Message From The Editors | People To Watch 2024

For the 61st time, GDUSA presents ‘People To Watch’.

The annual edition highlights leaders in the creative community who have something important to say and back up their words with deeds — talent, achievement, leadership, service, newsworthiness. It is necessarily a subjective selection, and we acknowledge our limitations upfront. But we think you will agree, this group is worthy of those who have come before. You can peruse the entire 60 year roster of legends, near-legends and occasional one-hit wonders at

For the 2024 edition, we have added a twist: a heavy overweighting of people engaged in, and thought leaders concerning, package design. Why? Because it is impossible to miss the fact that, in the evolving post-pandemic media world, packaging stands out and stands tall as both a vital communications tool and a rare growth opportunity.



In general, I prefer to let the “People To Watch” speak for themselves because they do it so well. But I cannot resist two quick observations based on their commentaries.

First, as we move forward, there is a clear consensus that graphic design is experiencing an elevated role in business and society, with the unprecedented potential to make human connections and shape commerce, culture, causes, brands and organizations.

This special power is amplified by the understanding – borne of the profound disruption of the past few years – that design is at its best when it is authentic, transparent and reflects heartfelt social, cultural and environmental values. Not to mention, when it is more inclusive in the messaging and in who creates the message.

Second, the package designers in our crowd…

… see themselves as ready to meet the moment. Amidst the cacophony, clutter and confusion, effective packaging is a difference maker. It is tangible, immediate, interactive, emotive, tells the story and advances the brand promise at the moment of truth. And these days that moment can be prior to purchase, at the moment of purchase, in the unboxing phase, and can even last long beyond.

The packaging industry faces challenges: first and foremost, the demand for sustainable materials and processes. The need to better integrate smart technologies and data into the process and finding the right role and balance for AI loom as well.

But Kaleb Sindec of Bakery Agency nicely captures the promise of great packaging and the joy of creating it: “We’re given the unique opportunity to invigorate all five senses to transport the consumer into a world we have meticulously crafted.” Mauro Porcini of PepsiCo takes a similar but broader perspective: “The best packaging and graphic design takes a people-first approach and places the wants and needs of human beings at the center of everything.”