Andrew Calipa Wins 2018 American Package Design Award

Andrew Calipa '13 poses with his package redesign display for the InfinitiPRO by Conair.

What is good package design? Would you know the science behind what makes us buy the products we buy? Andrew Calipa ’13, a Graphic Design alum, has made a career out of this — and he’s very good it at. His ingenious package redesign for the InfinitiPRO by Conair line earned him a spot in the 2018 American Package Design Awards from Graphic Design USA (GDUSA) magazine.

“This is actually really exciting,” says Calipa, a senior designer at Conair. “To be recognized by a graphic design publication really makes you feel that your work is worthwhile and that what you’re doing means something. But to be recognized by other designers and people who understand and appreciate design, that’s even more of a thrill.”

"This is actually really exciting."

Overall, more than 2,000 design firms, design departments and production companies submitted entries in 18 categories for the awards. Of those, only 200 were selected as winners. Calipa’s entry fell under the beauty and personal care category which included companies such as Aruliden for Maybelline and Pantene, Jeunesse Global, Interbrand for Woosh and Mark Oliver, Inc. for Earth Science Naturals.

A photo of the 2018 winner of the American Package Design competition, a package for CONAIR's Infiniti Pro hair tools.

According to GDUSA’s website, the annual competition “celebrates attractive graphics, of course, but more importantly the power of design to forge an emotional link with the buyer at the moment of truth.”

‘I made that.’
Calipa is aware of the impact his package designs have on consumers, and that’s one of the reasons he enjoys his job.

“It’s definitely fun,” he says. “When you first see your work [on a shelf], you kind of brag a little and you look over to the person next to you at the store and whisper ‘I made that,’ and you hope they appreciate it. But there’s more to it.”

"We have to crack the code behind that."

Specifically, he says, with packaging, designers need to be aware of what makes an individual pick up a brand he or she has never bought before. “Is it the logo? The colors? Or something you heard about it? The reasons vary for everything and everyone, but it’s a really fun, sort of science-y aspect to design that consumers don’t necessarily think about. But for us, that's what we have to do — we have to crack the code behind that.”

Calipa's package design on display in JWU's Bowen art gallery.

Calipa explains that as a designer, he keeps an eye out for what’s trending in the industry including colors, patterns, shapes and materials. “For us it’s kind of the untold story of how [consumers] buy something. And to me that’s one of the most fascinating aspects of packaging,” he says.

‘Really Eager to Design’
Associate Professor Karyn Jimenez-Elliot says Calipa’s design style is rooted in who he is as a person.

“He was eager as a student and he's like that out in the workforce,” Jimenez-Elliot says. “As a student, he definitely had a really refined style but it was a little bit grittier and with sort of an urban aesthetic. And to see him be able to do that and then also do this extremely polished commercial design work is impressive,” she says.

“I see the work that he's doing for Conair and the rebrand,” she adds. “And it still has an urban approach to it with his typographic lock ups and some of the darker color palettes. So, it’s interesting to see him insert himself and his style as a designer but in a commercial way that's obviously being accepted.”

A Winning Design
That knack for design and his desire to “always design as much as possible” has pushed Calipa further in his career.

Calipa's illustration for CONAIR

“Working for an in-house agency allows us designers to touch as much as we can, because things can get stale or sometimes you need new eyes on things and take different approaches,” Calipa says. “For the InfinitiPRO design, every single designer worked on it regardless of teams. I think there’s about 12 of us and we all did one or two redesigns for it and mine was the one that was selected out of everyone’s.”

His new design features a holographic, silver-foil design which catches the light in different ways. “It draws your eye in, which is great for shelf life,” he notes. “Holographics are trending very much this year and look to stay trendy for next year as well.”

"It draws your eye in, which is great for shelf life."

When he set out to redesign the InfinitiPRO line, Calipa knew he wanted the product to stand out from the competition. “The last time this line was redesigned was in 2006. I tried to elevate the brand further by establishing a really strong shelf presence while also making it come off as a clean, high-end brand that’s also affordable.”

Sharing What He Knows
Since graduating from JWU, Calipa has stayed involved with the university, coming back to the College of Engineering & Design as a guest speaker and submitting work to the annual re-Connected alumni show

Why does he do it? “I think students need a physical representation of what they will be doing when they're out of school,” says Calipa. It’s important for students to see what we [alumni] were like in college, where we are now and how we got there.”

Calipa presenting to JWU students in a classroom