Being constantly in conversation with our clients has brought us many insights and learnings in packaging design. Some of these are clear indicators of the market pulse – what people are looking for and how we can better align our solutions. The listed industry trends have been derived and based on these discussions.
Today, brands and designers need to find sustainable solutions as consumers are increasingly becoming conscious and making better choices for themselves and the planet. For packaging design, this translates into choosing more eco-friendly materials and production methods.
Plastic, in general, will be looked at as the last option, and the choice will be ‘better’ plastic (HDPE, LDPE, PP, PCR). Preference will be given to reusable and recyclable materials like metal, glass, and paper. Water-based inks and starch-based plastics can be considered. The packaging industry and printing vendors are not yet in a position to provide many such options to businesses looking for eco-friendly alternatives, but we’re hoping this will change soon.
Until recently, ‘packaging design’ was primarily found on the shelf, while consumers took their time to walk the aisles. But that has changed in a big way today with online shopping becoming the new normal. Products now have to reach consumers through multiple logistics channels, and yet delight on arrival! This means packaging designers are now going to find themselves designing more for exterior/ outer packaging, requiring good structural insight along with delightful and communicative graphic design, while still being sustainable. Materials like corrugated cardboard and paper (e.g. kraft paper, composite paper, recycled paper) will be common solutions in this category.
With the closing of international borders and restricted movement and availability of goods, the focus on ‘local’ has reached a new understanding. There is a sense of pride when our neighborhoods produce high-quality goods. Apart from a lower carbon footprint, we are learning to appreciate local processes, methods, flora, fauna, and resources. ‘Local’ is good for us, good for the community, and good for the environment. Generic has become boring. Packaging design is going to feature this positioning and sentiment increasingly through visuals, narratives, and nomenclature.
‘What is it? Where is it from? What is it good for? How is it made? Now products have to answer for themselves, and what better way than on the pack itself? Using limited space to communicate can often be challenging, but that too is easily managed with online linkage tools like QR codes. Tomorrow’s consumers will be even more inquisitive. Being transparent and truthful has become paramount for brands to serve their well-informed customers.
As brands will choose to project the benefits of their product while aligning to various consumer segments, direct imagery will no longer be the selling point. We will see typography and different illustration methods showcasing the brand and the product as one. This will also help differentiate in a time when there are so many nascent brands that have unique stories to tell. These narratives will be what drives the design and choice of visuals on the packaging.
Our aim is to make professional design accessible and affordable. Working closely with the founders and makers, we are committed to bringing out the best design solutions. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach and we constantly work to create a positive impact while being functional, aesthetic, progressive, and ethical.