Five Packaging Trends for 2016

    Whether through customizable formats or artisan appeal, proper packaging can enhance the customer experience.

    Product packaging can take on a variety of innovative forms designed to resonate with different types of consumers. Today’s trends still rely on the basic function of product delivery, but they have also evolved with the ever-changing buying experience. Whether it makes the merchandise seem personal, handmade, or sustainable, these design features wholeheartedly resonate with consumers who are looking for greater brand engagement through product packaging.

    When setting out to create or recreate your own brand packaging materials, the most critical detail is consistency. Every piece should relate to the group, and each should communicate the story of your brand values.

    The following top packaging trends can be implemented throughout any part of your brand experience.

    1. Personalization

    Packaging that provides an area for personalization is one of the newest and most engaging trends in the industry. Coca-Cola has already played with this idea through its pre-named cans. We’ll continue to see this concept carry over to in-store interactions and packaging. Food products may feature “hand sealed” or “use by” labels to show that the ingredients are fresh and may be part of a small batch. In restaurants, to-go items could leave a space for writing in, “made fresh for.” Allowing space for human personalization encourages direct interaction, creating a stronger tie between customers and the brand. Personalization allows brands to better connect with consumers on both an emotional and intellectual level.

    2. Artisan

    Packaging with a handcrafted look is an increasingly popular trend. Labels will often use handwritten-style fonts, sketch lines, and watercolor to depict the artisan nature of the products. A hand-illustrated look resonates with customers by drawing attention to the handcrafted and creative qualities that went into each piece. Items featuring these elements are not necessarily made by hand, but brands that utilize this packaging style are often looking to give off a strong non-corporate feel.

    3. Reusable

    Packaging that has been specifically engineered for reuse is an innovative trend that lends itself to both originality and sustainability. Brands want to share their dedication to earth-friendly practices: Jammies is a brand that packages children’s clothes in a reusable jar; the box from Aquilegia wine can be repurposed into a wine rack; and Conto Figueira sells men’s shirts in a reusable wooden box with a glass lid. The idea behind reusable packaging supports the movement to be more green and responsible. It not only resonates with customers who want to invest in brands that are bettering the planet, but it also encourages customers to be marketing agents as they reuse packaging that promotes the brand.

    4. Keep It Simple

    Simply designed packaging features lighter font weights and minimal color palettes. This less-is-more approach limits confusion and creates an overall classic design that allows the product to truly stand out. Luxury brands have adopted this style, and it resonates with consumers looking for clear, clean, and defined merchandise.

    5. Vintage

    Vintage packaging trends feature labels with subtle patterns that are reminiscent of previous days. They often use badges or patches in the design to recreate a distinct look. The containers may resemble traditional packaging through old-school forms, such as medicinal bottles. This style appeals to consumers who may be eclectic, antique lovers. It also introduces a unique, limited-edition sense to the product.

    Any one of these packaging trends can easily be integrated into a restaurant's overall business strategy. By doing so, brands can enhance their ability to further engage with customers and ultimately build brand loyalty.

    Sarah Pike is the art director at starrdesign. She began her education in fine art and metal sculpture, which helped her develop an attuned sense of space, which led her toward branded environments. Sarah has experience in web, print, illustration, branding, exhibits, environmental graphics, and interiors.