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2011 Beauty Packaging Identity Trends

By: Aniko Hill
Posted: April 7, 2011, from the April 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

A prime example of the trend for geometric/desconstructed shapes, the bottle for Bang by Marc Jacobs actually looks like a smashed piece of industrial metal, which is a clever reference to the product name.

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Alternative shapes, in both primary and secondary packaging, is one of the newer trends in beauty packaging. Many of these packaging identities are nontraditional in form, and have characteristics such as severe angles, geometric forms or deconstructed approaches to the form of the package. Many of the examples in this trend category are the packaging equivalent to a Frank Gehry building in architecture.

In some packages within this trend, both symmetrical and asymmetrical geometric forms are utilized in the primary packaging to give the component visual interest. L’Occitane’s Cherry Blossom Body Lotion and Shower Gel are packaged in an asymmetrical, multipaneled bottle—creating a split front panel where package messaging is divided. This trend is also seen in secondary packaging in nontraditional cartons; the home fragrance category has been utilizing unique carton structures for quite some time. In beauty, both Aveda’s Massage Oils and Benefit’s Girl Meets Pearl have a hexagonal multi-panel carton to accommodate a round primary package inside.

In this trend, alternative shapes are also taken one step further with the use of deconstructed shapes. In these examples, the form is intentionally interrupted or damaged for an overall edgy look or to enhance the meaning of the product name. This trend is more prominent in the fragrance category, where it is typical to invest more in a proprietary bottle shape. Many instances of these deconstructed shapes are seen in men’s fragrance packaging—for example, Bang by Marc Jacobs fragrance actually looks like a smashed piece of industrial metal, which is a clever reference to the product name. Thierry Mugler’s A*MEN Sunessence fragrance has a deep emboss of a multifaceted representation of the asymmetrical brand mark that appears to be “carved” out of the glass bottle.

From the front angle, this technique makes the package look as though the glass has been broken or that a piece of the bottle is missing.

Multipaneled shapes also appear in forms that are not deconstructed in nature—for example, in Emporio Armani’s Diamonds fragrance, the chiseled effect of the glass and the panels are a pretty representation of the cuts in a diamond.

Trend #2: Japanese