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Take Flight: Introducing Ryan Burlinson of Ten Gun Design

Packaging Experience Summit
September 26, 2018

Today we caught up with Ryan Burlinson, Creative Director at Ten Gun Design. Ryan has well over a decade of design proficiency in print, dimensional and digital experiences working for clients such as Xbox, EA, Monolith, T-Mobile, Seattle Children’s Hospital, and Microsoft.

With Packaging Experience Summit on March 19 –20, 2019, we are preparing for the conference by spotlighting our incredible speaker lineup of experts, influencers, and leaders in the packaging and digital print industry. Today we caught up with Ryan Burlinson, Creative Director at Ten Gun Design — a full-service creative agency that combines smart design, innovation, and agility to engage audiences in compelling ways. Ryan has worked with many renowned brands and continues to push creative and innovative solutions to enhance the packaging experience.

Explain your experience and role in the packaging industry.

I have worked in the graphic design field for the better part of two decades focusing on brand development and interactive experiences. I’ve worked with Microsoft to help unify their ecosystem of accessory and device packaging under one cohesive visual language. Recently, I have been managing a team of people who are defining the packaging strategy for the Xbox brand. I’m also mildly obsessed with beautifully designed packages.

Explain a bit about Ten Gun Design. Does the agency primarily do packaging or is it just one aspect of the work they do for brands?

We create identities, stories and experiences for lifestyle technology brands. That requires us to offer much more than packaging. Our broad set of capabilities allow us to ideate, design, and build for the marketing spaces of the future. One of those spaces just so happens to be packaging. We enjoy hanging out there.

How do you see packaging fitting into a brand's total image/presence?

The net perception of a brand stems from primarily digital sources these days. For many consumers, opening a package is the first tangible connection to a particular brand. Ten Gun Design recognizes the importance of delivering on the brand's promise through beautifully-crafted unboxing experiences.

What are some common challenges that creatives face when designing for packaging?

  • Dimensional understanding.
  • The significance of unraveling layers.
  • Relationships across form factors.
  • Responsive grids for dynamic content.
  • Too many rules stifling creativity.

What benefits do digital prototypes deliver to the design and approval process?

Digital prototypes can be very useful when shifting or evolving a package's graphic language. A dimensional representation of a flat design helps both client and designer understand the significance of certain changes. With the announce of Adobe's Fantastic Fold and other amazing tools like Adobe Dimension, designers are better able to wrap their heads around these dimensional complexities.

What's next for the future of omnichannel packaging experiences? Where do you see the future of packaging moving towards?

  • Continued improvement on sustainable solutions — especially for repeat packaging products, such as food and beverage.
  • Emerging technology and consumer demand will spawn new advances in the supply chain (tracking solutions and personalized packaging of product).
  • Augmented reality as an informative digital layer rather than a gimmick.
  • Packaging will continue to shift from signage to a 'reveal mechanism' that celebrates a consumers’ relationship with a particular brand.
  • Companies will double down on post-purchase revenue by creating lasting impressions through packaging and post-consumer engagements. This is ultimately more valuable for a brand than any Super Bowl ad will ever be.


What is one key takeaway that you hope to impart at Packaging Experience Summit 2019?

Rules-based design and packaging guidance, while necessary, run the risk of killing creativity and style. Packaging design will continue to get more complex as SKUs increase, but the design tools are getting better—they can keep designers in check while allowing them the freedom to explore creative solutions that effectively communicate.

To meet Ryan and listen to him speak in person, register for Packaging Experience Summit today before registration closes on March 11, 2019!

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