Cal Poly Students Win Top WPO WorldStar Student Awards

Innovative packaging designs from four teams of Cal Poly undergraduate students placed among the top in the world at the 2017 World Packaging Organisation (WPO) WorldStar International Packaging Design Student Competition.

Cal Poly students designed creative, functional and eye-catching packaging systems for food, healthcare and sports products. The interdisciplinary teams combined industrial technology and packaging students with graphic design students to create new packaging solutions. Each team developed a physical prototype of their product complete with branded graphics.

The competition grants three WorldStar Student Awards to the top three highest scoring entries, and WorldStar Student Certificates of Merit to the next ten highest scores. Cal Poly took two of the three top awards (SticKit and Tea Stems) and two Certificates of Merit (La Habra and Vera Cruz).

One Cal Poly’s winner award went to SticKit, a two-in-one packaging system that dispenses disposable syringes and safely houses used syringes. A pull tab on the bottom of the secondary container dispenses cartons with syringes while a hinged-lid on the top of the container can be opened and locked for safe syringe disposal. A plastic divider separates the compartments, moving down with gravity as syringes are dispensed until it finally closes the secondary container when all the cartons have been consumed. The entry was designed by industrial technology and packaging students Paul Woodman (Atascadero, Calif.) and Michael Lowe (Pleasanton, Calif.), graphic communications student Dana Shell (San Ramon, Calif.), and art and design students Gina Agapito (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Ashley Vong (San Jose, Calif.).

Another Cal Poly’s winner award went to the team behind Tea Stems, a convenient alternative to tea bags. The tea stem is a cylindrical wooden dowel attached to a polymer mesh material filled with tea leaves functioning as a tea bag and stirring stick. The stems are packaged within a die-cut paperboard folding carton that “blooms” when the box is opened. The package was designed by industrial technology and packaging students Brendan Smyth (San Jose, Calif.), Simeon Comanescu (Pleasanton, Calif.) and Ryan Marrs (San Luis Obispo, Calif.), and art and design students Alexandra Rosado (San Francisco, Calif.) and Lucia Astiazaran (Valencia, Calif.).

The other two Cal Poly’s teams received WorldStar Student Certificates of Merit. The team behind Vera Cruz designed a packaging system for suf wax that integrates a wax comb, a protective shell to minimize sun exposure of wax and a magnetic feature to store a user’s car keys. The design is made of injection-molded compostable PaperFoam. Its unique triangular shape offers an ergonomic grip. The dispensing mechanism was inspired by chap stick packaging, which can contain and reshape a melted product. The package was designed by industrial technology and packaging students Brooke Billmeyer (Solana Beach, Calif.), Grant Badstubner (Danville, Calif.), and Sai Domanico (Hillsborough, Calif) with art and design students Daniel Blenkinship (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and Zach Baker (Rocklin, Calif.).

The design for La Habra houses the avocado oil in a recyclable plastic pouch encased by two molded fiber shells. The package’s shape was inspired by the shape of an avocado. A pour spout with a drip return prevents the oil from spilling on the package. The product was designed by industrial technology and packaging students Katie Exum (Torrance, Calif.), Michael Moorehead (Walnut Creek, Calif.) and Patrick McCaffrey (Irvine, Calif.), and art and design students Jessica Ferguson (San Jose, Calif.) and Deric Shindledecker (Temecula, Calif.).

The competition considered hundreds of packaging design submissions from award-winning undergraduate and graduate student teams from countries around the world. Cal Poly’s teams were entered into the global competition after sweeping the top four awards at the 2017 Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) Ameristar Student Packaging Competition for the second consecutive year.

The student projects were developed in Professor Javier de la Fuente’s IT 435: Packaging Development class and Professor Mary LaPorte’s ART 437: Graphic Design III class. Professors de la Fuente and LaPorte served as student advisors.

For more information about this year’s teams, visit WPO’s website at

About Cal Poly’s Packaging Program
Cal Poly’s Packaging Program is part of the Orfalea College of Business. As the only program of its kind in a business school, it combines a full continuum of packaging design, development and testing courses with supply chain logistics and business strategy courses. The curriculum is rooted in applied research and the university’s Learn by Doing philosophy. Cal Poly’s Packaging Program serves leading companies in agriculture, retail, technology and manufacturing by providing top talent and valuable research.

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