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Innovative tradition. How it all started.

The winner’s trophy 1963
The cover of the first competition brochure from 1963
Original pages from the first competition brochure 1963

At the beginning of the 60s, German professionals realized that promoting the development of modern and innovative packaging with a packaging competition could stimulate the industry immensely. Inspired by the Eurostar of the European Packaging Federation, the German Packaging Competition was launched.

The first German Packaging competition took place in 1963 at the 3rd Interpack Trade Fair. The event was organized by the Rationalisierungs-Gemeinschaft Verpackung (RGV) im Rationalisierungs- und Innovationszentrum der Deutschen Wirtschaft (RKW) e. V. (the Packaging Rationalization Community at the Innovation Centre of the German Economy).

Among the crucial brains behind the Packaging Competition was Johannes Hoffmann, founder and first editor of the magazine "new packaging" (portrait as pdf). Later, Johann Christian Schneider and Prof. Dieter Berndt further developed the "flagship" of the German Packaging Competition.

In the first year of the competition, 256 submissions were recorded. It immediately received the second highest participant rate throughout European packaging competitions up to this point – a strong start to the competition.

One of the first winners was actually Wolfgang Schmittel, who worked as a graphic designer, among other things for the winner Braun and according to Wikipedia, is the godfather of corporate identity and corporate design.

The brochure of the first German Packaging Competition featured the goals and purposes of the new packaging competition as follows:

The purpose of the German Packaging Competition is to award packaging, in which the technical and economic merits and graphic-promotional form are exemplary and innovative. As a standard for the submissions is the creative performance alone, showing new, viable and promising ways of improving the packaging situation. It is not the task of the jury to evaluate packaging according to their business success, as this is difficult to measure, is not comparable and, in fact, can never be a criterion in such a fostering competition as this.

Modernized and adapted to current economic and social conditions, this text expresses the guiding principles for the German Packaging Award even today.

The winner’s trophy today

In 1996, responsibility for competition was handed over to the German Packaging Institute (dvi). The aim was to further strengthen and profile the then three-yearly event. The concept worked, so that this traditional award has been able to be awarded annually since 1999. It is no coincidence that the competition has also been under the patronage of the Federal Minister of Economics and Technology since then.

In the online archive you can take a look at all the competitions since 1996.

The German Packaging Award on Wikipedia.

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