25 August 2022, 11:18 AM
  • Lawrence Barnett, owner and managing director of Wonderland Design, shares his top tips for getting your packaging right to keep up with the trends whilst maintaining your USP
Lawrence Barnett, Wonderland Design: Keep your pack design on trend and on brand

As brands strive to remain relevant to their consumers, to what extent should your brand be guided by current design trends and fashion? Such trends can help inform branding and pack designs to convey a more contemporary look and stay in tune with modern lifestyles.

Some trends will stand the test of time. Others may look dated in next to no time or turn out to be a fad. The trick is to use trends to make your brand more relevant and enduring without being susceptible to inevitable fashion changes.

We take a quick look here at some of those key trends and how they might be used to guide and influence packaging design.

Colours are subjective and most prone to change. Big, bold vibrant colours make strong statements and stand out. More earthy colours create a more natural feel and pastille shades can give a softer look. Stick to your own colour palette but, by all means, use trends and influences to help refresh your own colours on pack and that will translate well online. 

Graphic treatments
Pop-art, retro, anti-design and minimalism are just some design themes that are influencing design. Like colour, styles and treatments come and go. But they can help drive new creative ideas or influence how design can be used to better effect. The most important factor is how your brand’s look can evolve in its own distinctive way, rather than closely copying a particular design trend or look.

Font styles can play a huge part of a pack’s design. They have become far more visual in their treatment. Whether it’s a lettering style that’s bold yet minimal or more of a work of art, use fonts to bring out key messages or to embellish brand or product stories. Your own way of using fonts will only add to your brand equities for use on and off pack. 

Product visibility can create a more honest, transparent feel for the brand. Whilst for some brands this can be expensive (eg die cut windows), it could present an opportunity to reduce the amount of packaging used or find innovative ways to show more of the product. Greater product visibility can make a positive statement about your brand and its values.

Smart packaging
Consumer experiences with your brand are being transformed by the use of QR codes. Make sure they can be seen and that they integrate with the overall pack design. And when QR codes are used, make that experience for the consumer a good and worthwhile one.
Whilst this is not a design trend, it is clearly a long-term necessity and likely to get even more embedded in how we think about packaging and design. Many brands now incorporate their sustainability messages into their pack’s design and use the design process to source more environmentally friendly materials. But even if your brand is not yet perfect in its sustainability journey, it is worth being clear about what your brand is currently doing to reduce its impact on the environment.

Trends should inform your packaging design. Be aware of them but don’t follow them blindly. Allow them to guide your creative thinking and ideas - but firmly in the context of your own brand’s set of brand equities. Your brand must be enduring and not at the mercy of ever changing design trends and fashions.