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Beauty Packaging Identity Trends

By: Aniko Hill
Posted: April 30, 2009, from the May 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

Rock ‘n’ roll- and tattoo culture-inspired is one of the latest trends in beauty, and bled over from a trend that has been taking place in fashion for the past few years. Ed Hardy is one manifestation.

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Some brands fall within the vintage or whimsical packaging identity trend for a product or sub-brand within their line, while others have made this look an integral part of their overall brand. Benefit Cosmetics has consistently used the connection between clever copy and visuals for a fun and vibrant brand experience. In addition to the images of pin-up women and mannequins, Benefit expands on the vintage theme through images of mid-century superhero cartoons, late 19th century medicinal packaging and even 1980s airbrush-style imagery. Illustrations are always paired with appropriate product naming and copy, creating a look and feel referencing the era being portrayed and an overall fun and spunky brand personality.

Trend #3: Regal

Packaging with an overall regal or luxurious look is another common trend found in beauty today. This look is sometimes achieved with graphics alone through the use of detailed French-inspired patterns and framed decorative elements reminiscent of royal seals, usually executed through a symmetrical design. Color palettes are typically rich, with jewel tones used as the most common palettes. Too Faced’s Lash Injection Antidote utilizes regal elements with a simple and inexpensive graphic label, but creates a twist on the theme with a fresh and modern color palette. Script logo and copy fonts are also seen in this trend, lending an additional touch of formality. Extra touches such as tassels, ribbons, raised metal and jeweled embellishments are also seen in product packaging within this trend. For example, Guerlain’s Kohl Kajal Eyeliner has silk ribbon at each end for an extra touch of luxury, and True Religion’s eau de parfum spray has a raised decorative design with a rhinestone embedded into the package.

Juicy Couture has been on the forefront of this look for more than 10 years, beginning in fashion with their signature velour track suits and more recently expanding into beauty. Juicy’s iconic logo seal—containing two Scottie dogs, two Js and a crown—is framed with a ribbon containing the brand name. The juxtaposition of these offbeat elements executed in a classic style is a modern twist on a traditional regal seal. Juicy consistently executes its regal look through its graphics, photography and fabrics, creating a meaningful brand experience regardless of the trend.

Trend #4: Cosmetic As Accessory

One of the most important parts to creating a successful consumer lifestyle brand is to create a relationship where the consumer is proud to identify with the brand. Beauty companies seem to understand this concept, and many are creating products that either look like a fashion accessory or have a keepsake attached to the package. Both concepts create a lasting brand identity—the idea is customers will show loyalty to the brand through proudly carrying these pieces with them just as they would any other accessory.

Many of the cosmetics packages that illustrate this trend are bejeweled or leather-stitched for a beauty product that looks like a woman’s accessory. For example, Dior’s Lady Dior compact features embossed and stitched faux leather and sparkling metal, and even has handles and charms to resemble a real handbag. Tarte’s Eye Couture Day to Night Palette is executed with a cross-stitched faux leather and a flap to resemble a clutch purse. Typically, products with this extra attention to fashion, and its added production costs, are seen on items that are made to last longer and for the consumer to carry on-the-go, such as an eye makeup palette or a brush kit.