Cal Poly Teams Victorious at 2020 AmeriStar Package Award Competition

Cal Poly’s Industrial Technology and Packaging Program (ITP) has a long record of achievement. A primary example has been the program’s success in the AmeriStar Package Award competition, an annual event hosted by the Institute of Packaging Professionals, which is one of the industry’s oldest and most prestigious design competitions.

Cal Poly has placed in the top three of the AmeriStar competition since 2016 and has placed first in four of the five last years. True to form, two Cal Poly teams—Centari and Beakies—finished first and third again this year, continuing the excellent run of success enjoyed by Cal Poly’s ITP students. 

Of course, the competition looked quite different this year in the face of COVID-19. Teams were forced to work remotely, and many of the projects focused on global challenges triggered by the pandemic. For example: food delivery, masks, COVID tests, and other practical packaging responses to the pandemic were heavily represented. 

These changes, however, did not hold Cal Poly back, as both teams focused on PPE in their presentations while also overcoming the hurdles of collaborating and presenting virtually.

All Cal Poly students from ITP 485, a course titled “Packaging Development,” have the opportunity for their projects to be entered in the AmeriStar competition. The course is taught by Professors Javier de la Fuente, Irene Carbonell, and Mary LaPorte. A multidisciplinary effort, the course pairs graphic design students from Cal Poly’s Art & Design Department with packaging students to produce projects that are both functional and visually appealing. 

These projects will go on to represent the United States in the World Packaging Organisation WorldStar Student Awards competition, competing against students from all over the world. 

Congratulations to these students—and best of luck in the next phase of the competition! Find more on these teams and their projects below. 

Centauri | First Place

Amber Chiang (ART, Graphic Design)

Caleb Dea (BUS, Consumer Packaging)

John Dizon (ITP, Packaging)

Dane Holst (ITP, Packaging)

Product Description: Centauri is an innovative packaging solution that addresses sustainability and safety concerns identified in current packaging for N95 respirators.The design is infused with silver nanoparticles as a virucidal agent in a cellulose-based package that doubles as a storage unit with “Coronavirus-cleaning” properties. Centauri proposes a more sustainable solution, a paper-based solution that relies on renewable natural resources, and that can be reused several times. The components of the packaging system are all easily recycled or composted. Centauri is marketed to medical professionals and the average consumer. In the retail setting, they stand out among the competition by presenting a new-age theme of high-tech outer space protection. This theme represents protection from the elements of a harsh environment with the newest technology science has to offer.

Beakies | Third Place

Nirav Chhajed (ITP, Packaging) 

Grace Leonard (ART, Graphic Design)

Alyssa O’Halloran (BUS, Consumer Packaging)

Sophia Tamrazian (ITP, Packaging)

Product Description: Beakies is a fun packaging system for facial protection equipment with an easy-to-store and portable primary package and an innovative dispensing box for use in multiple environments. The primary package can be reused to store the mask and doubles as a practical carrying case for on-the-go situations. The dispensing box allows for a non-contact customer experience. The Beakies packaging system is more sustainable than many current solutions in the marketplace. Both the primary packaging and the dispensing unit are made of SBS paperboard, a fully recyclable and compostable material. The package’s structure and graphics help attract consumers as it provides options of different mask patterns and creates a brand identity. The packaging echoes its mission of providing an easy-to-use product with simple geometric graphics and welcoming colors.