On a cold Chicago evening at the end of March, 30 motivated souls gathered to get a hands-on introduction to emerging technologies in packaging & design. These brand marketers, start-up founders, agency partners and design leaders encountered seven digital innovations that are disrupting packaging and design.

Danaher’s Product Identification team set up a learning lab that allowed attendees to experiment with the latest apps and technologies, ideas for saving weeks in the packaging process, and a new frame of reference for “what’s possible.”

So what did attendees get to experience within our technology station circuit?

Digital Maturity Model for Brand Packaging

Attendees used the model to identify in which level their company currently operates in and to use the language provided in the framework to describe how their companies are positioned to utilize agility, efficiency and productivity technology solutions.

Digital Shelf Relay

Digital Shelf Relay (DSR) uses APIs to pull LIVE data from retailers’ websites, including images and then scores brand appearance online. With brands relying on so many retailers’ online, it has become increasingly difficult to monitor brand health. Attendees used DSR to identify and investigate brand image deficiencies of online retailers.

esko ad

Esko Store Visualizer

Since products must perform in many different environments, it’s helpful to get a sense of how a design will perform in the different context in which it will be seen by consumers. Using VR goggles, attendees entered a virtual store, actually picking up and maneuvering products, to get a sense of what may give a product a competitive edge in a given environment. Product Page

Esko Studio Viewer App

Using their own devices, attendees placed AR trackers in various environments and viewed how that product would look on the pantry shelf, in the refrigerator, and even as a “lifestyle” shot. This understanding of how your consumers will interact with your brand in everyday life is normally not available until the testing phase, much farther along in the process. iPhone | Android

Pantone Studio App

 You never know where inspiration will strike, and you always want to be ready for it. Attendees learned how the Pantone Studio app to help translate the world around you in Pantone colors. By simply using their own mobile device’s cameras, they snapped pictures of their surroundings and create Pantone color palettes that could be sent directly to designers. iPhone

Esko WebCenter

Using Esko’s WebCenter technology, attendees were challenged to test a product in a variety of sample packaging to determine the best fit, then approve artwork of the proper size that would deliver the clean and polished packaging for the test product to make it as appealing as possible to consumers seeing the product on the shelf. iPhone | Product Page

Amazon Flow App

Attendees used their mobile devices to scan a variety of products into the Amazon Flow App. From a business standpoint, this is valuable as a competitive shopping tool, helping to identify a competitor’s eCommerce pricing strategy. From the consumer point of view, this is a quick and easy way to add all of your favorite products to your Amazon shopping cart. Either way, it’s a powerful reminder of the increased importance of packaging as a marketing vehicle. iPhone 


As our groups rotated between stations, you could hear ideas being shared of how these technologies could be taken back and incorporated into their various processes. Different functions would think of different ways such technology could be of use, each with own unique takeaways from the evening.

Such an event would not have been possible without our industry experts, Partner at Baer Design Group and author of The Big Book of Packaging Lisa Baer, and chief architect of the Digital Maturity Model for Brand Packaging and Director of Customer Insights and Experience Danielle Sauvé for a family of tech companies in the packaging industry, including Pantone and Esko. 

Danielle reflected, “Events like this are fun opportunities to overcome any fear of technology, to experience new ways of working and to dream of a future for brand management that’s really only limited by the imagination. Digital tools have so much to offer design and brand leaders to get the most out of all their hard work by increasing relevance, reducing rework and re-using images and assets.”

Attendees agreed that the experiencing the technology for themselves was useful and that it was fun to network and learn at the same time.

We wanted to extend a huge thank you to our partners for this event: SWIM (Savvy Women in Marketing) and its founder, Ann Hoeger, and the Hatchery.

What is SWIM?

SWIM is a networking community of over 800 women executive marketers in Chicago. The mission of SWIM is to promote, develop, and inspire this group. As part of this mission, we started doing influencer salons, which are open to both men and women who are thought leaders on specific topics.

About the Hatchery

The Hatchery is Chicago’s premier food business incubator helping local food and beverage entrepreneurs scale successful businesses. A joint venture between three of Chicago’s most prominent nonprofits—Accion Chicago, ICNC, and IFF—The Hatchery intends to meet demand for three major areas of need for food and beverage entrepreneurs: access to production space, financing, and resources—all under one roof. From pre-concept to business acquisition, The Hatchery provides a full suite of services for Chicagoland entrepreneurs specific to industry needs. We are a one-stop-shop.

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