We queried some of the top experts in beverage packaging design about the year ahead and the different consumer trends they expect to influence those packages and their designs. Here’s what they said:
Chris Lehmann, General Manager and Executive Creative Director, Landor Associates’ Chicago office
Your firm recently designed the packaging for Pernod Ricard Premium Wine Brands’ first California still wine, Deadbolt. What trends influenced your design for the brand?
Lehmann: 1. Dimension: This is not referring to all the dimensional effects that occur in so much of mass packaged goods. Rather, it’s dimension of offering. Consumers are looking for brands/products that have depth and dimension to them. They don’t just want things. In some sense this has always been the case—it’s a desire that sits at the foundation of branding. But I think in the past 5-plus years, many consumers want to know more about the brands they consume, want to think of brands as living, social beings.
Everything about Deadbolt helps to convey this dimension—by starting with a strong product offering, developing an essence around it, creating a story, and having that story expressed through the visuals. The Deadbolt logo isn’t simply cool. It’s born from the core essence of the brand. This brand is about making your own rules and daring to be different. The name, the tattoo-inspired design and the production techniques employed all combine to express this essence.
2. Relatable surprise: Brands’ biggest thing to watch out for is that consumers get bored quickly, and this is only happening faster as the world’s consumers are adapting to real-time access and change in all parts of their lives. Branders must keep consumers’ attention and there are different ways of doing that. For big spending brands, non-stop flash and promotion are often the path chosen, but the majority of brands don’t have that option and they need to capture consumers’ hearts and attention on shelf via the primary brand story. The element of surprise helps with this. Relatable surprise is that ability to appear different in an unexpected but meaningful manner that grabs consumers’ attention in a way that makes sense for the particular brand as it both fits in and stands out within its category.
The name and tattoo-inspired logo for Deadbolt deliver on this relatable surprise. The design stops you, grabs your attention. It’s a surprising name, rendered in a surprising manner but that relates back to the core essence of making your own rules and daring to be different.
3. Simplicity: As all of us continue to be inundated with information and sensory stimulation in all parts of our lives, our craving for simplicity increases. Our desire to be delighted by package design isn’t waning but we don’t want to be overloaded to be delighted. Consumer brands seem to be moving toward simpler visual expressions.
The Deadbolt design is boldly simple. A custom logo in embossed silver foil against a black background. No distractions, not a single unnecessary element, color or image.
What other packaging design trends in general do you expect to see in 2013 for beverage brands?
Lehmann: Related to some of the above, I think more brands are trying to tell stories via their packages—stories that involve people, consumers—not just features and benefits. The world of big, faceless brands is disappearing as consumers thrive on more direct relationships with their favorite brands. 750,000 people follow Oscar Mayer on Facebook, over 2 million follow Coors Light. These people are not just chasing coupons, they’re sharing stories back and forth. Package design is tapping into this by attempting to tell stories through their packages. From brand names, to back panel copy, to evocative visuals.
What are customers looking for from the packaging, and has that been changing at all recently?
Lehmann: Hands down, consumers are looking for authenticity. In a way, they always have been but consumers now believe they have a role in being the stewards of a brand’s authenticity. Miller High Life’s hugely successful brand update in 2010 was based on re-capturing its authenticity and consumers rewarded it with their recommitted loyalty. On the other extreme we saw consumers vote with their feet with the now infamous Tropicana redesign. Both examples are about authenticity and the dual ownership by the brand and consumers is here to stay.
Libby Costin, Global Portfolio,Marketing Director, Tetra Pak
Like the beverages within them, packaging is becoming increasingly tailored to meet ever-changing consumer trends and requirements. Busy life styles are prompting more people to eat and drink on-the-go, stimulating new beverage categories and requiring new packaging sizes and drink-from solutions. Consumers are increasingly concerned about environmental responsibility and are looking for sustainable packaging solutions. As the world’s population ages beverages are offered with healthy options in mind and packaging with increased facility in cap opening and closure as well as easy grip and pourability.
At Tetra Pak, we anticipate consumer demands by identifying and analyzing global trends, specifically investigating how these trends might impact on consumer behavior and needs. This is an essential input into our innovation process.
