Whether through a nostalgic look, stand-out colours or cleverly customised shapes, choosing the most effective packaging design means sparking an instant connection between consumers and brands. A recent report from Nielsen in Europe has analysed 9,900 product launches across the EU, finding that package design was a major factor behind the most successful products. Nearly 60 percent of product decisions were made at the shelf, and 56 percent of consumers said in-store discovery was one of their top information sources for new products, compared to 45 percent for TV ads.
That’s what catches shoppers’ eyes, what retailers want from their suppliers, and what you definitely need to look smart, valuable and appealing.
The right colour combinations, materials and typography are just the tips of the iceberg. Today, more than ever before, packaging must tell a story, your story, and how it tells it is as important and unique as the story itself.
If you are wondering what’s influencing the fmcg industry right now, here’s a look at the top nine packaging design trends for 2017.
1. MINIMALISM AT ITS BEST
Going back to basics by minimising all the elements is a recurring trend and works particularly well with premium dairy products, where the focus is on naturalness, pureness and authenticity. Sticking to a clean-cut design with ultra-minimal imagery and text can make a product shine using simplicity. The risk is dullness.
2. LET COLOURS EXPLODE
Bright, vibrant colours are grabbing the spotlight, taking the psychology of colour to uncharted territories and, sometimes, even making words redundant.
3. BESPOKE LETTERING
Experts see a massive comeback of hand-lettering. Warmer than digital design, custom lettering makes products stand out and infuses consumers with a nostalgic sense of familiarity.
4. PATTERNS, PATTERNS, PATTERNS
When correctly executed, pattern printing is a dynamic technique that can create a strong, memorable brand identity. There’s nothing wrong or lazy in using repetitive shapes, provided the pattern is bold or playful. Particularly suitable for bakery products and cosmetics.
5. BE FUNNY
Packaging design is increasingly incorporating narrative illustrations as well as a pinch of humour. Clever and quirky designs can trigger an emotional response, contributing to a cheerful brand identity. Customised package shapes, based on the usage or flavour, are also part of this trend. Make your buyers laugh or smile, and half of the work is done.
6. DON’T HIDE
Modern designers are playing with see-through windows and small sections through which shoppers can take a sneak-peek. Seen on confectionery, snack foods, biscuits and chips packaging, it vouches for the quality of your product. And there's no limit to creativity.
7. FEED THEIR NOSTALGIA
Ironically, retro and nostalgic packaging trends have been massively evolving over the years thanks to new technologies and materials. Vintage design is popular with both young and old shoppers, as it either brings back memories or satisfies the curiosity for an unlived past.
Feel free to use old-fashioned lettering and colours, but beware of the difference between 'vintage' and 'old'. You better balance the retro ornaments with a sharp and modern look.
8. GO GREEN
Today’s consumers care about the impact products have on the planet, so more and more brands are opting for eco-friendly, biodegradable and natural packaging. Check out the latest innovations in this space, like wood fibre, mushrooms or shrimp shells. Some companies have also introduced reusable containers that, instead of going to landfill, can be turned into decoration, education or entertainment items (i.e. playable pizza boxes).
9. A SENSORIAL DELIGHT
Eye-catching is a must, but you can raise the bar a little by adding texture on packaging and labelling to provide a multi-sensorial experience. This can be achieved through the use of textured paper or, for those prepared to go a step further, custom materials like wood, silk, jute or leather. A perfect fit for premium products like limited-edition chocolate boxes.