Great package design is crucial for a successful consumer brand. Whilst packaging is only one element of a comprehensive brand strategy, it is among the most important—in fact for many retail customers, your packaging is the first impression they have of your brand and it’s personality. The job of your pack design is to stand out and create an emotional connection with customers, building brand coherence and loyalty.
Packaging can be timeless and iconic, but even the most successful brands need to ensure that their packaging designs remain relevant to their target audiences. This means having an awareness of the latest trends in both branding and product packaging, so you can meet the evolving preferences and expectations of your customers.
Top 10 Brand Packaging Design Trends for 2015
1. The Evolution Towards Simplicity
In recent years, there’s been a general trend towards a more minimalist approach in many areas. Websites are moving towards cleaner, more open designs, technology is becoming easier and more user-friendly and packaging design has also moved towards simpler, clearer brand communications. This trend will continue strongly into 2015, as customers who are overwhelmed by information overload look for more simplistic, easily and quickly understood options.
Simple, minimalist design stands out on retail shelves. For example, the UK-based Ashridge Drinks recently redesigned their product labels to embrace a simple, colourful look with a fun font and abstract fruit shapes to instantly signify flavour choices.
Image via www.ashridgecider.co.uk
The trend for simplicity in packaging involves not only visual design, but also labelling and package functionality. Convenience is a powerful draw for brand loyalty.
2. Paper as Primary Packaging Materials
In keeping with the trend of simplicity, a number of brands are turning to a type of packaging that is simple, sustainable, and versatile. Paper packaging, specifically using various thicknesses of Kraft paper, is a rising trend in pack design.
Traditionally used for years to package postage items, Kraft paper is highly elastic and tear resistant. It can also be recycled widely, making it both convenient and eco-friendly. Using paper in packaging adds to the simplicity and authentic feel of a design, while conveying a brand’s commitment to the environment.
The California based Paperboy Wine Company has incorporated paper packaging in an innovative new way, with wine bottles made out of recycled paper that contain a plastic liner. Expect to see more versatile paper packaging trends like this in 2015.
Image via www.paperboywines.com
3. Hyper-functional Packaging
The basic requirements for packaging are that it contains, protects and transports products from the store to customers’ homes. However recent trends sees package design that goes beyond just the basics mentioned by delivering added value and functionality once customers bring the products home. This is called hyper-functional or multi-purpose packaging, and it’s a trend more brands will turn to in 2015.
Wine brand Aquilegia provides a stunning example of hyper-functional packaging with a wooden display box that transforms into a reusable wine stand.
4. Bespoke Technology
Combining basic technology with product packaging is nothing new, many brands have used things like QR codes or printed campaign hashtags to offer enhanced value to customers. However as technology continues to advance in 2015 we can expect to see more elaborate, customised packaging tech that bridge offline and online brand marketing, or delivers value to the product itself.
“Intelligent” packaging is one example of this. For example, food packaging may use technology that opens the pack at the optimal temperature, changes colour when the sell-by date is reached, or automatically syncs with digital health tools.
Bespoke technology can also extend to value-added digital content. FMCG brand Nabisco did this in 2013 by offering unique video content from pop stars One Direction that could be accessed from packages of Oreo, Ritz Bits, Cheese Nips, and Chips Ahoy.
5. Hand Drawn Logos & Labelling
Authenticity and the human touch is one of the most powerful forces in branding. As social media allows brands to be more accessible and approachable, delivering this type of emotional connection can be extended from digital media to offline components of your brand through great packaging design. The trend toward a more hand-drawn feel for pack labels and brand logos reflects this.
Many brands are achieving the hand-created look through unique designs and handwritten fonts that extend across all brand collateral and touch points, including labelling. As an accent to this trend, package design is trending away from glossy and 3D looks that previously defined high-end brands to matte and solid flat colour splashes which are becoming representative of the new premium look.
Image via www. morrisons.com
UK supermarket brand Morrisons’ brings an example of the power of handwritten, hand-drawn labelling with their whimsical tea bag package design, which delivers a more personable yet premium feel to this private label brand.
Image via www. morrisons.com
6. Designing for Range Differentiation
For brands with multiple product lines, differentiating between them may be as simple as a few lines of text—but recent trends have more brands moving toward at-a-glance differentiation that does more than, for example, place the words “sugar free” somewhere on the packaging.
