Packaging Design Trends: Speculation for 2015

Design trends in 2014 brought us many places. We saw high contrast designs, we saw lots of whitespace. We saw watercolor, and we saw a stronger focus on sustainability. With the turn of the new year, we’ll see new trends enter the scene, as well as the evolution of some of the older ones. With this in mind, we’d like to share with you our speculation for where the design for packaging industry will be headed in 2015.

With the recent rise of sustainable products and packaging, we’ll be seeing an even greater focus on this sort of design in the coming year. Sustainability is more than a trend; with the state of the environment, there has been an increasing urgency to minimize our impact on the planet. The packaging industry is beginning to respond to this need with more and more eco-friendly options to present to consumers. It’s to be expected, then, that we’ll be seeing more of the hand-drawn fonts that go along with a naturalist feel (this goes for logos and illustrations too). Think clean designs, subtle textures, and flat, grounding colors to suit an over all naturalist feel.

Altaz CF6 Stylus

We’ve talked before about awesome packaging designs, ones that are unique for their aesthetics or functionality (or, both). Some of these have taken interesting design a step further, capitalizing on the element of functionality and usability. Shirt packages that transform into hangers, boxes that turn into pen holders…while this sort of packaging may not be at the forefront of 2015 trends, we suspect we’ll be seeing some interesting multi-use designs this year. Definitely something to keep an eye on.

Google_Glass_with_frame

Another small but growing market is augmented reality packaging. With the ever-increasing integration of electronics in everyday life, it’s only fitting technology would be brought into even the disposable parts of our products (or, if you’re going for sustainability or functionality, maybe the not-so-disposable parts). Regardless of the opinions of naysayers, technology isn’t going anywhere. Period. With the rise of augmented reality products such as Google Glass, we’re seeing this now more than ever (even if at its infancy stage, augmented reality devices are very, very dorky looking). With a rumored consumer release in 2015, Google Glass will open new doors for augmented reality packaging. It may make you look like a huge nerd (I happen to disagree with this sentiment, but I digress), but regardless, even if augmented reality takes on a different form than headwear in the coming years, it will still be prevalent, and packaging designers that have not learned to work with the medium already will have to catch up.

Pantone

Lastly, we’ve got Pantone. Pantone knows color. They’re the ones who standardize it worldwide, making sure that the conversation between designers, printers, companies, and consumers is an easy one, where everyone is on the same page. Part of their job includes keeping tabs on (and setting) industry trends. They not only know a whole lot about color, but also have a big say in the evolution of design practices. Annually, they pick the Color of the Year. This isn’t just a blind bag selection; their industry expertise, from analysis of past trends to predictions about future ones, is what helps them determine what this color will be. This year, they’ve gone with Marsala, an earthy, wine red. Marsala creates a nice dichotomy (did you know colors can do that?): for a shade of red, it’s remarkably cool. It’s seductive, but grounding. Rich, but subtle. Marsala “…enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability.” Expect to see more of this color in the coming year.

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Augmented Reality Packaging

Sure, the product you’re buying may be interactive, but did you know its packaging can come to life too? In prior weeks, we’ve covered interesting (and just plain awesome) designs—this week, we’re taking it a step further. Box designs are getting more and more innovative, and we’d like to share with you the unique world of augmented reality packaging.

The idea of augmented reality packaging has actually been around for several years. Take, for instance, this line from Pepsi that hit shelves towards the end of 2013. This is Blippar, an augmented reality advertising platform for tablet and mobile devices. It can turn an ordinary can of Pepsi (observe):

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Into something a little more exciting:

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A quick scan of your soda brings up a responsive digital interface. I’d suggest watching the video (since it’s really freaking cool), but I’ll explain it to you here if you’re not sold yet. The above image scales and rotates as you move the can, and animated portions fly on and off screen. It’s interactive, so you can tap on sections you find intriguing to learn more. Pepsi’s advertisement was superbowl related, so you could enter a sweepstakes, learn about your favorite players, and even pose for a picture ‘with’ them (by which I mean it will superimpose an image of the player onto your camera interface).

Integrating augmented reality into your products is a cool and flashy way to amp up your marketing. Since they’re interactive by nature, you could even trigger games to come up upon scanning (Blippar previously launched a platform for augmented reality games compatible with Google Glass). There’s also movie trailers, playlists, hidden text; this type of innovation in packaging opens up a realm of possibility.

The technology has been around for several years, but it’s been getting more and more immersive over time. With the growing popularity of virtual reality headsets and thermal imaging technology (turning literally everything into a touch screen), I’m really excited to see where the world of augmented reality marketing goes.