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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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Many of the identities in this trend combine ordinary objects or elements that don’t normally go together for a clever twist, giving the brand a sense of whimsy. Benefit Cosmetics is probably best known for its unique brand, with retro graphics, fun product names and clever copy as components of its packaging identity. The Some Kind-A Gorgeous foundation has a round component decorated to look like a record, juxtaposing two objects that would normally not go together for a visual twist.

Other packages in this trend have unique, fun shapes as the primary packaging. Diesel’s Only The Brave men’s fragrance bottle is in the shape of a pounding fist, communicating the bold, dynamic scent as described in its messaging. Esteé Lauder Pleasures fragrance has a limited edition version of its package in the form of a detailed golden bird. In both these examples, the products are more prominently displayed in a user’s lifestyle (ie: on a nightstand), which warrants a more unique and sculptural approach similar to any other home accessories.

Although most of the identities in this category deal with shape and form, there are also techniques in the production of the package itself that can make it feel novel. These can include printing techniques such as die cuts, stamps and other embellishments that enhance the story or communicate a cute or funny message. For example, Sexy Little Things from Victoria’s Secret utilizes a hologram image on the front of the fragrance carton so that when rotated, it appears as if the model on the front is blowing a kiss.

Trend #6: Tropical/Beach

Many current examples of beauty brands utilize tropical-inspired packaging identities to communicate a lifestyle or scent of the product inside. Some of these identities are seasonal or have to do with the scent inside, while others communicate a beach-centric lifestyle in general. These packaging identities typically include bold, bright colors, tropical flowers and fruits and environmental references such as palm trees or beaches.

Pacifica is an example of a brand that uses a tropical-inspired look for its entire line—with bold, rich colors and large illustrative representations of the scents and ingredients inside. Bath & Body Works recently launched its Island Escape Signature Collection, with tropical names such as Fiji, Hawaii and Bali. The packaging identity for this line utilizes island-inspired typography, bold color and painterly representations of tropical flowers.