Every day we hear about grounding breaking innovation going on in the world of science, technology, or healthcare.
But, on the cardboard and paper side of things, a quiet revolution has been brewing for years.
Packaging has been evolving right along with other advances in society and the days of boring bags and boxes are heading right out the door, replaced by a world of creativity and amazing customer experiences.
We’re glad you asked, because consider this blog your backstage pass into how your everyday products are changing the way they’re presented!
Breaking Boundaries in Package Design
In the before times, businesses didn’t have very many options to choose from to box up their products for the shelves.
Many brands turned to companies like Uline for their packaging needs, choosing from pre-made bags and boxes with their only real choices being what size they needed for their products.
Nowadays, with the booming growth of eCommerce, businesses have turned to their packaging as a means to differentiate themselves from their competitors, striving for not just high-quality materials, but an unforgettable unboxing experience as part of the package!
This means more customization and creativity than ever before!
Some small startups in Consumer-Packaged Goods (CPG) are even taking their bag and box manufacturing offshore, while working with US-based designers to make the most of their limited go-to-market budgets.
Beauty product company, Korosilk, is an example of a small startup that did just that, to some pretty amazing results.
The Future of Packaging Design
In addition to added creativity and differentiation, here are some other ways we can expect packaging methods to shift in the coming years:
Due to growing environmental consciousness and concern, more and more consumers are demanding eco-friendly practices from the companies they purchase from.
And eco-friendly, traditional packing is not.
Plastic bags, bubble wrap, Styrofoam… if you’re looking for something sustainable, they’re not it.
Because of that, more and more companies are turning to recyclable material like cardboard boxes, biodegradable infill, compostable mailers, or nifty things like bioplastics or water-based inks.
Packaging is also getting more minimalistic. Gone are the days of having to dig out your purchase from a forest’s worth of packing paper or ripping through five plastic bags. Less is more is how we’re looking at things these days and that’s a good thing for everyone.
It seems like, as a society, we’re just sick and tired of clutter.
More than ever, brands are turning to space saving packaging, for sustainability purposes, as well as to not take up all our space at the kitchen table.
Things like collapsible boxes, stackable containers, and nested packaging are growing in popularity, as well as just shrinking down boxes and bags to more snugly fit the products they’re housing.
Your phone is smart, your TV is smart, your house is smart, sometimes even your fridge is smart.
Why not your packaged products too?
Smart packaging is an emerging technology in the packing industry designed to improve tracking while also improving benefits for consumers and shippers alike.
There are different types of packages, so depending on what it is, smart packaging is capable of telling you the remaining shelf life of a product and sensors and indicators that monitor its condition and can be scanned to provide information.
For food packaging, there are even sensors that indicate freshness levels for food products, helping to reduce food waste and providing a more transparent experience for customers.
With so many brands trying to differentiate themselves through their packaging, 3D printing has emerged as a frontrunner for ways to customize design elements and personalize their bags and boxes.
Using a 3D printer, brands can create packaging with as intricate a design idea as they please, as well as create packages with unique shapes and other personalized elements.
It’s also being used to knock out prototypes and test packaging designs before committing to an expensive large-scale production, saving brands both time and money.
How AI is Redefining Packaging Design
AI is already revolutionizing industries like security, healthcare, and manufacturing, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise to find out that it is revolutionizing packaging design too.
Here’s some places we’re already seeing changes:
Shifts in Traditional Roles
AI tools are enabling clients and Creative Directors to act as not just graphic designers but strategists, dreaming up creative design concepts and pulling together the AI tools and the humans needed to execute on the ideas.
This is leading to a new shift in traditional roles in everyone who plays a part in product package design.
Copywriters aren’t just coming up with catchy words for the box, they’re becoming copy and marketing strategists. Box designers are becoming unboxing experience strategists.
Everyone is in on the unboxing experiences and we’re here for it.
Benefits of AI for Packaging
In addition to turning everyone involved in the packaging process into an unboxing experience expert, AI is also extremely useful in assisting package designers to ideate and strategize, which in turn improves the following:
- Saving Money: AI helps package designers to optimize their design processes, greatly reducing the need to make prototypes by hand and helping them to catch costly mistakes before it’s too late.
- Customization: AI is great for quickly analyzing customer preferences and data, allowing for easier customization.
- Efficiency: By allowing designers to quickly test multiple iterations of their design and test out concepts, AI can improve the speed and accuracy of the design process.
- User-Experience: Packages that are catered to specific customer needs and preferences can create unique customer experiences and improve engagement with your brand.
How AI Can Maximize ROI on Your Package Design
What new manufacturing and printing processes are doing for the physical boxes, AI is doing the same thing for maximizing ROI and shortening turnaround time.
All of this added efficiency, plus the way AI can elevate the creative concepts that the designers, writers, and clients are coming up with means a better-packaged product for you that costs less money to get to the stores and looks great on the shelves.
Of course, you can’t just feed information into an AI program and expect it to do everything. You’ll still need a team of packaging and design experts and a human touch to lead the way and pull it all together.
Customization for the Win
We touched earlier on how customizing packages is becoming the norm as businesses seek ways to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace and emotionally connect with their customers.
Expect that to be the norm everywhere pretty soon.
It’s easier than ever these days to get spot UV varnish, embossing, custom folds and perforations, and custom die cuts and dieline templates for your packaging needs. The quality of digital printing has grown exponentially in the past five years as well, making quick-turnaround digital prints just as beautiful and clear as offset printing.
Here are some other aspects of how we can expect custom packaging to change how our customers will experience our products.
Personalization is the new Norm
Custom packaging allows brands to create unique, personalized experiences for their customers.
By using their names, color palette and other packaging preferences, and messages in their packaging, brands build deeper connections with their clients and encourage future purchases.
QR codes, augmented reality (AR), or NFC tags on packaging provide your customers with additional information that they might be looking for, exclusive content, or even immersive experiences.
All of this is a definite boost to your customer engagement and makes your product feel special.
Not just for unlocking your phone or laptop anymore!
Biometrics (fingerprint or facial recognition) packaging integrates this technology for the security or convenience of your customers.
It can be used to unlock packaging, provide authentications, or even to personalize the product experience.
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Looking for an Innovative Team to Elevate Your Package Design?
If you’re looking for a team to help your packaging evolve with the trends, then we’re here to tell you that you’ve already found it.
Designity is here for all of your custom packaging design and label needs. Our Creative Directors are design and packaging experts who are ready to learn all about your brand, your goals, and your products and come up with a plan that not only elevates your packaging but is sustainable, on budget, and an amazing experience waiting to happen for your customers.
Is your packaging ready for the future?