Oct
29
2008

Packaging Trends

As we do more and more packaging assignments, we’re having to stay on top of the trends. What’s below are 9 of the hottest trends we’ve seen emerge this year.

Keeping it simple.
Simplicity in design implies elegance. This approach avoids gratuitous embellishment in favor of focusing on conveying key ideas. And I’ve seen many big brands adopt this trend, effectively selling everything from food to electronics. In fact, Soloflight just used this approach for a high-end cosmetics line we recently helped launch.

Looking back in time.
By leveraging elements from the past, you can create a feeling and speak to a prospective buyer’s emotional past. This trend isn’t exactly retro though. Instead of a complete use of old designs, we’re seeing brands pick up certain elements (type, colors, etc.) and use them to create a more contemporary look for today’s customer.

Showing the product in use.
For years, advertising has been showing customers enjoying a product. But this is something packaging is just now starting to do, whether it’s literally with photos or figuratively with illustrations. The intent of this approach is to give prospective buyers something to aspire to, helping them feel a bit closer to achieving the lifestyle they want. Which is something we tried to achieve with our recent FlatWire packaging.

Making it look handmade.
Handmade products are viewed as special and people are certainly willing to pay more for them. Even if a product is mass produced, having packaging that appears handmade adds a certain cache and allows a premium to be charged. It’s important, however, for consumer to feel a level of genuineness. From hand-drawn art to tactile elements, the packaging needs to look like it was made just for them.

Showing not telling.
Too often packaging works too hard to sell and just ends up confusing the consumer. You don’t need copy for every single feature and benefit. Instead, employ eye-catching photography that clearly conveys what’s being sold and, if possible, what the benefit is. When the latter isn’t possible, let the copy convey the key benefit…just remember to keep the messaging brief.

Being bold.
Pop Art inspired this next trend, which favors a bold look that presents itself uniquely on the shelf. Fonts are chunky, colors are typically bright and geometric shapes are often used. While simplicity in packaging is on the rise, a bold approach can be especially useful for product categories where shelves are cluttered with too many competing SKUs.

Adding a bit of whimsy.
When a brand has personality, it’s engaging, captivating and fun for the consumer. Capitalizing on that, more and more companies are incorporating lighthearted visuals and copy into their packaging. Which is exactly what we did for Pressto! custom cookbooks. By bringing an element of entertainment to the product, consumers are given a reason to connect with it beyond its benefits. Whimsical touches are also a great way to keep simple from becoming boring.

Telling a story.
Conveying the origins of a product gives it more credibility. In fact, this can be very powerful in establishing a relationship. The storytelling trend has grown from using snippets of stories on the backs of packaging to printing these tales on the front of the package. Narrative copy, when well done, can be engaging enough to slow consumers down and emotionally involve them. And once that connection is made, products can become irresistible.

9. Going green.
As consumer commitment to the environment grows, so has companies’ commitment to creating packaging that’s more eco-friendly. Visually, the green trend manifests itself in a variety of ways, from incorporating obviously earthy materials to choosing simple containers that use less materials. Shipping methods and recyclability are also important concerns. Above all, embracing the green trend is all about being honest and truthful regarding your motives, so if you’re not ready to fully commit to being green, wait until you can.

Michelle Ducayet | Creative Director | Soloflight Design

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Written by soloflight in: Design Insights |

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