By looking at the best packaging of the past year, one gets a picture of the world today. The task of the designer this year is clear: how can you articulate the value of the product in simple, approachable terms and connect with the consumer through the torrent of information?

We take a look at 4 emerging packaging trends:

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1. Simple & Clean

In many of the best packaging examples of the year, there has been clarity of purpose. The key to great packaging design is having an understanding of the purpose of the object and the thought process of their audience. In service of this, they have simplified the message and stated it clearly and boldly across the face of the packaging. These designs are text-based and say what they are in no uncertain terms. Brands are realising the value of a simple message in today’s crowded world. Simplicity doesn’t come across as lazy or unfinished but honest. This is the manifestation of the idea: clarify not simplify. These designs have identified exactly what the customer is searching for and has expressed it simply. It comes off as powerful and trustworthy. As customers walk along the aisles, they see one shining beacon that speaks to them in words you can understand and most importantly, connect with.

Living Proof (as seen above) was designed to challenge industry convention. No empty promises, just breakthrough technology, superior experience and great customer service. They observed that the beauty industry largely ignored the basic needs of consistency, simplicity, confidence, truth and responsibility. Since launching in 2009, received huge notoriety in the design world and been awarded a prestigious Art Directors Club Silver Cube, a One Show Bronze Pencil and a coveted D&AD Award all for its packaging design.

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2. Geometry

A leading trend for 2016 is the use of repeating geometric patterns and shapes. Pervading all areas of design from websites to fashion, patterns and geometry are also influencing packaging both in the simple aesthetic treatment of labels, and in the dies themselves, resulting in some interesting packaging that really stands out on the shelves. Look for bold, simple colours and unusual shapes.

Grazia is an eatery in Bogota, Colombia which has created a visual language to exalt the natural beauty of their fresh produce. Design firm p576 began with a graphic investigation of the ingredient forms, which were later developed into a series of patterns for use on all the packaging pieces. Art Director Arutza Rico Onzaga explains “we proposed a second brand element: lines that show the spatial structure of the objects and registers the logo position.” These elements, along with the simplified typography, define the brand’s sophisticated and modern style.

Design, Print and Packaging Photo Shoot at CADA Design

3. Ornately old fashioned

Another trend cropping up this year is the idealisation of the past—a longing for simpler times when things were cared for, hand crafted and detail-oriented. These designs are not simply regurgitating old forms and techniques, they are modernizing them and using them in contemporary ways. This new take on what is old is refreshing because it picks the best parts of different periods of our history and combines them. Designers are starting to realise the increasing rareness of endangered techniques like calligraphy, letterpress, and foiling. These artisanal practices grow more and more desired each year. To the customer, these techniques are increasingly novel and regarded with greater value. More excitingly, these techniques are being re-imagined in the context of mid-century layouts and applied to cutting-edge materials.

L’orchidee are long standing clients of CADA’s, working on their packaging, signage and menu design. CADA created a series of multicoloured tins to house the tea’s and offer a customer experience upon point of purchase. The tin becomes more than just packaging, but decoration.

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4. Sustainability

We’re currently a growing need felt by consumers to ensure that the products they use cause the smallest possible impact on the environment.

Millennials are an eco-conscious bunch and this had left businesses feeling pressure to be more sustainable. As a result, packaging that reduces the carbon footprint associated with the production, shipping and retail of a product is becoming ever more popular. This includes the likes of reusable packaging, and the use of recycled materials to produce packaging, but also the development of bioplastics to replace traditional oil-based plastics.

Boxed Water Co. not only looks trendy, but the entire carton is recyclable and 76% of the box is made of paper from well- managed forests. Since plastic, glass and paper can all be recycled, you might be wondering why paper is better. Lee says recycling paper creates less of a carbon footprint: recycling plastic takes three times more carbon dioxide than paper. Then there’s the fact that plastic and glass never fully decompose, unlike paper, so eventually they will still end up in a landfill.

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