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2010 Beauty Packaging Identity Trends

By: Aniko Hill
Posted: April 6, 2010, from the April 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

Designs that are inspired by collage or scrapbooks is a recent packaging identity trend popping up in multiple beauty categories. Many of the packages that fall within this trend also utilize illustration, such as Urban Decay’s Show Pony Shadow Box—featuring the work of LA artist Kime Buzzelli.

  • Being aware of fads can be critical information to a brand manager.
  • To communicate eco-friendly, brands are being challenged to push themselves beyond simply using recycled paper stocks or bottles.
  • Many of the products embodying the handmade identity seem to be skewed toward teen and tween markets.
  • Technology-themed or -inspired identity is one of the newest trends in beauty industry, with an experiential element that creates a deeper brand experience and connection transcending the physical package.

Marketers follow and analyze trends in all touchpoints as part of their strategy work in order to determine how to best differentiate a brand. In the beauty industry, in particular, packaging plays a central role in the brand experience, and being aware of packaging identity trends can be a great indicator of industry trends as a whole. Packaging is often the first contact a consumer has with a brand, and can significantly influence purchase decisions.

Like every brand touchpoint, a package design should be an authentic expression of the company and product and should transcend current trends. Some trends come and go very quickly, while others evolve to become commonly accepted staples. Being aware of fads can be critical information to a brand manager or business owner—they may want to follow them to be perceived as current and up-to-date, or they may want to intentionally avoid them in order to stand out in the crowded marketplace.

The following examples illustrate just a handful of current beauty industry packaging identity trends taking place in 2010.

Trend #1: Rustic/Rugged

An emerging trend in the premium beauty market is a rustic or rugged packaging identity, found mostly in men’s products and in products that are composed of natural or eco-friendly ingredients. The packaging itself is not necessarily environmentally friendly or sustainable, but is used to convey casual sensibility or communicate a natural or eco-friendly product composition. This identity trend is mostly material-driven, and many of these packages have a handmade artisan feel to them and embody the brand personality of the product inside. In the men’s products, this look can also create an intentionally understated or down-to-earth presentation to differentiate from more slick or pretty female-targeted products.