This paper addresses the packaging design for monolithic cordierite ceramic converters to meet the new, stringent durability requirements of the 1990's, while minimizing warranty cost for the automaker. These objectives are best met by using a systems approach during the early phases of packaging design, i.e. by examining design interactions between the ceramic monolith, alumina coating, ceramic mat or wiremesh mounting material with seals, stainless steel can, heatshields, and associated peripheral components. Failure of any one of these components can prove detrimental to converter durability. In this paper we take advantage of overall understanding of the observed failure modes and individual component behavior, and present new data for optimizing the total converter durability through initial design. In particular, the impact of symmetric gas entry, monolith contour, clamshell anisotropy, mount density, stiffener ribs, and heatshield insulation on total durability is highlighted.