What’s the Future of Packaging in 2016 and Beyond?

What’s the Future of Packaging in 2016 and Beyond?

The struggle to place products that stand out on the shelf, effectively deliver a brand’s story and engage customer loyalty, has never been more intense. Packaging design standards are constantly evolving to match quickly adapting consumer demands and technologies, where brands face increased competition to differentiate themselves and offer a valuable customer experience. In this climate, now is the time to get ahead and embrace the future of packaging for 2016 and beyond:

Personalise with intelligent solutions

Personalised packaging is no new feat – there has already been an increasing shift by major brands towards customised product packaging that better speaks to more connected consumers. Short-run label printing is a method that will continue to allow businesses to develop versatile, flexible and custom packaging suitable for seasonal promotions, specific locations or different customer demographics. However, with the increasing importance of the online retailer and The Internet of Things, packaging too needs to take advantage of new digital technologies to enhance its functionality, design and overall personalised appeal.

This is where intelligent packaging comes into play. In 2016 and beyond, brands should look to use technology that bridges online and offline marketing channels for a fully integrated brand identity, or technology that adds value to the product itself. An instance of this is where packaging could use technology to sync products with digital apps, such as health tools for food or fitness related products, for a more tailored and personal experience with the product and brand.

An increasingly powerful consumer

The focus on being user-friendly and catering to customer needs as opposed to hard selling products is massively changing the way packaging is designed and used. Plus, with social media making it ever simpler for customers to advocate brands and have their say, packaging will need to be clearer to help engage informed and convenience seeking consumers in a positive way. In 2016, packaging will further evolve towards simplistic and transparent communications, with quick and easy to understand options. As such, there is a strong need for labels to be clear about product ingredients and how they have been sourced, especially in areas where packaging emphasises organic, natural or sustainably sourced components.

Innovative design trends

As the role of shelf ready packaging will grow, it’s clear that packaging designs will be increasingly important from both a marketing and sales perspective. Trends in packaging design look to captivate target markets and create an authentic, stand out and extraordinary edge against the competition:

  • Geometric patterns and the abstract: already a popular aspect of design for packaging solutions in the craft beer industry, imaginative geometric graphics catch the eye and draw attention to the product in a unique way. Unusual, individualised packaging design elements will also take the form of the abstract, reflecting brand messaging through art that stays consistent across each product design.
  • A touch of the authentic: there has been an explosion of interest in handmade, bespoke items as consumers now value high quality, authenticity and heritage as opposed to the mass-produced. Hand drawn logos and labelling will be all the range for the year ahead, in a bid to make brands more approachable and accessible. Think vintage and hand-crafted – a comeback of 90’s brands this year has really influenced the popularity of mock historic designs. Drawing back to your brand’s roots with creative packaging design will create more of an emotional connection with customers.

A sustainable future

Consumers are constantly becoming more sustainably aware, and the importance of being environmentally friendly, along with more enforced regulations, means that brands will have to reflect this shift in attitude through packaging materials, production and logistics. Now more than ever we are seeing the need to prioritise reducing costs and increasing revenues in a sustainable way.

As well as meeting environmental demands, packaging of the future needs to focus on improved functionality to meet customer and industry requirements. Brands should look at improving how the box is used or look beyond the box completely, developing packaging with clever material choices and design solutions that can reduce the total material spend. Multi-purpose packaging is an example of this, as a trend that allows packaging to be of use after the product journey and can be tailored to customer needs.

Packaging providers will need to offer brands a better understanding of materials and master creative problem solving across the whole packaging chain. At The Packaging Experts we apply forward-thinking and bespoke creative design solutions that enable brands to stand out from the crowd. In 2016, our aim will continue to allow us to provide high quality product and brand packaging, enhancing functionality, with designs that give target customers additional value. For more information or to request a quote for your upcoming packaging projects, please contact the team on 01256 352415 or email info@thepackagingexperts.co.uk.

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