Coding various products in a brand’s line by things like bold strong colour or clean imagery—while remaining within the overall brand look—helps to deliver a convenient customer experience, strong shelf standout, and encourages brand loyalty. Indian brand Flossy’s Flavoured Candy Floss provides an example of this type of instant differentiation.
7. Innovative Perceptions
The perceived value of a brand can be just as powerful as the actual value—and packaging can help you elevate perceived value. Innovative pack design is one way for brands to stand out, and in 2015 expect more brands to come up with unique twists on packaging conventions.
Packaging trends in the craft beer industry illustrate this type of innovation. In order to counter the perceived negative experience of drinking from a can, U.S. brewer Sly Fox created a can with a top that opens fully to deliver the feel of drinking from a glass. Samuel Adams, another popular craft beer brewer, recently introduced “raised lip” beer cans that enhance the experience and diminish the negative beer can perceptions.
Image via www.slyfoxbeer.com
8. “Clean” Labels Made “Clear”
As a response to growing customer concerns for transparency and environmental awareness from brands, the “clean label” movement has been gaining increased popularity. Clean labelling serves to emphasise a brand’s use of wholesome, organic ingredients, a lack of artificial ingredients and common allergens, and the absence of harsh or damaging processing that results in a more natural product. The processing aspect also refers to environmentally responsible sourcing, such as following the Fair Trade Agreement.
Image via www.methodhome.com
However, the eco-friendly market lacks true definitions of what constitutes terms such as organic, natural, and minimally processed. This has led to a push from customers for greater clarity—especially among Millennials, who have embraced environmental responsibility and actively seek brands that are making a real difference. Thus, “clear” product labelling is a top trend in packaging—which includes labels that display certified, third-party assurances about the use of responsibly managed resources, natural ingredients, and the organic qualities of the product.
9. Personalised Labelling
As technology advances and the costs of sophisticated technologies become more affordable, more brands are able to take advantage of packaging design methods that deliver greater versatility and flexibility—such as variable and short-run digital printing. With this technology more accessible, in 2015 expect to see a trend towards more personalised labels and packaging.
Label personalisation includes strategies such as creating separate designs for flavour differentiation, regionalizing your labelling, or releasing limited or special-edition packaging to enhance the perceived value of your products. The ability to remain flexible in pack design can help you build your brand more effectively by precisely targeting various segments of your audience.
10. Packaging as the Focal Point
In 2015, expect to see more brands turning to exceptional packaging as the start of customer conversation. Truly standout packaging that goes against conventions and WOWS shoppers is becoming much more popular, not to mention a commercial impetus—not just among brands, but also among the people who consume them, as evidenced by the “unboxing” trend.
The volume of “unboxing videos” has boomed in recent years with enthusiastic consumers videoing footage of themselves unwrapping and opening the packaging of their new purchases. Since 2010, the number of YouTube clips with “unboxing” in the headline has increased 871%. Last year alone, 2,370 days, or 6.5 years, worth of unboxing footage was uploaded to the site. (Source CNN)
In fact “unboxing videos” has become a lucrative little corner of the internet for people who film them. Originally the output of enthusiastic consumers capturing the moment of opening the packaging of their latest new purchase, these home made videos of “unwrapping packaging” have become such a massive trend its prompted brand owners to upload their own “unboxing” videos birthed from their high-end packaging.
In fact if you can buy it, there’s probably an unboxing video of it so make sure your brand packaging is worthy of an “unboxing video”. And in case you doubt me this “unboxing video” showing toys inside Disney themed Kinder Eggs has attracted more than 40 million views!
Exciting, innovative, and disruptive packaging can get people talking about your brand on the strength of the pack design alone. When you deliver with a top quality product that exceeds expectations, customers will want to continue using it and referring your brand, and then you’ll have a recipe for incredible brand success.
So, what do you think?
• Could your packing design benefit from a more simplistic or handmade feel if this is appropriate to your brand’s personality?
• How are your various product lines and other supporting brand collateral differentiated through your package design?
• Are you using any sustainable elements for your packaging? How are they emphasised in your product labelling?
• Can you innovate or personalise your packaging designs?
• What do you see as trending in the packaging design arena and have your incorporated this into your brand strategy?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!