The old standard for packaging design used to be “make sure it stands out on the shelves”. Recently this has changed to include “stands out in social media” as well.
Instagram alone currently has over 800 million active users and over 60 million photos are uploaded every single day. With so much of the population scrolling through the Instagram photo stream it’s easy to see how it can be such a great advertising tool. With that comes a new concern, how do you stand out amongst the other square photographs enough for the consumer to stop and pay attention?
Instagram basically captures a moment. Each photo represents part of a lifestyle, a story, and as an advertiser, you want that lifestyle to be both on trend and also desirable.
One of those trends is the “flat lay”. The basic principle of this is a photo taken from above of a variety of products and items that all work together for one reason or another. Flat lays are not only super popular right now, but they are also a very easy and fun way to showcase a story. Finding a way to incorporate your products and brand into these stories can affect your packaging and product design. What shapes/styles can work best with a flat lay? Becoming part of a consumers “flay lay story” (ie. Their lifestyle) is a great way to advertise to their followers.
Filters and controls are another factor that you need to keep in mind. Since the beginning of Instagram, photo filters have been a big part of what sets it apart. Taking into account the user’s ability to quickly edit a photo containing your product with a simple tap of a button is a really big deal. You want to make sure your product doesn’t lose its identity when a filter is applied. In the past, tests were done to see how a product would look printed on black/white newsprint for newspaper ads; nowadays, tests are done to see how it will look under different photo filters. Neat, right?
The material used is also a big part of this. If the product is in a glass bottle – how does the glass reflect? If it’s see through, can you see the label on the back side? As for design, bright, bold and simplified with less copy is a good starting point to ensure that the product still is recognizable and interesting even in a small pixel photograph. A bright white type against a bold colour field is a lot more photo friendly, for example.
Creating a more simplified package isn’t everything though as there still needs to be interest and storytelling. The balance of creating interest on screen and in person needs to be weighed carefully as a really plain package could easily be lost on the shelf, while a very detailed package could be lost in a shared photograph. Smart use of interesting colour combos, patterns and details are a great way to accomplish this.
Another aspect of packaging design that has become extremely important in part due to social media is flavour systems above core packaging. Using different colour stories, patterns or textures to signify flavours/scents/etc has become standard within the industry as an effective way to both remain brand recognition and also uniqueness. La Croix is a great example of this! With 21 flavours and counting, the brand is extremely visually identifiable, and has also become very trendy and part of many instagrammers daily stories.
Packaging design is an ever-evolving practice that is impacted by so many factors, including trends, technology, supplies, product, etc. The idea of wanting a product to stand out is also evolving with the mediums in which a product is advertised. Utilizing the popularity of social media platforms such as Instagram as and advertising tool is a no brainer. It is trendy, hip, free (or very low cost), and connects you with a huge audience which you also have the ability to narrow down using hashtags. That being said, companies now need to take this into consideration and ask the important questions that go along with it.
How will this look in a photograph taken by an amateur? Will my product not get lost behind photo filters? Would it be appealing in a flat lay as part of someone’s daily story? And so on.
Look for packaging design to continue to evolve, and if you need any assistance with making sure yours hits all the right notes, give our design team at Source Nutraceutical a shout today!