Image is everything

31 July 2017

As we gear up for the second half of the year, one area that remains a constant in the world of packaging is the importance of image. Beauty might be in the eye of the beholder but looking good leads to feeling great, and social media’s dominance means it is no longer enough to simply look good. Beauty seemingly counts for naught unless your followers are able to see it.

Starting from Korea, there has been an increasing movement towards multistep beauty regimens for consumers: the more complex or the greater the number of steps means a more beautiful you. This complexity has spilled over into packaging itself. The formats of yesterday were purely functional and were designed strictly to preserve the contents inside each package. But now consumers demand that packaging is photogenic and can lead with its shelf presence, like a work of advertising art. Packaging is now being designed to look good on social media with unique looks, colour or shape serving as the main methods of advertising the product rather than traditional commercial advertising streams. Conferences and events are filled with printers and designers extolling the virtues of packaging as an advertising format that does not switch off, instead sitting in our homes as a constant branding beacon. Premium brands have long known the importance of appearance but today the packaging of the most humble mass good is following suit. This obsession with the aesthetic is in turn leading to exciting developments in convenience and the use of packaging and dispensing systems. These systems not only provide the form and function needed to safely deliver the product into our hands as consumers but also make the experience of using the product exciting, engaging or even just cool. This merging of form and function, protection and creativity is a welcome step in the evolution of packaging from its mass-market approach to the age of the individual and personalised packaging.

Digital print allows personalised, high-quality images to be applied to packaging and engage us on the shelves while developments in contract packaging, explored later in this publication, mean that smaller, more complicated packaging runs can be performed. If there is a theme to this edition of Packaging Today, image would certainly be a lead contender. There is the exploration of trends and drivers in the personal care and cosmetics market with GlobalData and a preview of the upcoming Packaging Innovations and Luxury Packaging show in London. I hope you enjoy these features as well as stories on travel-size packaging and insight from the world of design and, as always, I wish you happy reading.

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