost on a daily basis, my definition of packaging would continually evolve through the shaping and re-shaping of one design to the next. It was humbling.
Probably the most humbling thing about paper is that you can make anything with it. Enter cardboard engineer and Owner of Think Packaging, Mat Bogust. Don't tell this guy that it can't be made. Just don't. Because you're wrong.
Video by Monster Valley for Orcon
Mat started Think Packaging in 2010; a structural packaging design studio based in Auckland, New Zealand designing and delivering packaging solutions worldwide.
I first came across Mat's work through his company's Instagram page. Fantastic examples of designs that balance an engineer's attention to detail with creative expression. Mat is making packaging cool and I love that.
Who is Mat?
"Mat’s a 6ft 3”, originally British dude, now a citizen of New Zealand. A kiwi. I’ve got x2 kids, a wonderful wife & a fluffy puppy. Also, I’m a cardboard engineer."
How did you get your start in packaging?
"As a cheeky, spotty 17yr old young man, I answered an ad in the paper for a Packaging Designer/Sample Maker… the rest is history. 20 years of history in fact."
What initially drew you into the field?
"Ha! My Dad actually saw the ad & thought I’d be into it. I hadn’t known a lot about packaging before this to be honest. Though during my interview, I got to see the creation of box dielines & hand sampling them - I was hooked. It turns out, someone actually designs boxes… that’s been my job ever since."
What sort of lessons have you learned through working so closely with various materials?
"They all have different feelings, strengths & weaknesses. Choosing the right materials for projects is vital. Also, corrugated board gives the most wicked paper-cuts!"
Have you ever felt limited with your designs when you create them by hand?
"No, not at all."
How has your handmade approach to packaging benefited your clients?
"They get to "feel the idea”. They get to see the craft, the passion."
What are some of your next challenges ahead?
"Business growth & finding another designer with my head-space & approach."
Attention to detail. Honing a craft.
Sharing Mat's story with other up-and-coming packaging designers provides some more insight into an industry full of creative expression, challenge, and originality. I remember being in school and not sure if packaging was a field I wanted to get into. Mat's story is one that sparks excitement and would have been a powerful one for me to hear as an undergraduate student.
Have a project for Think Packaging?
Shoot Mat an email with a few project details