Though originally it was created for the purpose of storage and preservation, packaging today is more than just a means to carry, conserve and transport your product. Packaging efforts were initially created to keep food preserved for longer when soldiers were shipped off to war. Since then we’ve made strong headway coming through the ages of cardboard cartons, aluminium foil, cellophane and many more (like plastic — the real MVP and game changer).
Packaging today is vastly commercialised. It is now focused on marrying the idea of functionality and design. With epic globalisation came the idea that the product packaging is your brand’s first interaction with the audience. Which is why the colours, the material used, the lettering and overall contemporary aesthetic take major precedence to help a brand create a statement, tell a story and make a lasting impact in the minds of people to boost sales.
Since you know we’re all about that visual representation, let’s go through a quick scroll of a few of our favourite contemporary packaging design styles.
Increasingly, more brands are moving towards a minimalist approach to highlight only the key elements of their product and to keep their messaging direct and to the point. Minimalist design and packaging are created to drive one single visual and very specific messaging for the audience to retain, be it via a transparent bottle or clear label to depict nothing but the honest product that they’re proudest of. Take Supha Bee Farm Co.’s Honey packaging for example — the packaging tries to weave a visual of the Honey jar like a bee within a honeycomb. The rich and pure honey is highlighted through the clear bottle and black bottle cap symbolises a bee head.
(Design by Supha Bee Farm Co. Ltd by Prompt Design)
For the Indian context - check out RAW Pressery.
Bold Baby, Bold
If the first category doesn't find your fancy, perhaps bold designs are up your alley. Bright colours, solid patterns and prints can liven up the brand and display intricate detailing to suit your brand’s vibe. Heavy illustration and bright popping colours can bring out your brand’s personality of looking alive, young and uber cool.
In the packaging for Rio Ice Creams by Berik Yergaliyev, the fruit flavours and the vibe are both presented to the audience within the shape of the ice cream on the packaging that bring out the playful nature of the brand and the tropical vibe it tries to exude.
(The Brand Nursery’s design for Walker & Drake Cold Pressed Dog Food)
For the Indian Context, check out Dope Coffee.
Gucci but keep it gucci.
Everyone loves themselves pretty things from time to time and channeling their inner bougie-ness while still keeping it fresh and real. Luxe packaging is all about the ability to make the brand seem luxuriant and rich and provide people with a spectacle. Brands often adopt intricate detailing to their work with tailored accents, elegant use of holographics, fine texturing and more to exude a classy, expensive look. This form of packaging adopts heavy artwork that typically looks like it’s straight out MoMA or the Smithsonian.
Take a look at the packaging for Diageo’s Scotch Whiskey designed by GPA Luxury that uses gold foil embellishments on a navy blue background and encases the bottle in a white faux suede casing. (Talk about fancy!)
Now, while all these make for a great lookbook and we can spend all day talking about what we love about these brands, 2020 has brought in a significant amount of time for brands to introspect and rebrand themselves and really listen to the needs of the consumer. While brands are forced to reinvent their products and their narratives, smart marketers will also ensure to integrate the hygienic, sterile and safe aspect of their brand via their packaging as well. People shouldn’t have to compromise between functionality and hygiene.
We’ve compiled a few trends that are steadily creating waves deeming to be the future of packaging:
While this would have otherwise seen a bright future without a world of COVID (as would everyones if we’re being honest), edible packaging has been around for a while, though playing a dormant role. In a pre COVID world where tests and case studies were conducted, edible packaging showed great promise in creating ways of reducing the world’s carbon footprint with the creation of rice flour and sorghum based vegan spoons, seaweed based waterproof film and more. We’re hopeful to see how this makes a comeback in the new normal.
Consumers are tired of using single use plastic that contaminates the environment. With rampant news of wildlife extinction and environmental degradation and the snow caps melting, consumers are trying to take action by changing their behaviours consciously. They are working towards creating flexible packaging that involves reusing resources to extend the product shelf life.
As a brand you have the power to take this to the next step and dispel myths by proving that eco-friendly methods doesnt mean skimping on resources, but instead finding better alternatives that cut down on cumulative waste generated while maintaining hygiene sterility checks. While it calls for a synergy between the design and the marketing team, brands like Earth Rhythm encourage environmentally healthy buying patterns like allowing customers to buy soap bars with the option of a soap tin. On their next purchase, customers can choose not to opt for a tin and just the bar.
Also rising in popularity, the idea of AR enabled packaging. This allows businesses to not only tick off the eco friendly angle that many brands struggle to deal with but also helps establish and solidify a stronger brand engagement as you provide your consumer with the idea of the brand being transparent about its processes, ingredients etc.
Says David Mather, senior marketing manager at Zappar, the AR platform and creative studio “Connected packaging and AR are being used for immersive storytelling both to surprise and delight users, but to also, crucially, inform and instruct when it comes to imparting information about a brand’s purpose, provenance and sustainability.”