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Natural Product Packaging

By: Red R. Thalhammer
Posted: December 10, 2007, from the December 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The entire design of a product, from the company’s story and its purpose to its ingredients and packaging, should reflect a successful synergy. This is particularly important in the arena of natural cosmetics and skin care. It is in fact essential to leave behind the dull side of eco-packaging and use green materials that go beyond what is just recyclable. With the diverse range of new sustainable and biodegradable materials that have become available in recent years, the packaging of cosmetic products finally has a chance to pave a new road in this saturated market.

The next step is to find a source for new materials. Material Connexion, a consulting agency with an extensive library of materials, can be a helpful resource. The organization offers innovative material solutions for any business idea. Andrew H. Dent, vice president of library and materials research, says that Material Connexion sees a trend in materials development that works with nature rather than against it. The box to the right features a selection of materials that are biodegradable and suitable for container manufacturing of cosmetic products.

“We are learning that natural systems for the production of materials are by necessity more efficient, less wasteful and inherently beautiful,” says Dent, “This selection mirrors this trend with biopolymers grown from plants, papers that either come from waste or act as compost, and the naturally tough and resilient properties of agricultural fibers, bark and grasses.”

The market leader that sets a good example is Aveda, whose clear ideology is reflected in every product through the use of sustainable packaging. Another successful brand is Pangea, first in the use of 100% compostable, biodegradable and plantable packaging for its products. Created from recycled postconsumer newsprint, the brand is able to keep its promise—always beneficial, never artificial—by manufacturing the product with zero waste and without any glues or dies. In addition, the off-center type and rawness of the drawings energizes the line. The combination of type, coloring and design goes all the way to the paper box, which reflects the beauty of all that is natural. Pangea has excelled at setting itself apart in a beautiful and sophisticated way.

In today’s digital and virtual world, our body care has become even more precious. In opposition to all that is technical, metal and material, consumers ache for natural and organic experiences. When creating a package design for natural skin care products, it is therefore essential to speak to the senses and invoke a fresh spirit. To gain preference in an overloaded marketplace, the communication of the brand’s story must be clear and sincere so that the consumer can relate to it and trust the product and its affiliated company.