One year after the introduction of the Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations 2015, packaging design teams have been making strides in the development of innovative, tactile solutions that enhance the ‘shelf presence’ of products, while using fewer raw materials.
Whilst it has become common practice for many brands to use more sustainable packaging, we are now seeing a shift towards innovation in order to stand out on the shelves. This is largely due to a change in attitude from the customer. Increasingly, they are looking for more than just an attractive box and expect a combined sensory experience.
Although visual elements are still the first way to entice customers to a product; brands are introducing features that appeal to our sense of touch with a more tactile feel. This has been seen recently in Sensodyne’s new packaging which used 3D bubbles and is designed to be so intriguing you feel compelled to touch the carton. Touch elements such as this create a feel of ‘luxury’, ‘quality’ and ‘freshness’.
The drinks industry has long been ahead of the pack when it comes to innovative designs. Coors was the first to introduce cold-activated bottles, where elements of the label turned blue to indicate the beer was at the perfect drinking temperature. Volksbier launched a can which mimicked the touch and feel of a transparent dimpled beer mug, to give consumers the experience of drinking out of a vessel that you would expect to find in a pub. These innovative designs provide an extended sensory experience, making the consumer feel like they are buying into something special.
Many of these innovations also reflect a shift away from the brightly-coloured, glossy packaging consumers associated with luxury goods in the past, and a move towards more natural-looking materials. Matt UV varnishes are replacing high-gloss veneers and subtle embossed printing is being used to attract the consumer’s eye.
With more innovative packaging solutions on the rise, brands have to reinvent their packaging constantly to keep ahead of the competition. Customers are now associating the touch and feel of a product with its quality, so brands need to find a way of incorporating this into their packaging designs. Whilst innovation is important, brands mustn’t sacrifice the sustainability of their packaging as this is still a core value with many consumers and can be used to help enhance and strengthen a product’s ‘shelf presence’.
Vince Kerrigan is Strategic Solutions Manager at brand communications agency, Vital Communications
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