Vintage Packaging is Sweet Nostalgia!

www.marsdenpackaging.comWith the marketplace saturated with products, we, the consumers often rely on the packaging to help us to make our purchase decision. Our supermarket shelves are stacked high with the promise of tasty decadent treats and confectionery, and its not unusual for the packaging to be as decadent in design as the treats within.

But recent research shows that packaging covered in text and images overwhelms the customer, and for this reason, simple, stylish packaging is becoming increasingly popular, with a “less is more” approach. The upshot is that recently there has been a trend towards retro packaging design, something we are calling “Sweet Nostalgia”.

The style is driven by hand-lettered typographic-driven images, combined with retro icons, and vintage pastel colors. The overall feeling of much of the packaging is a trip to a retro sweetshop, invoking memories of childhood days and the clinking of pocket money coins in your pockets!

The design elements which define “Sweet Nostalgia” include:

Kitsch vintage typography
Pastel colors and bold vertical stripes
Handwriting vs. block fonts
Spots and polka dots
Mix of retro and slanted fonts

Much of the packaging displays individually drawn compositions of free-hand typography which are combined with layouts inspired by vintage chalkboard menus. The words themselves vary in font from one line to the next and simple frames or polka dot backgrounds all add to the vintage feel.

Colours are pastel and communicate the flavours within, pigments of orange, green and pink corresponding to orange, mint and strawberry flavours. This approach moves away from previous trends where graphic designers struggled with communicating taste complexity, providing confusing, over exaggerated packaging in an attempt to relay the decadence within. Modern packaging comes from the opposite camp, by embodying a beautiful simplicity that conveys what’s inside without saying much!

Whispering indulgence and quality rather than shouting in your face about it!

Which type of packaging is best for your products?

The world of packaging is often regarded with something close to fear by the uninitiated: worries over the best sort of packaging to use, whether to go for minimalist or luxury and how to keep packaging costs to a minimum tend to be just some of the worries expressed by many owners of small businesses.

When thinking about the best type of packaging for your products, it’s sensible to think about what sort of packaging you might need.  The priority needs to be to find packaging that’s functional and will protect the contents; think about the various situations your product will need to function in – will it be sent through the post? Will it be stored for long periods?  How will it be displayed?  Will it need to opened and then re-sealed?

The next issue to put some thought into is labelling.  Labelling needs to strike the balance between the supply of adequate information about the product within; whilst avoiding information-overload and ensuring compliance with any legislation.  Don’t forget that your packaging will also need to include information on how to handle or open the product.

Packaging plays a very important role in the marketing of your product and you’ll need to spend time ensuring that your product’s packaging reflects the quality of the product inside and your corporate image.   For products that will be displayed in a shop, packaging should be designed in a way that helps to sell the product.

Packaging tends to be divided into a couple of main categories, ranging from simple bags or bubble wrap through to specially designed and printed boxes or cartons.  Cardboard boxes are widely used to transport goods whilst in transit and this type of packaging only requires very simple information such as ‘do not stack’ or ‘this way up’ plus your product name and contact details.

Printed board cartons which bear product images, brand logos, usage instructions, ingredients lists etc can also be designed to include clear plastic window inserts; this tends to be a fairly expensive form of packaging and you’ll need to take into account the additional cost of carton filling.  Cans, bottles and liquid cartons can be produced in a huge range of different shapes and sizes, for display on shelves.  Point of sale material covers everything from counter display stacks through to price stickers should also be taken into consideration.

The price of different types of packaging varies enormously and finding the right product packaging can turn into a real headache, especially for newly-established small businesses.  Shopping around is without a doubt the best way to begin.  Don’t forget that buying in bulk is a great way to save money but if you’re understandably wary about committing yourself to paying for a large order, some packaging companies offer the opportunity for small companies to ‘piggy back’ onto the production run for a larger manufacturer.

Packaging can be used to set yourself apart from your competitors and it’s worth bearing in mind that well-designed, attractive packaging doesn’t cost more than badly designed packaging that’s frustrating to handle or open.  Use packaging as an opportunity to create a valuable point of difference and you could be onto a winner.