May 19, 2015

Contact: Colleen Larkin Twomey

Cal Poly Graphic Communication Students Win Awards in Packaging Challenge

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly graphic communication students won two awards for a pop-up mailer at the annual Phoenix Challenge Flexo Packaging Competition on May 2.

For the yearlong Phoenix Challenge, student teams select a local company to rebrand and market its business with collateral materials using the flexographic print process — a technique that uses a flexible plate to print on a variety of materials. The Cal Poly team, which competed with eight other schools in Nashville, Tenn., received Best Concept and Best Graphics awards.

This year, Cal Poly’s team worked with The Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville, a live-theater in Oceano, Calif. Cal Poly students developed a pop-up mailer shaped like a theater with a Soft Touch Coating, which creates a velvety texture to engage consumers’ tactile senses.

The mailer incorporates augmented reality into the design, which when combined with a smart phone, adds computer-generated elements to the paper product to create popcorn popping at a virtual Melodrama concession. Daqri, an augmented reality developer, donated the smart phone app.

The popcorn motif extended to the back of the mailer envelope. The students created a seal with a butter-scented coating. Consumers will notice the unmistakable scent of buttered popcorn when they open the mailer.

The team also redesigned the melodrama’s gift certificate with an updated logo, gold metallic ink and microtype on the back for security printing.

Students Isabella Baldwin, Mikayla Byars, Leeana Diaz, Taylor Fenster, Hannah Giorgi, Kristen Minlschmidt, and team leader Meredith Stewart spent the last academic year brainstorming, researching and preparing for the competition. The team capitalized on Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing teaching philosophy by printing and converting everything on Graphic Communication Department equipment.

In addition, Cal Poly received a silver medal for print excellence for the 2014 Phoenix Challenge team’s thermochromic wine tag, which turns blue when the wine bottle is chilled to the proper temperature. The award was announced at the Flexographic Technical Association’s Forum Banquet.


- Cal Poly Graphic Communication Department:

- Cal Poly College of Liberal Arts:

About the Cal Poly Graphic Communication Department

The Graphic Communication Department at Cal Poly is one of the best-known and largest programs of its kind in the Western U.S. The department is home to more than 33,000 square feet of laboratories filled with cutting-edge equipment donated in large part through industry partnerships. The department serves approximately 300 undergraduate students pursuing a degree in graphic communication with emphases in four focus areas and a new Master of Science degree program in printed electronics and functional imaging.


Cal Poly Phoenix Team Mailer.jpg

Cal Poly Phoenix Team Gift Certificate.jpg

Cal Poly Phoenix Team 2015.jpg

Team members, from left, Leeana Diaz, Kristen Minlschmidt, team leader Meredith Stewart, Isabella Baldwin, Hannah Giorgi, Taylor Fenster and Mikayla Byars. The students won two awards for a pop-up mailer at the annual Phoenix Challenge Flexo Packaging Competition on May 2.

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