Packaging design What to watch for in 2019

The modern world is so fast-paced and hectic that very often there so little time for things like browsing around the shops. You rush in get what you always get and rush out. Unless something unusual, different or striking grabs your attention. Then you simply have to take a second look.

What is it about the product which has attracted your attention. The first thing to consider is that it is most likely the packaging which has stopped you in your tracks. Something has stood out sufficiently for you to do a double-take. This is the strength of good packaging design at work – to make consumers ake a second look.

So, what are the things that we can expect to see this year which will have us stopping in our tracks to get a second glance?

The first and most noticeable development is that minimalism is being adopted to an even greater extent. Feeding off the fact that consumers are extremely pressed for time, designers are being driven to limit the volume of information being presented on the packaging. The minimalist packaging in 2019 will make use of clean and simple designs which allow colour and typography stand out and tell the story. This result in impactful packaging which allows the product to be at the forefront. This is an extension of the KISS approach which has been commonplace for a long time in the design world. For those who don’t know, KISS stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid.

As one would expect, colour is an important design element. This could be the complete lack of colour such as in black-and-white packaging which stands out from the crowd or, it could be the use of softer colours which appear as a calming influence in the world of bright, gaudy and bling-filled design. One example of this is the use of ‘nude’ and natural colours. These soft colours set the tone and are off set by pastel colours which give just the right level of contrast.

Typography is another factor which will be of prime importance. This is again due to the fact that consumers do not have time to spend reading information on packaging. Clear, clean, sharp and bold fonts will be important to convey important information quickly and concisely. The need will be for fewer words with more meaning.

There is one type of packaging design which is showing a strong resurgence – retro. This particular design is being used extensively for food and beverages and is popular for a number of reasons. It speaks to authenticity and a time of quality products. In the modern world of instant everything, it speaks to an attitude of caring and attention to detail. It also conveys a message of quality. These effects are created through the use of carefully selected colours, such as sepia, and through vintage-looking fonts including the use of serif faces. Sans serif fonts have dominated design for quite some time but serif faces have a more vintage look and appeal. Vintage is also in stark contrast to the over-abundance of everything new. Carefully used, vintage packaging can create a timelessness.

Another variation on retro is the re-introduction of 8-bit packaging design. This is where the pixels in an element are clearly visible. Reminiscent of classic game console graphics it strikes a particular cord with the collective consciousness while at the same time appearing old-fashioned in a world which expects super high quality graphics and images.

Unusual or atypical packaging design can act as a simple but effective means of attracting consumers to a product. The standard square box has little appeal, however, a multi-sided or multi-faceted box for the same product will stand out and attract attention. Other examples include the use of moire patterning or other forms of interference patterning which attracts attention or can even be used to make the image on the packaging appear to move. This works on a number of levels. Firstly, it is unusual. Secondly, the consumer is impressed at the ingenuity of the item. Thirdly, through its uniqueness, the consumer is drawn to engage with the packaging. Due to the novelty of this type of packaging design, you can expect to see a lot more of it in 2019.

There is one trend which is almost being forced on packaging designers by the very consumers they are attempting to attract. The drive to reduce the impact of plastic on the environment – especially the marine environment – is pushing more consumers to demand the replacement of plastic with more ecologically friendly packaging solutions. As a result, any and all forms of improving sustainability are drawing a lot of attention and support.

Consumers are driving the demand for recyclability and as a result the pressure is on companies to reduce their carbon footprint. Plastic has achieved an all-time bad reputation for its impact on the environment which has resulted in the development of bio-plastics as an alternative. What remains to be seen is whether consumers will accept bio-plastic or whether it will be lumped together with all plastic. Packaging design can also assist companies to reduce their carbon footprint by looking at the materials which will be used to create the packaging. Reducing the weight of the packaging, for example, can not only save money in production costs but can also aid in transportation costs. As a result it can make a real difference in terms of profitability.

There is one thing which must be taken into when designing packaging – the specific consumer. This may be too narrow, but what it suggests is that packaging is designed for people and, as such, you have to know which people will be using the product before you start designing the packaging. It is all well and good to design a spectacular item of packaging with all the bells and whistles, but if those elements go over the heads of the intended users of the product, then you can guarantee that the product will not sell.

Use your creativity to design the very best possible packaging but temper that with a measure of logic about the materials to be used, the market it is aimed at and the limitations of the technology which will be used to create it. Other than that, the sky is the limit.