Packaging with the planet in mind

Across a five day design sprint, we partnered with iconic British retailer, River Island, to rethink packaging and the unboxing experience – with sustainability at the core.

River Island's new sustainable packaging designs

About River Island

River Island is a staple of the British high street. A family-owned fashion brand founded in 1948 with over 200 stores across the country and a significant online presence, they are at the forefront of trend-led fashion in the UK.

&us is proud to have partnered closely with River Island since 2018, and together, we have worked on a range of projects focused on better understanding their customers, improving website conversion rates and more. 

Most recently, River Island saw an opportunity to deliver a stronger, brand-led experience for customers through online order packaging. They approached &us to create a unique and memorable unboxing experience for customers that would increase brand affinity at the moment of delivery.

 

Example of old River Island packaging

Building brand affinity with the planet in mind

Not only did River Island want to differentiate the unboxing experience, they also wanted to explore ways they could bring a more sustainable packaging offering to the market in line with the company’s sustainability goals.

Enlisting &us to help, core to the project’s success was being able to ideate at speed - delivering fresh, insight-led packaging ideas that were ready to be taken back into the business as experiments. River Island also wanted staff involved in the project to gain experience of a design sprint methodology, so they could run the same process internally in the future.

Running a rapid design sprint

Designed to be lean, fast, and focused, we ran the project as a 5-day design sprint designed to generate ideas quickly and provide early opportunities for testing.

Hattie Camp brainstorming new ideas with post-it notes

Three core concepts

The design sprint generated three new packaging concepts, each visualised and supported by experimentation plans that would allow each to be tested further against the project’s three key priorities: 

Three core concepts for River Island focused on sustainability, brand messaging, and customer experience

Three core concepts

The design sprint generated three new packaging concepts, each visualised and supported by experimentation plans that would allow each to be tested further against the project’s three key priorities: 

More sustainable River Island packaging

Idea One | Purposeful Packaging

Clothing delivered in a reusable, microplastic-reducing laundry wash bag. The bag traps plastic fibres, and helps keep the environment free of microplastics.

 

Content spacer

Idea Two | RI Twist

A new packing method that delivers a better unboxing experience for customers. A more premium-feeling moment, with high value items artfully rolled and wrapped in tissue.

River Island - Idea 2-min
Content spacer

Idea Three | Made To Stick

Tactile, fully recyclable packaging adorned with stickers. Stickers create a micro communication channel, allowing for personalisation and celebrating culturally relevant moments.

Sustainable River Island packaging with stickers

Key outcomes

Lightbulb icon

Agile and sustainable ways of thinking

Throughout the project, we actively championed learning and capability-building around design thinking and experimentation. Working alongside us, the River Island team got to directly experience research, ideation and prototyping, and were constructively challenged to put sustainability at the forefront of any future packaging developments.

Packaging icon

Three new packaging ideas to explore

In collaboration with the River Island team, we put forward three innovative and sustainable packaging solutions for their team to explore. During this process, we encouraged them to think without limitations so good ideas could come to the surface.

 

Vector 155-4
Squiggle graphic

Ready to get started?