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. It’s an important piece that can sometimes get off track.
Along with the portability we already know consumers are looking for in packaging, variety has really seen growth these past years. 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.
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.
The minimalist approach to package design continues to be significant, as it allows the integrity of products to shine through, while creating a clear brand personality. Clear and transparent packaging solutions are popular – particularly in the food industry. With fewer graphic elements that can distract customers from the central focus of the packaging, it can give products more impact on the shelves.
Sustainable packaging is THE hot thing right now, but sustainability means different things to different people. There’s no set industry definition and the term can refer to anything from recyclable packaging to sustainable sourcing to sustainable company initiatives.
With the prediction that by 2050 the oceans will contain more plastic waste than fish, it’s hardly surprising that concern is growing among consumers. More people are readily refusing to use plastic straws and single use bags in favor of reusable items. Therefore, it’s essential for retailers and manufacturers to keep up with public opinion, as the future of product packaging looks set to be plastic-free – or as close to this goal as possible.
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.