As a key part of the marketing process, packaging designers must constantly step up their game — not only to get the design right, but also in order to educate and lead the industry towards more ethical practices.
Packaging design holds value so long as it is meaningful for people’s lives, be it through innovation or style. Thus, human needs and desires have to be kept in mind if the results are going to be noteworthy and meaningful.
With those things in mind, here are 9 of the biggest 2015 packaging trends we expect to see this year.
1. Going green
Our planet is a living organism that has to be taken care of as much as we take care of ourselves. Recent years have seen us leave an increasingly negative impact on it, which is why more and more companies and small scale businesses are trying to introduce eco-friendly solutions for sustainable packaging.
It’s sometimes hard to think about the ultimate fate of your package in the midst of creation — ending up in the trash bin. One way of avoiding this sad outcome is by making the package re-usable after it’s served its purpose.
Packaging: The Partners
A very good example of how this can be achieved is Stanley’s Honey clay jar that can be used as a plant pot after it has served its initial purpose.
Packaging concept: Steve Haslip
Another example of how a package can be designed for multiple purposes is the HangerPak – a simple yet very intelligent and practical use of material.
Other methods include using recycled papers, plastics and vegetable-based inks. Soy ink is becoming an alternative to petroleum and lead-based inks, since it is biodegradable, non-toxic and provides accurate colors.
Emphasizing and reminding people of the impact they have on the planet is the designer’s responsibility. Educating clients should be the goal of more and more people involved in the industry.
2. Recycling the past
Packaging: Helms Workshop
Museums, libraries, archives and galleries have always played an important role in supporting and driving knowledge further. Our cultural heritage lives and is perpetuated through these kinds of collections. Repurposing these records of humankind has become a growing packaging trend.
Packaging: Big Fish Design Limited Studio
Exploring and using resources from the public domain has major advantages. It can help educate the designer, cultivate their knowledge concerning the craft and at the same time give new life to older visual messages that sometimes are more genuine than new ones. It also allows designers to play around with collages and compositions, even if one has limited drawing skills.
The examples above illustrate how some intricate, nature-inspired, public domain images manage to communicate a clear and – at the same time – beautiful message about the product.
3. What you see is what you get
Packaging: Organic Makers
Shoppers continue to ask for more and more information about the products they purchase (ingredients, manufacturing process, etc.). Clear packaging and transparent labels are very good ways to help the shopper make an informed decision, allowing them to see and feel the quality of the product.
It also builds brand trust and avoids the commonly encountered discrepancies between what you see and what you get. It also reduces production costs since it doesn’t involve too many colors and material usage.
Organic Makers is a company based in Sweden that do just that with all their products.
4. Bold, distinctive personality
Everybody wants their product to stand out fromt he crowd and some designers make the most out of this opportunity by creating striking, sometimes unconventional and playful packaging designs.
Packaging concept: Michele Damato and Susie Degraff
Clean solid shapes (aka color blocking) help relate the message in a veritably eye-catching style, creating interaction between the design elements and products. It’s visually striking, high contrast, unique and grabs the attention of the shopper even if he or she isn’t necessarily shopping for that particular product.
Visually compelling colors and a bold approach regarding the products identity can lead to results that literally brighten up your day and bring the always desires edge to the product.
Packaging concept: Dean Harding
Unconventional and bizarre setups might not appeal to everyone, but are certain to get the shopper’s attention. Pinky swear!
5. Art prints and patterns
Packaging: Design Womb
Prints have always provided a source of inspiration for designers. The main advantage in using design elements is that one can create a unitary identity, even though the concepts might be at times abstract. Color swapping on the same print will make it easier for the flavors to differentiate.
Packaging: Design Womb
Packaging: French Toast
Patterns have been around since… well, forever. Fractal geometry proves that. Only recently have we begun to use patterns at their full potential and understand that they are present everywhere you look.
Using different patterns for a product line yields the same result as for prints. They are distinct, but belong to the same “family”. At the same time the package doesn’t seem to be pretentious. On the contrary, it looks simple, clean and accomplishes its objective — making the product recognizable regardless of flavor.
6. Old meets new
Packaging: Amy Joyce
People feel more comfortable with things they know and can relate to. It takes longer for a person to make a decision when confronted with a new concept, idea, etc. That is why we see more and more package designs that tend to be familiar and slightly older-looking than one might expect.
Packaging concept: Winston Scully
Natural organic lines, raw elements, print imperfections and meticulously designed elements all work together in order to give a sense of emotional connection and to suggest that a human — not a machine — is producing and packaging your food, beverage or any other product you might think of.
With a rise in the number of small family and community-owned businesses in sight, many of them selling hand-crafted products, a need for emphasizing the hand-crafted part is more visible and transcends straight into the package design.
7. Hand illustrated packaging
Storytelling is the oldest form of transmitting information orally. It is an art that has been partially lost. Nowadays, part of that art lives through design. It is important that we develop and keep this art alive as it may prove to be very valuable at one point in time.
Hand illustrated package designs are at the forefront, as far as storytelling in commercial design is concerned. Through loose and delicate sketches, simplified illustrations and clean, playful graphic styles, 2015 will see more and more of this package design style. This trend will hopefully brush off in other areas too, as it is very important to nurture the child inside each and every one of us in order to evolve.
8. Subtle luxury
Packaging: Robot Food
This category includes products that try to express value in a somewhat eccentric fashion. It is the essence of simplicity, and it manages to incorporate subtle textures and pure simple fonts, leading to a strong composition rhythm.
The example above makes excellent use of white space with an active element that is asymmetrical in nature, causing dynamic effects. When used properly, it can set a very elegant mood.
9. Ingenious packaging
Packaging: Eduardo del Fraile
Humans have always been inventive, especially when allowed to and especially when guided in that direction. Designers sometimes get the opportunity to set their mind and spirit free and break all the rules. The results are always constructive and, at times, truly groundbreaking.
These kinds of projects lead to innovative designs, like the one Eduardo del Fraile envisioned for a wine bottle commemorating Agapito Rico. In this case the concept becomes the core as the soil becomes the label.
Packaging concept: Alyssa Phillips
Resourcefulness comes to mind when we talk about ingenious packaging. The second example illustrates how a mundane, out-of-date object can become the focus of the design – and can help save some useful resources.
The original use of a cassette tape as a package for headphones is what you would least expect from a package designer. Yet, we should all be glad this happens.