What does 2018 have in store for the package design industry? As in 2017, this year’s trends revolve around finding new ways to use product packaging to connect and engage with consumers while meeting their ever-evolving demands.
The rapidly growing e-commerce sector is driving many of the packaging trends we’re seeing so far. According to a report by the market intelligence agency Mintel, e-commerce sales are forecast to reach $4 trillion globally by 2020, making product packaging that much more important as a way to bridge the gap between brand and consumer. “As more and more consumers embrace online shopping, packaging will play a pivotal role in brands’ and consumers’ e-commerce experiences,” Mintel’s report states.
So, this year, make sure your product packaging is giving consumers the best possible experience.
Here are some of the package design trends predicted to be hot in 2018:
Minimalism will continue to dominate package designs this year, as it did in 2017. The idea behind minimalist design is that “the message explains itself, often with few-to-no words,” writes Martis Lupus in a post for 99designs. “If you can pull it off, using less language will keep you in sync with our fast-paced society—people will barely have to slow down to grasp what your product is all about.”
Keeping with the minimalist trend, many brands are designing packaging that uses big words in place of, or alongside, other graphical elements. Use bold, easy-to-read sans serif fonts to achieve this look. “Combined with a wise choice of colors, your product will surely make a splash,” Lupus writes.
Consumers’ fascination with all things vintage will continue this year. There’s something undeniably appealing about packaging that harks back to a bygone era. It suggests a respect for tradition, quality, and craftsmanship that many brands lack in today’s fast-paced, factory-produced world.
While bright, bold colors were all the rage last year, 2018 is all about pastels. These calming, almost spa-like shades are “a natural reaction to the hyper-stimulating and explosive colors we’ve been experiencing,” Lupus writes. “They speak to our softer side. . . . Instead of being rushed and dazzled in order to look, touch, smell or taste and eventually buy, we’re being gently eased into it.”
Don’t throw away those doodles you drew in the margins of your notebook—they could be a great idea for your brand’s next package design. “When seen on packaging, doodles can turn a product into a fun universe that was born from someone’s imagination and shared with the world,” Lupus writes. “They also have a wonderful way of describing what’s inside the box.”
Many brands are striving to maintain a balance between complete transparency and oversharing on product packaging. While consumers want to be informed about product ingredients and origins, they don’t want to be overloaded with information. Sharing too many details on packaging makes consumers question a product’s authenticity. According to Mintel, “39% of French consumers feel that excessive information on food and drink packaging can make it hard to trust a brand.” On the flip side, brands that pare back too much often find themselves so far outside consumers’ comfort zones that they aren’t selected. “The ‘essentialist’ design principle bridges the divide between not enough and just enough of what is essential for consumers to make an enlightened and confident purchasing decision,” Mintel’s report states.
Decreasing the overall environmental impact of product packaging will continue to gain importance this year, as it has in previous years. “More and more brands are opting for packaging and packing material with a much smaller ecological footprint,” writes Pamela Webber in an article for Packaging Digest. “The cheapest and most accessible materials, like plastics, are being replaced by biodegradable materials, like paper, hemp, starch and cellulose, and more easily upcycled materials like bamboo and glass.” Many brands also will turn to experts, like our structure engineers here at PSI, to design packaging that uses minimal tapes and fillers as well as eco-friendly materials.
Design trends come and go, but truly great packaging never goes out of style. If you need help creating effective packaging for your products, contact us today.