- Bright and Beautiful
Pantone has recently announced its Colour of the Year for 2023 – Viva Magenta. This bright pinky-red tone is described as being brave, fearless, joyous, optimistic, powerful and empowering, as well as rooted in nature. After several difficult years due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, plus other ongoing challenges worldwide, Pantone’s colour choice suggests a hopefulness for the coming 12 months. Expect this to be mirrored in product packaging with Viva Magenta-inspired and other bright colours taking over. Not only does this colour palette help brands to stand out on shelves and online, but it also feels fun and energetic which makes it appealing to consumers.
- Communicating Value
Globally, consumers are experiencing higher living costs and more pressure on their non-essential spending. As a result, brands need to communicate the value of their products more than ever. Value doesn’t necessarily just mean low prices though. While some consumers will be cutting spending by buying budget and cheaper items, others will still be happy to spend a bit more on purchases that they believe offer value. It’s likely then that we will see packaging designs changing to clearly communicate the benefits of a specific product on the front of the packaging. This might be how healthy it is, how sustainable it is, how long the company has been in business (therefore communicating expertise), how long it lasts, how well rated it is, and so on. By making the points of difference stand out as clearly as possible on the packaging, brands will help ensure that potential customers understand their value.
Authenticity matters more than ever to consumers who are looking for brands to know who they are and what they stand for and communicate this clearly. A big part of this will be through product packaging, whether it’s the materials used, the on-pack messaging, or both. For example, brands that talk about sustainability as a brand value need to follow through by using sustainable packaging materials. Another way brands are striving for authenticity is through typography that resembles handwriting. This helps to humanise brands and make them feel easier to relate to. We may also see this in on-pack artwork and graphics with the use of styles like cartooning, doodles, sketching and paintings. This could include more collaborations with established artists to bring their unique style to packaging design.
- Luxury Wow Factor
Exclusivity, high quality and craftmanship are just some of the things associated with luxury brands. In 2023, these qualities will increasingly be extended to product packaging to create exciting, unique, ‘wow’ packaging concepts. This includes the use of texture, embossing, foiling and other techniques to help the packaging to stand out. Not only do these translate well onscreen, helping brands to communicate their high-end credentials online, but they also add an extra tactile element when customers hold the product. Many of these packaging techniques come with a higher price tag, which is why we are likely to see the most experimental packaging ideas in 2023 coming from luxury brands. This also includes new innovations in sustainable packaging, which may financially be most accessible to luxury names. The good news is that the more these new packaging materials are adopted, the cheaper they should become for everyone.
- Metaverse Influenced Packaging
We saw the beginnings of this trend in 2022 in Coca-Cola’s Zero Sugar Byte soda, which was ‘pixel-flavoured’. The packaging reflected this concept with a digital, pixel-based design. Coca-Cola also launched a limited-edition Starlight edition that tasted like ‘space’. With hard to define flavour concepts such as these, packaging takes on an even more important role in trying to provide cues to consumers and encourage them to buy. As more brands experiment with virtual and metaverse experiences, we can expect there to be a greater digital influence on products and their packaging. This may be from a purely aesthetic position, but it may also include digitally enabled packaging that can act as a way for consumers to engage virtually with brands. For example, Coca-Cola’s Zero Sugar Byte cans could be scanned to access an augmented reality game. Another example is Monkey Shoulder whisky who partnered with NFT marketplace BlockBar and Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) on a two-part campaign. Ten BAYC holders won the opportunity to put their Bored Ape NFT on bottles of Monkey Shoulder’s whisky. They also received royalties from the sale of the bottles. BlockBar’s own Bored Ape NFT also appeared on Monkey Shoulder whisky bottles.
By Jack Stratten, Head of Trends at retail trends consultancy Insider Trends.