Making sure that Pack designs are ‘on trend’ seems to be an industry buzz-word. Sure, it’s important that your pack design looks contemporary but should this be at the risk of looking like everything else thats out there?
Sticking to these trends also create situations where design executions are shoehorned into a brand. Form should follow function, not the other way round.
Design trends seem to work against the core principles of branding and differentiation. If you want to stand out from the crowd then why follow the same design trends that all your competitors are also following? It also makes showcasing a unique selling point much more difficult.
Fundamentally, the end design should answer the brief. That’s sacrosanct. It should also force differentiation and explain to consumers (and buyers) why they should use you and not your competition. If Brand X looks the same as Brand Y, you have got a mighty difficult task on your hands!
This desire to stay ‘on-trend’ with packaging design can also affect agency offers. I have had a few conversations with clients where they have mentioned to me that they were considering changing their design agency because the designs that their current agency had created (for both themselves and other brands) were looking too similar.
Some design agencies have a very distinct core style, and that’s fine if that’s what you feel is right for the brand. However, if you are paying your design agency to come up with a variety of different options, that’s what they should do, not present back variations on a theme.
Design is about problem-solving, not dipping into a library of pre-created assets and force fitting them into the design ideas.
It is important for design team to draw on a wide range of inspirations and references. This makes for a much richer and rewarding solution.
If you’d like to see how we create differentiation for brands, you can see more of our work here.