5 Packaging Trends to Watch in 2019
Based on interviews with three packaging experts, these five key packaging design trends stood out regarding the impact they could have on the industry in 2019.
A New Sustainability Focus
The environmental impact of packaging has been a major topic of conversation for decades, but has so often solely centered on recyclability. In 2019, keep an eye on how sustainability is framed, and the ways converters, brands and retailers can extend the conversation. According to David Luttenberger of Mintel, much of the backlash against packaging — particularly plastic packaging — in 2018, was misleading. “So many of the claims were so outlandish,” he says. “They didn’t do anything to educate the consumer, but they did a lot to scare and misinform the consumer. I believe in 2019, we’re going to begin to see brands use on-pack communication to talk more simply and more succinctly to consumers about what is compostable and what is the definition of plastic free?” He adds that Mintel is suggesting brands take a “plastic responsible” approach to packaging by using plastic in an environmentally responsible manner, and educating consumers about proper plastic reuse and disposal.
Print technology has become so advanced that photographs of consumer products can be pristinely replicated on packaging. But, according to multiple experts, consumers can expect to see an increasing number of product and ingredient illustrations on packaging this year. Taylor Getler of Works Design Group explains that the use of illustrations gives brands freedom to utilize graphics to speak to specific consumer lifestyles. Luttenberger meanwhile, explains that illustrations can give off the appearance of a natural, wholesome product.
Smarter Packaging for a Better Experience
Smart or interactive packaging has been emerging for years, but experts predict that this year it is poised to become more contextually relevant to the consumer experience. Rather than novelties or gimmicks, smart packaging will serve as a resource for consumers to learn more about the product and its brand, and how it fits into their individual lives.
Rethinking Women’s Product Packaging
According to Getler, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of how brands are marketing products to them. In women’s product categories in particular, Getler says to expect a shift away from overtly pink packaging designs that do little to speak to the consumer as an individual. Instead, she explains women’s product brands are transitioning away from stereotypical hot pink to more elegant designs. One brand she says is leading the way in this category is Flamingo, a provider of razors and related products.
Cannabis Goes Mainstream
As cannabis and cannabis-related products continue to achieve a varying degree of legality, brands in this space will need packaging that not only attracts consumers, but provides the necessary degree of security cannabis products require. Getler explains that brands are steering away from the stereotypical stoner imagery associated with cannabis and into more refined designs. Just like in other product segments, she says a variety of consumers legally use cannabis, and its packaging should be multidimensional.
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