Q&A with Jonathan Ford from Pearlfisher: The Future of Package Design


Jonathan Ford from Pearlfisher:
The Future of Package Design

Our second Q&A is with Jonathan Ford. Founding Creative Partner & CCO London Pearlfisher and speaker for The Dieline Summit, our conference this Fall in Paris (Nov 16-17). 

We are excited to ask Jonathan a series of questions that represent the theme of The Dieline Summit and overarching question:

What is the Future of Package Design? 




JS: We are very familiar with your work and your contributions to the design world. Can you give us a short background on your journey to this very point?

JF: A kid who wasn't much good at anything other than art at school, and who was told "must try harder" over and over again. 

An art student who original wanted to do film then tried his hand at fashion photography then design.  

A young intimidated london designer in the 80s working for one of the most award winning and preeminent studios of the time surrounded by design greats. 

A hungry creative director in the early 90s NYC watching his former company go bankrupt and helping form a new one in NYC. 

A founder partner 2 years later having decided it's time to start my own company Pearlfisher with two trusted other founders in 92'. 

A Madmen, with ten years since opening Pearlfisher New York 

And now at 100 people and still independent Pearlfisher is currently about to implement some exciting changes... 

JS: Without giving away too much, what is your take on the future of packaging?

JF: I was asked this recently for a poster design competition so I asked my whole company to give me answers on post it notes. I took all hundred of them and arranged them in a question mark and photographed it. It seems intelligent smart packaging is the future according to everyone. Personally I'd like to see a world without any packaging that lasts longer than the time it's used for. By the way I won the competition - I never win competitions!

JS: What intrigues you about design, and specifically product and packaging? 

JF: Always original ideas. Especially where graphics form and sustainability intersect. 

JS: Our world is facing complexity that is leading to uncertainty. We are bombarded with so much information, that it is becoming increasingly difficult to retain so much. What does the next generation of design and communication design look like? 

JF: I think future communication has to be highly edited personal and curated. How else will we survive the deluge? The creation of design is probably going to be neuro linked at some point in the next 10-20 years. 

JS: What does the next generation of designers look like?

JF: They'll be (already are?) creative chefs of the digital kitchen. Able to create amazing recipes out a variety of incredible ingredients and tools at their disposal. 

JS: What excites you about the future, specifically the future of package design?

JF: Step change in material and substrate design. Until this happens we all on an entertaining journey of graphic reinterpretation and brand distillation. 

JS: What in design specifically has left a profound impact on you? 

JF: It's always the thinkers who think alternatively and challenge the status quo. Elon Musk typifies that kind of person with what he has done and will do. It's why I like talking to challengers and icons like him. 

JS: With your talk at the Dieline Summit, what lasting impact do you want to leave on future designers, brand, and product creators?

JF: Actually I don't know. I've seen lots of  design egos on conference stages and I don't want that to be my lasting impression. If your readership or audience has an idea for this let me know and I'll work on something specifically. But I guess if anyone's ever been told must try harder a lot and yet has an stifled or unrequited passion, helping fuel that might be good thing. 


We would like to thank Jonathan for his insightful answers on his career, design 
and the future of package design. He will be speaking at The Dieline Summit 
in Paris November 17th. 

See full schedule below:


Take advantage of our early booking rate at 980 € includes VAT (TAX).
This early booking rate ends September 15th.