630 words / 4 minute read

Before we wind down the pace to enjoy our eighteenth Christmas this millennium (!!), we take a peek at 2019 and anticipate some interesting trends we think will gather a lot more momentum next year and beyond.

And before you sneak off for that glass of fizz and mince pie… no, we’re not talking Smart and Sustainable packaging. I think we’d all agree these are a little more than “trends to watch” right now.

Whilst we reshape our industry around new technology, it doesn’t necessarily dominate proceedings. In fact, there’s plenty of new strategies that could shape the future of packaging just as much. Not technology exclusively, but new ways of thinking.

So as our final wrap-up for 2018, here are 4 inventive trends we think could become bigger news in the coming months.

01 Unpackaging

No, we don’t mean no packaging, but the brand experience delivered in the unpackaging moment. The #unboxing hashtag shows no sign of abating and whilst the unpackaging moment has always played a formidable role, we think there’s a lot more to come in this territory.

For luxury brands, ‘unpackaging’ is the ‘silent brand ambassador’ presenting the product to the consumer. As digital creates more and more home retail occasions, the unpackaging moment needs to deliver that hand-crafted, personal and diligent precision consumers would experience in traditional luxury retail.

It’s something we’re going to invest more focus in next year, so watch this space.

02 User Experience

We’re big exponents of user experience and its impact across all our lives, from packaging, to products and software. Whilst this could be framed within ‘unpackaging’ we see this more about the longer-term role secondary packaging plays in the consumption cycle and how we engineer the experience, with ‘addictive gestures’ to create something consumers enjoy and come back to.

More than just a brand experience tool, it’s a powerful sustainable proposition too. Materials won’t solve the sustainable challenge alone; the long-use packaging strategy is going to see a lot of growth.

03 “Instagrammable”

Is that a word? It’s certainly a growing demand, especially in the luxury beauty sector. The power of social influencers can be awesome. And packaging design which translates well on Instragram (and wider social media channels) is going to create powerful content for influencers and communities to share.

Designing for the Instagram generation goes beyond the retail moment. It pushes brands to ‘shorthand’ the brand story in the design and create simple visual theatre in the #unboxing moment.

Whilst some luxury brand owners will view the Instagram generation as peripheral to their high-net worth core customer, dismiss it at your peril. The channels for brand discovery are becoming so proliferated, brands need the agility of social media to work for them.

04 Disruptive Materials

As sustainability encourages us to evaluate the materials we use and push for sustainable sources, it’s going to push us even further afield. The domination of plastic and paper is going to see other sustainable materials grow in consideration.

Particularly for luxury brands looking to differentiate and disrupt, there are powerful stories to tell through metals, wood, fabrics and new materials (like carbon fibre).

2019 – The revolution grows

Our industry has a big role to play in the coming industrial revolution. We have big responsibilities in building a sustainable future and big opportunities to change packaging’s role in the brand communication mix. But we’re more than passive agents here; we have a chance to use these tools strategically and help brand owners re-appraise the role packaging plays in the next 10 or 20 years. What we label as trends today, will be service verticals by this time next year!

Thanks for reading over 2018, we’ve enjoyed your company. Enjoy the festive season and get ready for future. It’s only a couple of weeks away!