Rethinking modern packaging design in the post-pandemic world

Bhavika Shah, founder, and Kavita Dalal, content-head of Beyondesign discuss the effectiveness of emotional branding

12 Apr 2022 | By WhatPackaging? Team

However we decide to frame it -challenging, once-in-a-century, extraordinary or unthinkable — the last two years have been no short of horrific for most industries. The pandemic has brought about a significant transformation in consumer habits and has in turn affected every industry in more ways than one.

The USD 900 billion-a-year packaging industry has also metamorphosised to meet the next normal that we have arrived into. Beyond the ethnic pre-requisites of low costs, convenience and performance the new must-haves of a functional packaging now entail a sustainable story, the hygiene aspect to envelope consumer safety protocols and a ready to ship design for the expanding eCommerce and D2C models.

While sustainability remains to be an on-going industry trend encouraging smaller companies and FMCG giants to remain committed towards accomplishing recyclability across their packaging portfolios, the new hygiene megatrend is sure to become a key element of the new normal making it mandatory for companies to rework materials and design requirements of packaging. The pre-Covid packaging which was understandably traditional in nature now needs to be optimised to meet the eCommerce and online shopping trends that are increasingly penetrating the consumer sector.

Mainstream behavioural shifts have transformed the packaging landscape forever and this is what needs to be considered.

Gone are the days where brands can use excessive packaging to stand out. Meaningful, sustainable, packaging can still be attractive and appealing without leaving a huge environmental impact. Beyondesign has helped us achieve this goal.”
Umang Sood, creative Head, open secret

Sustainability as the top priority:
Designers must propagate increased recyclability in packaging products and strongly advice the use of packaging substrates that support recyclability. The sustainability story should innovatively yet minimally be communicated through the packaging. Stripping of extra packaging layers without compromising on product safety will go a long way. Minimal will be the new maximum.

Design Hygiene-centric: The pandemic has brought personal hygiene to the forefront, frequent  hand washing, increased use of sanitisation products and disinfecting and discarding packages of parcels brought to our doorsteps have become the regular norms and hence single-use packaging is becoming a preferred option.

This puts a strong constraint on the sustainability aspect. Going ahead, manufacturers and designers must get creative and develop innovative solutions that can balance consumer hygiene with sustainability.

The eCommerce boom: The increased surge in eCommerce activities due to the pandemic proves that online shopping and D2C delivery is the call of the hour and is here to stay.

Revamping existing packaging options to integrate into this e-comm focused world will be task that manufacturers and designers will have to explore, whilst still being conscious. Sustainable, minimal packaging once again is the need of the hour.

Designs made to augment shelf appeal may take a backseat in favour of compact, lightweight package sizes and packaging that can be easily and safely bundled and shipped anywhere across the world.

Packaging Design Trends that will be creating a new evolution in the market in 2022

The less is more approach
The potential impact of minimal communication is significant. Minimalism, reduces clutter and enables consumers to focus on what’s important. Intelligently thought through, it can be useful in effectively highlighting the product’s USPs, else it  can result  in bland branding — or  as experts call it “blanding”.

Illustrative approach
Illustrations describing a regional history, local art, or a story describing the product source draws a direct connect with consumers. An illustrative approach has the potential to be unique and jump off the shelves effectively.Zama – packaging for a brand that adopts a farm to table theory. The illustration builds a sort of trust in consumers of getting farm fresh produce delivered right to their doorstep.

Spa Theory – a brand that promises to provide the best of nature through aromatherapy. Illustrations that show the source of the product to bring in a level of trust and integrity among consumers. The packaging looks attractive and indulgent with minimal illustrations and use of warm colours.

Abstract designs
Creating an aesthetic approach this method implements bold fonts, vivid colours and gradients with an acute minimalism that stands out. Bold colours and effective typefaces can become a combination to look out for.
The abstract design approach implemented in the packaging done for an Artisanal range of chocolates launched by TajSats.

As online buying and e-distribution becomes radically ingrained in our everyday lives, it will become increasingly important to innovate for cost-effective ways to deliver products safely, efficiently and in unique ways that still preserve the consumer journey and experience.

Minimalism implies condensed brand messaging in an innovation, simple yet aesthetically appealing design.
Krishne Tanna, founder, Crista


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