With customer loyalty harder than ever for brands to build and sustain, companies are returning to basics and renewing their focus on packaging, drawn towards the authenticity that packaging design can convey to differentiate their product.
This idea of ‘visual authenticity’ is articulated well by The Dieline’s founder Andrew Gibbs, who describes it as: “a real, trusted, human connection to the products and the brands that they consume. This connection can be expressed in different ways, from a connection to nature, to the written word, to the past, or simply to other people. This is beyond hipster. This style is a rejection of technology; a pre-computer era style, if you will.”
We’ve witnessed big brands introduce packaging overhauls to make products appear more unique, handcrafted and visually simplistic to encourage consumers to make purchases – the ultimate purpose of packaging (besides protecting a product)*. Perhaps it is a nod to years gone by; we are reminded of simpler times from our own childhood, or even to create a vintage aesthetic in a modern day environment.
Scrawling typography for a nut company, hand drawn illustrations on children’s snacks, sweeping brush strokes from Starbucks; all place a psychological marker on the brain to associate the product of a big brand with that of an artisanal, hand-crafted product.
Handwritten labels crafted from natural materials such as twine and cardboard, stamped ‘best before’ dates, all invoke the sense of craftsmanship, rather than mass-produced – which is more than likely the reality. Colour palettes become more muted, with softer shades; which work particularly well for brands in the organic or health food sectors.
In just over a week, I will be travelling to Tokyo, where I hope to photograph lots of packaging examples that defy this Western trend, in favour of bold, brash and ‘kawaii’ (Japanese for cute) packaging – keep your eyes posted for my next instalment!
*Although not always successfully, as covered in our blog on the benefits and pitfalls of a packaging rebrand!