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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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Established brands not previously utilizing designs such as these are picking up on this trend—Smashbox recently launched its Wicked Lovely collection, creating a more overtly edgy look to the products and packaging when compared to the brand’s signature line. In addition to existing beauty brands that are creating rock-inspired products, many of the newer players within this trend have roots in fashion or entertainment. For example, Ed Hardy’s signature images are now also being expanded into skin care and fragrance lines. Tattoo stars are also creating lines to capitalize on this trend. Kat Von D, the lead in the reality series LA Ink, recently launched a line in partnership with Sephora.

Trend #7: How-to Kits

Many cosmetics brands now offer an instructional kit that pairs products together with detailed instructions to create ease and education for the consumer. These kits are often positioned to introduce the consumer to a few products and the brand in hopes of creating future loyalty. The efficiency of the kits and education create an added value and benefit, and kits are often discounted as compared to buying the products a la carte. Bare Escentuals’ Get Started Kits and Too Faced’s Eye Shadow Insurance Policy both illustrate this trend.

In this trend, products are usually paired with printed or video instructions included in the package. Smashbox’s Masters Class has a DVD enclosed to instruct the user in the application of the makeup included in the kit. Look-specific tutorials are also very popular—for example, brands such as Bare Escentuals, Benefit, Cargo and Too Faced all have smoky eye kits. Visually, the packaging identity within this trend usually features photography of a model or an illustration of the part of the face the products address paired with straightforward typography. Color palettes are typically more muted and the product offering is often displayed right on the front of the package.

Trend #8: Cause Packaging

Current research shows that corporate association with a cause is a plus for women when making purchasing decisions—and it’s clear that many beauty brands have taken note. The packaging identity for these cause products usually does not deviate much from a company’s core identity, but is often modified slightly with a color change or a supporting symbol or logo. For example, L’Oréal’s Color of Hope Cosmetics Collection is very similar to the typical L’Oréal branding, but utilizes a hand-inspired treatment of the word “hope” to give the line its own identity. Smashbox’s Pink Power Kit combines a white ribbon with the brand’s logo type treatment and uses a pink background, as opposed to the usual black, fusing the cause and the brand visually.

Many of the causes seen in this trend are female-oriented, but some are not necessarily gender-specific. For example, Make-up designory’s MUDCares Palette donates toward NextAid, an organization helping children in Africa orphaned by AIDS. Kiehl’s World AIDS Day Lip Balm benefits YouthAIDS.