Five Packaging Design Predictions for 2015

How we consume and connect with brands today is rapidly changing.

At Pearlfisher, Natalie Chung nurtures an energetic and collaborative studio environment where imagination and bold ideas are encouraged to grow. At the 2015 D&AD Awards, she will be Foreman of the Packaging Design Jury . With two new sub-categories for 2015 – Innovative Packaging Design and Sustainable Packaging Design – Natalie looks ahead to what we can expect to see from the best Packaging Design winners.

How we consume and connect with brands today is rapidly changing. As we move into the future, this presents a challenging and exciting opportunity for packaging design, as one of our most important consumer touch-points and cultural markers.

If we looked back at 2015 from 30 years into the future, packaging design would leave a visual record of our society, our consumption and peoples’ needs and behaviours.

We live in a brand-dominated world – a world of unbelievable choice but one that can lead to confusion and overload. Brands need to refine their offer so that it has real meaning, change their motivation from selling to helping, form more honest and relevant relationships and select the channels and mediums in which they expect us to interact with them.

This is where design must come into play. Design is one of the most impactful agents of change; it’s essential to culture and problem solving. By defining a future focus underpinned by a big idea, and using design to realise it, brands will be able to fully meet these new needs in a relevant and revolutionary way.

The potential for packaging design is immense but these 5 predictions are the ones that I think will make the most impact creatively, culturally and commercially:

1. Increased personalisation 

Rather than products, we will want to buy providers of services that make our lives better. This will present new, if not complex, challenges for brand packaging and design to provide solutions with a strong designer’s aesthetic.

2. Home Production

In a similar vein, we will look to create home production experiences, expecting brands to provide prescriptive but original viewpoints that allow us to interpret them to fit around our own lifestyles at home, taking us beyond the brand

3. Shape-Shifting

New ideals, new concepts of structure and new innovations in materials and technologies are shifting consumer perceptions of the physical form. This is steering new directions for brands (and culture as a whole) as we inevitably move from the brand design we know today to the biomimicry of tomorrow.

4. Scaling Innovation

Brands still need to succeed within the mass market, but must address a moral, social, political and ethical agenda. We expect to see a stream of diverse and creative initiatives, but what will be most interesting is to see how this manifests through brand and packaging design. To bring innovation to life – and to better lives.

5. Sharing Stories

Brands need to refocus on just how they create, share and help us experience their stories. Today’s memorable brand stories are the ones that are able to break out of the category style. They engage and innovate in a new and distinctive visual and written narrative across all touchpoints, from location to packaging, to create a deep connection and lasting legacy.

As designers, we have the power to illustrate what change will really mean – and could really look like – for brands, products, services and society in the future. It is design’s role to make change real, introduce the new and help us see the future sooner.

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