Packaging continues to be an area of focus for innovators. As eCommerce keeps rising, so does the concern for the environment. As designers get more creative, so does technology increase the blur between physical and digital worlds. We see 2023 continuing the general trajectories of 2022, yet striking out in new and exciting ways, surprising us at times. This time, instead of looking at individual, isolated design or technology trends. We decided to focus on the business success drivers of multiple areas in packaging. In this blog let’s examine the Top trends of Packaging in 2023
Packaging artwork is fertile grounds for beautiful, provocative designs representing the latest innovation and thoughts from commercial artists. The mood is 2023 is one of playfulness- Pantone’s color of the year. “Viva Magenta” heralds a year of vigor and head-turning boldness. Pantone’s “color of the year” has never been about just a shade. It tries to express the overall mood of the year through its color. Thus we see a certain brightness and boldness in artistic style. Often accompanied by typographic scrawl and cartoons in wraparound style.
2023 also sees a return to elevating the brand experience closer to high-end, premium feel by creating interesting textures to provide a tactile element to the user. The trend leverages existing printing techniques like UV printing, foil printing, embossing, die-cuts etc. But takes advantage of cheaper digital printing technology to bring the premium look & feel to mid-market brands. Its also towards using printing techniques like texturing to create a tactile element to the package handling experience, elevating the brand image to high-end.
We cannot end this section without a shout-out to 3D! Well, faux 3D anyway. One of the most “now” design techniques is the use of optical illusion and line effects to create a sense of depth in the artwork. The result is a stunning look & feel that is dynamic, and signals the brand’s “here and now” modernism, combined with very impressive technical skills. The sheer originality of this design approach is sure to make customers stop in their tracks. Their attention drawn to the product and their hands reaching out to pick it up!
New materials for packaging in 2023 will focus on sustainability and replacement of plastic and even virgin paper with new innovations. These include a stretchy paper (yes, you read that right!). A plant-based, 100% recyclable plastic, a coconut-based food packaging, and starch-based packaging foam, to name just a few.
Another exciting concept focuses on turning waste into useful packaging. Honeycomb paper packaging promises a viable alternative to bubble wrap, allowing paper, leather and plenty of other manufacturing wastes to be converted to recyclable and biodegradable packaging
Brewdog Beer went a step further, turning its beer waste into vodka, and packaging it in a food-grade paper bottle! Such innovations, while not completely new, are a significant step towards mainstreaming the basic “waste to sustainable wealth” concept. As they become financially viable through incorporation in the manufacturing supply chain. These innovations will be a major weaning-off from plastic.
2023 will see continued strides in integrating digital technology into increasing impact of the packaging real estate, improving transparency, and connect with customers. QR codes are becoming ubiquitous, and offer unlimited space for information, brand experience, and user interaction.
QR codes on boxes are just one instance of the much bigger “connected packaging” trend which promises to become one of the most successful consumer-facing digital transformation initiatives in packaging. CPG brands have been experimenting with connected packaging for years, starting with boring URLs printed on packages, to QR codes that lead to nowhere, or worse still. An uninteresting experience that leaves the consumer underwhelmed and frustrated.
Brands are starting to learn from their mistakes and understand that connected packaging is a three step process- an enticing invite to the customer with a clear call to action. A seamless access to the digital world, and a rewarding experience. In other words, it isn’t about the QR code. It’s about what behind it! Brands have successfully implemented “rewards” like games or easter eggs, or exclusive discount coupons to customers who “go through the digital mirror”, but some have created truly memorable experiences, such as Kellogg’s successful campaign4 that highlighted allergen information in its products via audio warnings to visually challenged customers.
Another area that will undoubtedly keep growing in 2023 is the continuing incorporation of augmented reality experiences into the packaging-initiated digital experience in a true manifestation of the “phygital” experience (we wish there was a better term too!). In 2023 we anticipate more interesting interactive experiences to be launched, cementing the QR’s place on the package at least till something better comes along.
At Manipal Digital we keep innovating and inventing new ways to empower our clients! Reach out to us today to discuss how to leverage these latest packaging trends into your next product packaging design.