2018 Packaging Design Trends

September 7, 2018

We’ve moved beyond an age where a pretty design is enough to sell a product. Consumers are more informed and they are looking for a more full experience from brands. Because of this, brands need to be more innovative than ever when developing new packaging and finding the right balance of function and inspiration.

One core thing to always remember is to align brand strategy and packaging design. The promise of the brand and that experience needs to be portrayed to consumers in the packaging design and across all touch points. An important piece that can sometimes get off track.

Some of the biggest packaging design trends for 2018 include:

The Variety Show

Along with the portability we already know consumers are looking for in packaging, variety has really seen growth this past year. Combining different flavors of snacks together in one package to give variety and smaller portion sizes for consumers is a popular option. In most cases, there’s no new innovation on the actual snack, but rather the innovation is driven by the packaging and pairing these snacks together.

Small is the New Big

Portion control continues on this trend with consumers reaching for smaller packages to feel more in control of calories. The smaller size packages also give consumers a freedom to sample new flavors and products with minimal cost and commitment.

Keep it Simple

While front of the bag claims are still very important on packaging design, there is targeted focus now to keep them as simple and clean as possible. It’s a delicate balance of displaying the health claims customers want to know about without overpowering the design. The brand of the product will always need to be included on packaging, but it’s not the big focus it once was. For brands, simplifying and highlighting certain certifications that are most important on-package can bring clarity to consumers in a crowded retail environment.

Me, Me, Me

Snacking is a very personal experience since every individual has unique tastes, interests and dietary needs. The younger generations enjoy being trend makers and actively seek out individuality. They want to have a unique experience with snacks which they then want to broadcast to their social networks. Typically those experiences start with the design of the packaging that makes the initial statement. To make a deep impression, the packaging should be completely unique to what’s currently on shelves, but still aligned with what the brand represents across all touch points. Packaging that includes a unique element (new feel, sound, shape or function) can intrigue consumers and propel them to share and become valuable ambassadors.

So Much Cooler Online

Brands are starting to really consider their e-commerce channel when designing new packaging. Products look different online than they do on shelves and it’s a different buying experience for customers since they lose some of the sensory experiences online. When designing packaging for online, brands also get the chance to continue the design and brand experience with their shipping components. >>>> Forbes article about designing packaging for online

Keep it Fresh

Just as retailers are refreshing their stores to better match consumers’ needs, never underestimate the power of a brand refresh on the packaging side. Always think of innovative ways to get consumers excited about your product again without totally redesigning it from scratch. Consider new packaging formats like transparent materials, unique shapes or seasonal tie-ins.

Tags: 2018 packaging design trends, cpg packaging, Trends

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