Five packaging trends to watch


Our diversity of specialities at Kinneir Dufort means we instinctively look at things from different angles. We asked our Graphic Designers, Researchers, User Experience Designers, Innovators and Industrial Designers: What’s hot in packaging trends right now? And here's what they said...

Pared Back - Katie Clark (Graphic Designer)

With an increasing emphasis on product honesty and integrity, consumers today are demanding complete transparency in the products we consume. Gone are the days of overloading a pack with claims about added benefits and reduced this and extra that, health and environmentally aware consumers want products that have the smallest environmental impact and the biggest health benefits that they can buy. One way brands can convince consumers of their ‘innocence’ is through simplifying and pairing back the packaging and graphics that house their products. From the premium brands like Tapped Birch Water to everyday, established brands like PG Tips, recognising that in a cluttered and oversaturated market, the best way to appear honest and authentic, is to keep it simple.   

Moving beyond - Alissia Flynn (Senior Researcher)

For many years, brands have been using packaging as a way to improve engagement with their audiences. Personalisation has been one recent strategy used by many popular brands (as demonstrated by success stories such as Share A Coke, Nutella and Marmite campaigns – to name a few).

Packs are now being developed with augmented reality capabilities, bringing packs to life and providing an even richer and engaging experience for consumers. Future developments look to much smarter uses for interactive packaging (moving beyond purely entertainment) such as unlocking secret promotions, advice and product suggestions all of which will contribute to creating long lasting connections between brands and consumers.

Product experience through packaging - Ana Corral (User Experience Designer)

We, user experience designers, spend a lot of time explaining what we do. I think the main reason for that is because UX is seen as a digital discipline, so we end up saying we design software, Apps… But the reality is that UX is about designing experiences, that are rooted in the real world. And packaging is one vital part of the product experience. 

We call customers users, personas and we put their needs at the centre, so that at the end we satisfy their expectations. We challenge the brief and we don’t take anything for granted.The aim is to always create engaging and satisfying experiences, whether that is using an asthma inhaler, opening a chocolate bar or buying a coffee from a vending machine. Take for instance:

Zube Squeezable wine Don’t you hate wasting wine? Zube has solved this problem.

Or Plate Lunch Package Asda has designed the solution all moms would love. No more crumbs on the carpet. No more mayonnaise stains.

Engaging through localisation - Elena Massucco (Senior Account Manager)

Forward thinking brands are creating limited edition packaging that celebrate landmark events, local customs, festivals and news, aiming to create a deeper level of engagement and relevance with new audiences

To celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday – Persil released a special edition packaging featuring a crown image of a gold label and including a golden dosing ball. On the other side of the pond, Ben & Jerry’s showed their support for same-sex marriage legalisation in the US in 2015 by temporarily renaming their classic cookie dough flavoured ice cream ‘I Dough- I Dough’. 

Honest Forms - Ed Barber (Industrial Designer)

As Katie identified, FMCG brands are taking steps towards being more honest and open in the way they speak to their consumers. For this to be compelling the 3D structure “the pack” must follow, being more honest and clear about the brand message they aim to convey.

This honest, simplified trend makes our job as designers both more challenging as well as more rewarding when developing these forms. Capturing the essence of the brand we are working for in its simplest form, whilst ensuring we accommodate all the hidden mechanical constraints, which are essential in making the pack mass producible.  

Gone are the days of easy to engineer cylinders, and comical character based forms. Today we strive for honest, considered, compelling solutions.