Roshnee Desai's Unmute with Beyondesign

Local is a young, cutting-edge, creative powerhouse that wants to change the way India is perceived by the world. Roshnee Desai, the founder & Creative Director at Local has a huge concern which is, "How little we have progressed in the subject of sustainable packaging and how our landfills are overflowing with packaging and branding waste."

28 Nov 2022 | By WhatPackaging? Team

Roshnee Desai - eCommerce has already changed all the rules. We hardly get any projects where we do in-store packaging. It’s always e-commerce first packaging.

I wanted to start a brand design studio designed for Indian businesses inspired by India’s rich visual culture. I believe when the world (since ancient times) has constantly looked to India for inspiration, why should we look elsewhere? I grew up travelling across India throughout my childhood. Being a creative kid, I noticed the colours, patterns, textures and languages spread across this amazing country, all varying from state to state. When I started my career in design at MTV and Saffron I borrowed a lot from these travels and enjoyed those projects most where I had to use the knowledge of the locals.

I travel. If I can't, I step out. I don't believe one can be creative in a cubicle. That's why we are local - I think inspiration is on the streets.

Being mentored by Michael Wolff. Spending my summer working at his house in London and learning about design and what it means to be a designer - or responsibilities and our role in society. Which is way more valuable than that.

Roshnee Desai and packaging
The environmental impact of design in our society is the biggest challenge we are facing as designers. On the one hand, India is booming, on the other hand, the world needs less! When we were trained as designers this wasn't part of our training. To think sustainably, now we're having to teach ourselves and innovate. When we start to study it, we see that the packaging industry hasn't really changed and introduced new materials in the past decade that could be used for food/cosmetics etc. It’s still the same pollutants. So the biggest challenge is that the packaging industry isn’t innovating fast enough in terms of truly tried and tested sustainable materials.

Personally I think the world is moving to more sustainable materials and less-is-more packaging options. With our history and culture in upcycling and unique materials we should be the fore-runners in inventing these new materials that work in our environment, withstand humidity and heat and bring it to the world. That is where true packaging innovation lies today.

I feel any new packaging innovation that happens from now on should only think about the full cycle of the packaging material. Nothing should come into the system that we can’t take responsibility of how it leaves the system. We have wasted enough time, our landfills (especially in India are full) it is not a 'strategy' anymore but the only way forward.

The big picture
Rural landscapes have been saved from the influx of mass plastics for years but in the past two decades that has changed. I feel big companies need to take responsibility for that narrative both in terms of sustainability but also messaging. Packaging and brand design have a risk of homogenising local cultures. Language needs to talk to them in the way they are most familiar with. It’s a good opportunity for brands to encourage local dialects to thrive on packaging. Rather than a homogenised Hindi, English or worse, Hinglish.

Work from home has made studios go into the cloud and have our teams work from all across the world. Yes this change is permanent. It has changed the way we look at design processes and our practices. Personal space and time. The lines between consultant and full-time employee have blurred.

Yes, carrybags, forks and spoons sent during food delivery is completely unnecessary since we are mostly eating at home - so asking for it as optional is a great trend. The same thing is true with pouches and refills having a resurgence since people don’t want to hoard bottles anymore. And refillable containers with drop and pickup services given by brands like Relove have been a fabulous concept. Overall people have become more self aware and environmentally conscious, it is time the packaging industry picks up pace in innovation. 

Unmute in print is a platform where Beyondesign invites designers, printers, artists and anyone from the industry live and/ or in print to share with others and learn together. The platform started online and the response was overwhelming. WhatPackaging? is the print-packaging partner for Unmute with Beyondesign.

Latest Poll

The packaging industry is confused by recycling and sustainability rules in India. What is the biggest challenge?


The packaging industry is confused by recycling and sustainability rules in India. What is the biggest challenge?

Shortcomings in EPR policy



Inadequate infrastructure



Shortage of recycling firms



Lack of consumer awareness



Total Votes : 18


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