Get Ready for touchpoint packaging at #drupa2024: In Conversation with Claudia Josephs from epda

For tomorrow’s packaging design and print: The concept of drupa 2024 touchpoint packaging was introduced at an informative event at the end of November 2022. One more year to go yet the preparations for the touchpoint packaging platform at drupa 2024 are in full swing. In Conversation, Claudia Josephs from European Brand and Packaging Design Association (epda), partnering organization, answers all questions related to the packaging.

Ms. Josephs, as General Manager at epda, you are the contact person for touchpoint packaging at drupa 2024 together with Mr. Hruschka from drupa. What is the concept of the upcoming touchpoint packaging and is there already a rough framework that you would like to present to our drupa blog readers?

Touchpoint packaging (tpp) is a special forum at drupa 2024, which represents a platform for the future of packaging just as organized in 2016 and 2020, where not only innovative packaging solutions are presented but also significant issues regarding the focus topics, such as sustainability or e-commerce, are discussed. Therefore, it is less a pure exhibition space or a stand-in-stand concept but rather an open forum for inspiration and networking. A daily conference program is an important pillar of the concept.

When designing and implementing a special forum, many aspects must certainly be taken into account. What is going on behind the scenes? One more year away to the next drupa – How far along are the preparations going and what kind of topics are awaiting the attendees for now?

A few months ago, we discussed the concept of the latest drupa tpp in the project team and set the goals for the forum in 2024. A major focus is the acquisition of additional visitor target groups: We pay more attention to brand owners and designers. As a result, we conducted 10 interviews with a wide variety of brands with the help of our Vice President Uwe Melichar, which gave us significant insights into the development of drupa tpp. In the next step, we will elaborate on the main topics for the forum in sparring with retailers, represented by the EHI Retail Institute in Cologne, and the international trend research institute MINTEL. The registration phase is now approaching and as soon as the group of participating companies is determined, the exchange and development of forum content will begin. Besides, we are continuously working on the conference program. This time, we will also cooperate with the design school NABA from Milan. The work of young design talents will be presented and exhibited in the special forum. When it comes to the concept, we will remain open to innovative contributions and exhibits in the run-up to the trade fair.

The kick-off meeting for drupa 2024 touchpoint packaging took place at the end of November. Would you like to briefly summarize how the kick-off meeting was structured, which keynote speeches were held and what the conclusion of the meeting was?

The kick-off meeting was an invitation to inform about the current status of drupa tpp: from changing the focus points of the concept through the approach to initial findings. Presentations by packaging expert Benjamin Punchard, MINTEL, as well as Dr. David Strack, SUSY, stimulated the open discussion that followed after. We are excited that some companies that participated last time, such as KURZ and Esko, confirmed their participation immediately.

The core topics of the upcoming drupa are sustainability and digitalization. Can both of the trends also be found in the packaging industry?

Without a doubt, both of the trends are also ground-breaking in the packaging industry. They will certainly also be one of the focus topics at drupa tpp.

The packaging industry and drupa have become intertwined for a long time. Can you tell us a little bit about the history of touchpoint packaging?

In 2015, we at epda were contacted by Sabine Geldermann, drupa Director, for the first time. We had previously worked on the Innovationparc Packaging intensively and successfully together with the interpack team three times. There was only one year time for the preparation of the first drupa tpp, which was a very short time given the fact that there had never been a special forum on the subject of packaging of this size before. For drupa tpp 2020, we started to work directly after the first implementation. It is very unfortunate that the elaborate projects, which were planned and carried out together with the partners, could not be exhibited and presented in the end. The more gratifying it is that Messe Düsseldorf is supporting the idea of the special forum on the subject of packaging and is providing the means to its implementation.

What would you like to tell the exhibitors and visitors of drupa 2024 and in particular, of the special forum touchpoint packaging which will take place there?

Well, of course, I want to promote drupa tpp! Especially since we see it more as an initiative than as an exhibition space. The packaging industry needs not only a stage but also the interplay between the performances. I mean that the exchange with the partners but also among them in the run-up to drupa tpp at drupa is essential so as to drive forward the industry as a whole. We need solutions – yes, but inspiration, open-source thinking, and thus exchange are very important for the development of future-oriented innovations. And an initiative like drupa tpp by Messe Düsseldorf can do it, or rather perhaps in a special way.


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