Package design is an area of creative marketing that can be deceptively influential. The concept behind a brand is arguably at its most powerful when communicated nonverbally. Feeling something towards a product through its package design can be almost instantaneous, which is why professionals in such roles are always in demand. However, package design is about more than brand recognition; it’s about blending function and style.
Today we look at a selection of the best package designs from 2017 and discuss what we can expect to see on the shelves this year.
The Best in Class – 2017
Before we expose our picks for 2017, let’s discuss the challenges that designers faced in 2017. A new eco-aware attitude from consumers has been slowly affecting the way designers approach the task of creating packing. Incentives like the government’s plastic bags charge have helped raise awareness; however, as well as more attention being placed on package waste, food waste is also in the consumer spotlight. A report by global market research and market insight agency Mintel said that among designers there’s an increasing “focus on package innovations that extend food freshness, preserve ingredient fortification, and ensure safe delivery is increasingly benefiting consumers on a global scale.”
So, what’s the best way to tackle our first problem – package waste? Spanish company Laser Food worked with brands like M&S in 2017 to remove the need for packaging while maintaining a design on the product. The company uses lasers to print on the skin of fruits and vegetables. The resulting product eliminates the paper, glue and ink needed to create product stickers; likewise, fruits and vegetables that previously required plastic and cardboard packaging are now more eco-friendly than ever.
What about our second concern – food waste? If like us, you’ve opened something, thrown it in the back of the fridge and forgotten all about it until you’ve run out of alternatives, then smart labelling will help you avoid unnecessarily throwing away good food (or ingesting something that’s seen better days). Scottish company Insignia, part of a tech project developed by the University of Strathclyde, produced a colour changing smart label that advises consumers of the quality of the product within the packaging. Consumers simply have to follow the colour coded guide to establish if the product is safe for consumption. Currently, the smart label has been rolled out in Sainsbury’s stores across the UK for their cooked ham products. Business incubator Biocity reported that the new label “could help shoppers save £150 million by reducing the 1.9 million slices of ham thrown out by Brits every day.”
What’s in Store for 2018?
With consumers increasingly flocking to purchase from vendors like Amazon, companies are having to approach package branding from a new perspective. The product and its packaging have become secondary to Amazon’s ubiquitous brown cardboard; likewise, the transit of the product provides new challenges to make sure products arrive intact. Additionally, consumers will have already spent time interacting with the brand online while purchasing; this results in there being less need for packaging to convince customers of the value or purpose of the product or brand. As the Mintel report states: “On-pack communication that eliminates excess information and design elements to help consumers focus on key product qualities or package functionality can lead to greater customer engagement.” Can we expect minimalist branding and eco-friendly package design in 2018? And will brands ask Amazon to stop packaging their products in the cardboard sleeves?
What do you think the defining trend of packaging in 2018 will be? Comment below!
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