A guide to the packaging design trends you can use to effectively differentiate your products on-shelf, or via e-commerce.
Studies show us that packaging has become more important than ever. It helps busy customers to make buying decisions. It contributes to their overall product satisfaction. It ensures that product stands out on display stands. It boosts excitement levels when unboxing an ecommerce purchase.
As retailers, you want to do everything you can to optimise your brand shelf presence, or to improve your after sales experience. Here are 7 of the top packaging design trends for 2018 that we, as packaging design specialists, are using to help our customers achieve that very goal.
1. Sustainable Packaging
Eco-friendly packaging is a trend that we hope continues to grow year on year. It represents a fantastic opportunity for brands to adopt a culture of sustainability and waste reduction.
Innovation in packaging materials is moving at a rapid rate as more companies invest in finding ways to lessen their global impact. New technologies are being explored around biodegradable plastics, where recyclable cardboard is not a viable packaging option.
The materials used for packaging is not the only way that brands can affect their impact. Assessing product lines, and employing smart, innovative packaging designs, can greatly improve material wastage.
The carbon footprint of the packaging is also a major concern that is leading brands to choose packaging partners that have production facilities in their locale.
Consumers are increasingly choosing responsible companies that take action on helping the environment. Therefore, clear communication of packaging disposal methods is vital to ensure that the consumer can make an informed decision about your product.
2. Vintage/Retro Packaging
Ideal for brands wanting to use an ‘old school’ approach to appeal to their customers, vintage or retro packaging design trends have definitely made a strong comeback.
Not only does a vintage style evoke powerful memories in the consumer, it is also an effective way to demonstrate quality.
This particular design style works extremely well for brands that have been established for decades. It enables their customers to reminisce and also calls attention to their longevity.
It is also a persuasive design option for a new, artisanal brand that wants to quickly convey a message of bespoke quality that is lacking from some modern day fast fashion brands.
3. Bold Packaging
Commanding attention on the shelf when surrounded by ever increasing levels of competition has never been more important. Brands and packaging designers are looking for ways to differentiate their products and stand out from the crowd.
Vibrant colours, geometric shapes, bold typefaces and strong contrast can really help packaging to stand out. We are also seeing a massive rise in the use of embellishment options such as foils, holographs, special varnishes, and soft touch finishes.
We expect this trend of boldness to continue, and even expand using doodles and hand drawn elements to build consumer engagement further.
4. E-Commerce Packaging
E-commerce has taken a major share of the retail market and continues to expand year on year. With major brands competing for loyalty in the online space, packaging has emerged as a key differentiating factor.
Especially important for luxury goods, the increasing customer perception is that the packaging should mirror the purchase.
Branded packaging can add value to the purchase and create a memorable unboxing experience for the consumer. It can actually help to build brand loyalty and advocacy.
There can be many elements to well-designed e-commerce packaging, including boxes, labels, ribbons, tape, and even filler. Your particular product and target customer can help you decide which ones deliver the best experience and add the most value.
Strategically, improving your e-commerce packaging can help to elevate you above your competition and increase the likelihood of repeat business. Is your after sales packaging attractive enough to look good on a vlogger’s YouTube review?
5. Textured Packaging
For brick and mortar retailers, touch is one of the key senses that drive customer behaviour. We’ve seen an increase from brands that are focusing on how their products feel, as well as look.
Although visual elements are still the first way to entice a customer, by incorporating elements of tactility on their packaging brands are creating a multi-sensory experience.
Lacquers (popular in flexible packaging), matt varnishes and subtle embossings are in growing demand. They create an attractive 3D appearance, and their ‘rough’ texture is compelling.
These textured innovations allow brands to move away from the glossy packaging that has historically been associated with luxury goods. Now it is these tactile, natural materials that convey sustainability and quality.
6. Social Packaging
Many brands are using the rapid advancements of the digital age to differentiate their product packaging.
On social media, sophisticated image-recognition technology means that consumers don’t even have to mention the brand name in order for marketers to see their products being used in-the-wild. This is definitely influencing packaging design trends, as typography and logo placement are crucial. Packaging now has to be designed for the home ‘studio’, as well as the retail environment.
Also, personalisation (think Coca-Cola’s name bottles), socially conscious messaging (think Innocent’s Big Knit), and event based elements (think Skittles during Pride month) make packaging infinitely more engaging and ‘shareable’.
Finally, QR (Quick Response) codes on packaging offer the opportunity to link straight to social channels and share their experience with the product. They also give brands the ability to link customers to supplemental information that the packaging has no room for.
7. Multi-Functional Packaging
Working on the packaging design for your product can be a fun and imaginative experience; especially if you take the opportunity to consider if your packaging could be multi-functional.
According to a recent study, functionality is becoming one of the most important features for consumer satisfaction with packaging. In fact, 60% of surveyed consumers in the US have purchased a product again because of the packaging’s functionality.
Packaging that can be repurposed is a key to reducing waste; plus it is also incredibly engaging and shareable.
Packaging design trends should incorporate the perfect combination of packaging material, innovation and finishing techniques. An understanding of your target market’s needs and triggers should be at the heart of your packaging design strategy.
As packaging design experts we will be happy to discuss your brand’s packaging strategy and guide you from initial concept through to distribution.
Get in touch to find out how we can help.