One example of a key macro trend that is shaping our innovation process is the accelerating growth of aging populations. By 2025-2030 we will almost triple the number of people 60 years and over. Tetra Pak has responded to this by developing packages suitable for consumers of all ages, from children to elderly consumers. For example the Tetra Brik Aseptic Edge is so user-friendly that even consumers with hand disabilities, such as arthritis or injuries, find it easy to handle, open and pour. The recently launched HeliCap 27, with a large 27 mm neck size, provides enhanced one-step functionality and the cap height and ridged design provides an improved gripping experience.
Urbanization and on-the-go consumption trends means designing smaller portion packs with caps, such as the DreamCap, that are easy to drink from when you’re on the go. In addition, a growing demand for healthy products has prompted the development of daily dose drinks, energy boosters and probiotics, a market which is expected to expand by 4 percent globally by 2014, in comparison with 2011 levels.
To meet this demand, Tetra Pak launched Lokka, a new convenient tear-off opening option for the Tetra Top Carton Shot in a 100 ml package, perfectly suited to beverages which are to be consumed in one go, on the go.
These are just two examples that showcase how crucial an understanding of macro trends is in delivering packaging that meet consumer demand. And, in turn, ensure that the products our customers can offer stand the test of time. But it can’t be done at any cost. The solutions the packaging industry comes up with must be delivered at the right time and the right price.
Fast-changing consumer demographics mean beverage companies need packaging solutions that provide them with the flexibility to meet consumer needs while also ensuring they are cost competitive, safe and green. That is why four factors shape our innovation process: functionality and differentiation, system cost, environmental performance and food safety.
David Turner, principal and founder, Turner Duckworth, London & San Francisco
What were the hot trends of 2012?
Turner: Iconic design. The bold simplification of brand image to create shelf impact and differentiation.
Now, looking ahead to the coming year, what do you anticipate being the big beverage packaging stories for 2013?
Turner: Packaging will become more interactive with new digital technologies placing the package at the center of rich information and entertainment experiences.
Are there societal trends impacting the designs as well?
Turner: The continued hangover from the recession has reduced the motivation to make changes for environmental benefit. Although this is still a trend in packaging, some of the steam has been taken out of it as companies focus on maximizing profit.
What would you say is the newest thing beverage packaging needs to pay attention to these days?
Turner: Infotainment. Providing consumers with information that is as objective as possible, and is there to help them make informed choices, but is presented in a branded, engaging way.
What is the biggest change you are seeing with beverage packaging labels?
Turner: On one hand, more information means more complexity. This makes the requirement for brands to become iconic and communicate a lot with a little more important.
How would you compare the packaging design capabilities available to a beverage marketer today with those in the past?
Turner: In some ways, beverage packaging has had very few major innovations in the last hundred years. Plastics, pouches, boxes, shrink wraps, etc. have all had some effect, but most beverages still come in a bottle with a label or a can with direct print. However, I believe a big change is coming. Not to the form of packaging, but to its role. Packaging is the one part of a beverage brand’s marketing that’s guaranteed to reach the consumer. With the advent of image recognition technologies, the package can come to life through mobile devices as an interactive hub for information and entertainment.
David Ceradini,Ceradini Brand Design, Brooklyn, N.Y.
We’re noticing this whole trend of vitamin-infused beverages is still going strong. The other thing that stands out in the alcoholic beverage world particularly in beer is a lot of corking going on. It’s not new, but you’re seeing more of it to help convey authenticity and sort of a home-made feel. The microbrews and craft beers have been doing it for a while. I see more breweries jumping on this cork bandwagon, if you will, to commemorate and celebrate their brands. One recent example was Sam Adams’ Infinium. The design and the packaging has a retro-feel with a very sort of comfortable, elevated look. Also, there continues to be developments in eco-friendly green packaging, particularly out of Europe. New packaging that requires less plastic material to manufacture, so more glass and aluminum packaging at the expense of plastic due to stronger environment and energy pressures there. I’m wondering at what point it will come over here.