The Competitive Edge of Product Packaging: Design Trends for 2018

In order to stand out from the crowd, many businesses rely on expensive advertising practices and marketing technology to earn them a slot in Google SERPs and push their ads to unsuspecting Facebook users. The big, eye-catching paradox is – all of them use identical methods of differentiation.

Whatever happened to good old creativity?

Sure, your customers have grown smart enough not to judge a book by its covers, but that still doesn’t mean that a brilliant packaging design cannot make a difference. Your product’s packaging speaks of your knack for innovation and attention to detail, both of which rank pretty high on customers’ lists.

The best way to design a box is, of course, to think outside it.

In case you’ve run out of ideas, take a hint from these five design trends for 2018.

  1. Pastels & Doodles

Though the minimalist design was once considered ageless, we finally got bored of black bold letters against a white canvas. We want a pop of color and a splash of quirk, and we want them now. Splitting the difference between simplicity and vibrancy, Design Agency Leicester have found balance in pastels and doodles.

Warm and inviting pastel palettes could never overwhelm. They still use the same old psychology of colors to catch the customers’ attention, but they do it in a less conspicuous way. As for doodles, they add a familiar DIY flair, reminiscent of artsy Pinterest typography and suggestive of childish innocence.

  1. Comic Book Style

Speaking of childish naiveté, the comic book style is seeing a resurgence both thanks to Marvel movies and Netflix-bred nostalgia. In terms of product packaging, not many businesses have tapped into its potential yet. This is your chance to find a used packaging machine and start drawing wacky sketches.

You’ve certainly heard of the importance of narrative in branding, which helps customers relate to the message and engage with the product. Comic book design is actually perfect for this, as it allows you to develop characters (brand mascots, for example) and advertise your products through storytelling.

  1. Unusual Shapes

Moving on from printed boxes and labels to the package design in the true sense of the word, we have playful shapes that tell the story of your product without a single letter. Such are Marcel Sheishenov’s Bamboo juice cans, for example, which mimic a long bamboo stick when stacked on top of each other.

A cleverly designed shape needs virtually nothing except for a logo sticker. It reveals the essence of your product in a self-explanatory way but also establishes your brand as effortlessly creative. Should we also mention that shape-driven packaging design costs way less money than custom-made prints?

  1. Moving Pictures

Then again, a picture is worth a thousand words. We’ve seen some truly noteworthy examples of photography-centered packaging over these last couple of years, but nothing beats a moving picture. Very much like holographic effects or vibrant gradients, they make a product stick out from the mass.

Either to convey a sense of luxury or simply to add a note of whimsical, smart businesses have resurrected lenticular packaging from the forgotten days of 3D DVD cases. This printing technique uses special lenses to produce images that, similarly to GIFs, create an illusion of movement or depth.

  1. Ingenious Cutting

On the crossroad between head-turning printed images and cleverly shaped packaging are designs that use shrewdly placed cuts to reveal what’s inside the box. Spaghetti of different flavors and colors, for instance, can double as strands of hair on packaging with hand-drawn cartoonish faces.

Ingenious cutting can also serve to highlight transparency as one of the commonly praised traits of brand identity. By allowing the customer to take a sneak peek inside of the packaging, this design technique adds to the trustworthiness and reassures buyers that what they see is undoubtedly what they’ll get.

As a marketing tool, innovative packaging designs provide a great competitive edge; there’s no doubt about it. They do so by using different colors, shapes, images, and textures to their advantage, and always to showcase and underline the key selling points of the product: quality, value, and uniqueness.

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