Alan Davies of Essentra talks about the importance of adding a touch of luxury to modern packaging
Brands rely on packaging to showcase their story in a creative, visually appealing way. Alan Davies, global design manager at Essentra, examines the new trends in this field and the increasing need for packaging that is responsible, distinctive and stimulates the senses.
As consumers become more demanding and shift their purchasing to brands that align with their values and specific needs, the role that packaging plays in expressing a brand’s narrative is becoming increasingly important and varied. This is particularly true in the luxury market, where brands must create an emotional connection to the consumer – encouraging consumers to embody the brand’s image and meaning, becoming an ambassador of what they believe in. Secondary packaging is often the first physical interaction a consumer has with a product, and the impression it gives matters immensely in building this lasting connection.
Packaging links the brand promise to the product it contains, articulating the value proposition that the brand aims to deliver to the consumer. To do this successfully, brand owners should use packaging that stimulates the senses, creating a holistic, personal and enhanced experience.
Through the use of colour, design and pattern, packaging can help to attract consumers and differentiate the brand’s product from its competitors. In addition to reflecting the brand’s image and convey the message that the brand wants to communicate, it must be aesthetically pleasing to persuade the consumer to buy. If a company is new to market and does not already have a strong recognisable look or wants to rebrand, they should look into distinctive creative tools and current trends, identifying what designs can appeal to their target audience.
As a global supplier of packaging, Essentra has the capability to apply numerous tools to packaging to allow for creative expression and engagement. These include embossing and debossing, varnishes, foiling, window patching and structure. With its Design Hub, Essentra can also provide an end-to-end packaging service, bringing together both manufacturing and creative packaging design.
Essentra works with trend forecasting company WGSN to constantly view and monitor for design trends. In spring and summer 2018, the biggest trends are predicted to be earthy and natural tones – such as wood or marble designs – or more futuristic and modern looking tones, such as digitally-derived images and high gloss.
Textures and touch
Another key trend that has been identified is the idea of tactile and tangible elements, adding another dimension to design. Textures and surfaces should be explored, allowing consumers to literally “feel” the brand, appealing to their sense of touch. While the packaging needs to look like the brand, it must also feel like it too. For instance, if the brand is high end, the packaging should feel luxurious and high quality to reflect this positioning. This can be done with varnishes and surface textures – for example a moisturising cream’s packaging can include a liquid-feeling texture, creating a sensation that indicates hydration. Alternatively if something is bespoke, the packaging could have small textural elements similar to idents to show that the product is hand crafted.
However, touch doesn’t just relate to how the packaging feels – it also affects how a consumer interacts with it. Brands must consider every aspect of the customers’ interactions with the product, from the start to the end of their consumer journey. Packaging must be easy to open and close, and provide the user with the opportunity to re-use or re-purpose it after its initial opening.
This idea of designing packaging to encourage users to re-use or re-purpose is becoming increasingly popular as awareness of issues such as global warming, waste and our population’s “throwaway” culture grow. Designers now often create packaging that can sustain, both from a physical and emotional perspective. Again, this is mainly prevalent in the luxury market, especially within the beauty and perfumery space, as many consumers like to keep and display bottles in their homes even after the products are finished. Constructing packaging that is particularly beautiful and on brand, using all the tools stated previously – aesthetics, touch and structure – may mean that consumers are more reluctant to throw the packaging away.
As markets become increasingly hypercompetitive, secondary packaging is becoming more vital than ever. Brands must be able to convey their individual messaging, particularly as consumers are more perceptive and are continuously seeking authenticity. Through creative packaging that engages more than one sense, brands can enhance the customer experience and communicate their story at a first glance. Packaging should invite consumers to interact with it in multiple ways, allowing them perceive it as more than just a means of delivering a product that should be thrown away after opening. It should be seen as a value-adding element and a key part of the brand’s product offering.