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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.

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Many of the rustic identity trends occur in primary packaging. In the fragrance category, the John Varvatos Artisan cologne is packaged in a glass flask wrapped in a hand-woven rattan material. The Diesel Fuel For Life cologne is housed in a weathered fabric material with loose stitching around the sides that feels like a vintage canteen. In addition to a rugged material or identity being part of the primary packaging, these rustic materials are also used in secondary packaging with a more traditional construction. In skin care, the Body Shop Hemp Heroes gift set is presented in a carton made from a material meant to resemble wicker, helping to communicate the environmentally friendly composition of the product.

Trend #2: Handmade/Collage

Designs that are inspired by collage or scrapbooks is another recent packaging identity trend popping up in multiple beauty categories. These identities often contain bright colors, hand-drawn elements and playful typography, referencing the playful nostalgia of a teenage bedroom wall. Others are more understated, with handwriting playing a central role in the logo mark or in the packaging design graphics. The overall look of the collage-inspired trend is artsy and hip, and creates a unique personality for the product. Many of the products embodying this identity seem to be skewed toward teen and tween markets.

The technique of this trend is combining elements that may be unexpected, whether they are materials or graphic elements. The design of Sarah Jessica Parker’s NYC fragrance utilizes a juxtaposition of colorful graphic patterns to create a visual representation of expressive fabrics and references to high fashion. Many of the packages that fall within this trend also utilize illustration. Urban Decay’s Show Pony Shadow Box features the work of LA artist Kime Buzzelli, known for her paintings of fashionable women with makeup running down their cheeks. Some of these packages even mix photography and illustration for a true collage reference—the design of Smashbox’s Heartbreaker palette has photos with a graphic photo edge layered onto faux handmade doodles, with a handwriting-inspired logo mark and the word “Hot” written in what looks like a teen girl’s handwriting.

In addition to colorful and playful collage and scrapbook designs, a more simple handwriting identity approach is also seen within this trend. These products generally have a clean color palette or very little color at all—most often in simple black and white. Victoria’s Secret Beauty Rush products and the fragrance Black by Kenneth Cole both have a handwriting graphic packaging design identity with clean black, white and gray color palettes. Lush has utilized the handwriting theme as the sole visual expression of the packaging for its handmade bath and body products, which is a more literal expression of the product itself.

Trend #3: Sustainable

The general green or eco-friendly trend has been going on for several years now, but brands are being challenged to push themselves beyond simply using recycled paper stocks or bottles. Many brands are going a step further and using truly sustainable, renewable, reclaimed, biodegradable, and vegan materials and ingredients in their beauty products—and in their packaging. In this trend, many of the packages that have sustainable packaging are for products also made with environmentally and ethically responsible ingredients.