Packaging design trends provide us with direct insight into what consumers feel, what problems they need to solve and what is coming next. Today, it’s all about connection, understanding and engagement. Designers are tasked with uncovering, realizing and articulating what is important to a consumer and to direct that experience. Through story, shape and structure, designers and brands can deliver the experience to make invaluable connections that last a lifetime.

Brand Basic

Gone are the days of generic or in house brands being a bad thing. House labels from brands like Amazon, Whole Foods, Target and Trader Joes – even luxury brands are emerging to focus on simplicity and clarity. A departure from the often headache inducing ‘world of choice’ that permeates store shelves, basic brands are the ‘unchoice’ making purchasing a straightforward affair.

Heritage

Nothing quite strikes a chord with consumers than a brand who has been around the block a time or two. History has always been one of the most solid ways for a brand to endear themselves to the marketplace – the difference today is that brands are not simply nodding to their past but embracing it by using ‘heritage’ designs and even methods of production used years ago, but updating and modernizing with material and content for today’s taste.

Windows

Allowing consumers to get a better feel for the product without damaging the packaging before purchase, windows enable a way to view and even smell or touch the product itself. Windows have become increasingly popular in relation to boxed cartons acting like books to create an experience and connection prior to purchase. Dielines and kitting can be in depth during production depending on the complexity of the design, but the result is heightened brand-consumer engagement.

Standard Sustainability

Boasting versatility and cost effectivity, paperboard packaging accounts for the vast majority of structural retail packages, labels and tags. Because this is one of the most visible renewable resources, using post-consumer recycled materials as well as glues and inks that can be recycled has become a standard practice expected among consumers. Without these features, many brands are seen as unaware, effectively losing out on sales. Often printers will use post-consumer or recycled stock as their in-house material – so it’s important to ensure that the certification is indicated on the packaging.

Texture

Whether letterpress, embossing, wax sealing or using unique materials – a textured surface creates a sensory experience the consumer won’t soon forget. Books and food products lead the charge in this trend and market patterns show steady growth in both areas.

Regardless of digital sway, packaging design continues to be one of the most important factors in consumer engagement with a brand. As tastes change, designers and brands must stay on top of engagement by watching user patterns as well as the emerging environment on the whole.