February 12, 2024

Dieline’s 2024 Trend Report on Packaging, Branding and Marketing Part 2

Trend on Text

The popularity of round and big fonts has grown, with many brands embracing more personality in their packaging and branding. This trend originated from the trauma caused by bland packaging and is now becoming more legible. Executive creative director Phil Garnham at Monotype believes that the nostalgia of these fonts is more about drama, creating formal drama in letter shapes that feel edgy but not too edgy. This font style has been seen in food and beverage, beauty brands and pet food. The evolution of these thick, fat fonts is uncertain, but it is a type designer’s dream.

Hostile Branding

Brands often aim to make themselves approachable to potential and current customers, but being indifferent or hostile can work to dazzling effect. This approach, sometimes called “hostile branding” or “anti-branding,” has existed for some time and is in high demand today. For example, Volkswagen USA‘s 1960s branding campaign highlighted the tradeoffs of its Beetles, highlighting their small size and appearance. Authenticity from a brand is in high demand, especially for 140 million Gen Zers and Millennials who spend most of their lives inundated with online advertising. 

Big Beer Nostalgia

Nostalgia is a powerful force that transports us to happier times or a retro-fueled break from modern life. Beer is often consumed among friends in times of festivity, so connecting to those memories through branding makes plenty of sense. In 2022, Molson Coors and Natural Light returned to their packaging from 1979, reacquainting older beer drinkers with the heritage brand while being “retro” cool with the younger crowd. Macro beer brands tapping into the visual stylings of the mid-century stand out, even no-ABV beer brands like Doublenaught-designed Stay Classy and Al’s.

Ribbed Glasses & Luxury Packaging

Ribbed glass bottles have gained popularity as a luxurious packaging option. Campari refreshed its bottle with embossed detailing, marking the brand’s first update in a decade. Perrier also worked with French designer Phillipe Starck to add an embossed twist to its classic packaging for a limited-edition release. Ribbed detailing often turns these vessels into keepsakes, allowing for repurposing after a single use. Ghia, a popular no-booze aperitif, also updated its bottle with ridges designed by Perron-Roettinger. The intricate ridges provide a tactile experience that engages consumers’ senses before they try the product. The textured or embossed glass becomes a memorable receptacle that lives rent-free in their heads. 

A Recycling Reckoning

Since the 1970s, Americans have been encouraged to recycle, but less than 10% of plastic in the US is recycled. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a “post-awareness era,” with consumers becoming more conscious about sustainability. Brandi Parker, a sustainability consultant, believes companies know the pressure to make sustainable changes from government policy, retail, consumers, and corporate goals. States are proposing bans on the recycling symbol, and plastic taxation laws may be introduced in the future. Retailers prioritize sustainable goods, such as REI’s Product Impact Standards by 2030 and Ulta Beauty’s Conscious Beauty. Sustainability is not a singular end-goal but an ever-evolving concept that encourages possibilities instead of limitations. .

You Better Shape Up

The packaging industry has shifted towards bold, geometric shapes, replacing intricate illustrations and food photography. These shapes are no longer confined to the background but have become the stars of the show, transforming from simple solid squares with typography to half moons layered with squiggly configurations. Window cutouts drive interest in packaging designs as they transform into dynamic design elements that make the goods inside an integral part of the brand aesthetic. Seachange’s packaging for Bennetts Chocolatiers uses geometric cutouts to create a stunning frame, enhancing the dessert’s rich, elegant, and delicious look.

Nouveau Deco

Art Deco-inspired design, originating in the 1920s and 1930s, is reshaping modern packaging designs with a blend of glamour and luxury. This movement, which combines elegance with an avant-garde sensibility, captures the essence of the Jazz Age and attracts consumers who seek nostalgia for vintage and classic products. Brands like Ami Ami, Etota, Renais Gin, and Le Ruse Wine incorporate this aesthetic into their packaging, showcasing refinement and a touch of escapism. 

Craftcore in the Age of AI

The use of AI tools like Firefly in design has been criticized for being an “assistant,” but the value placed on expertly handcrafted designs by humans will rise. Coca-Cola’s AI co-developed “Creations” flavor, “Y3000,” embodies an AI vibe but lacks a human touch. The final design possesses bulbous shapes, distortion effects, and overall shininess, resembling a highly evolved outlook of the future.

What’s Your Type

Brands increasingly use typography on packaging to communicate their identity, simplify product recognition, and emotionally engage consumers. Examples include Wildpack, a dog food brand that removes food photography and graphics, and Tekla, a brand dedicated to sustainability. Wildpack uses macro images of dog food and rustic illustrations, while Tekla uses refined minimalism to showcase the brand’s dedication to sustainability. Overall, typography can be a powerful tool for communicating a brand’s identity and engaging consumers.

Refills Systems Get Smart

Refillable systems, such as home cleansers, toiletries, and coffee, offer a value proposition of reducing environmental waste and single-use plastic. New brands now focus on convenience and avoiding plastic packaging, such as Puracy’s CANcel refill system, which uses aluminium cans for easy storage and recycling. KANKAN’s refills resemble tinned food with a thin lid, and brands are creating innovative dispensers. Coffee beans could also benefit from a refill system, with airtight metal cans keeping them fresher. While the ecological benefits of recyclable and refillable aluminium are evident, consumers may take time to embrace the concept. Brands are rethinking and improving refillable packaging systems, notably eliminating plastic pouches that provide a flawed user experience.

Click here to see Myerton’s range of sustainable packaging products for your food and beverage brand.


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