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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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Most of the sustainable packaging identities are material-driven. For example, the Body Shop Hemp Gift Set is contained in a box made from reclaimed materials such as rubber tires. The Urban Decay Sustainable Shadow Box comes in a renewable material bamboo case, with eye shadows in a tray made of recycled paper and the recyclable clear outer PET box. The sustainability trend also applies to the products themselves—EcoTools by Alicia Silverstone utilizes renewable and vegan ingredients both in the products and the packaging. The bags are made with natural hemp material, recycled PET and nontoxic inks; the tools are made from highly sustainable bamboo handles, 100% cruelty-free bristles and recycled aluminum ferrules. For the secondary packaging, the cartons are made from 30% postconsumer recycled content and printed with nontoxic inks. Beauty brands are even receiving certification for their sustainability efforts; Cargo Plant Love, for instance, is a green line certified by Ecocert for being environmentally friendly in product, packaging and process.

Trend #4: Technological/Experiential

Technology-themed or -inspired identity is one of the newest trends in the beauty industry. With the ever-evolving nature and fast pace of technology, many brands have embraced this trend not only with their marketing efforts but with their product development and packaging identity as well. Many of the products in this trend are tied into full campaigns with social and new digital media to create a 360-degree brand experience. Sometimes the technology is in the packaging itself, or sometimes the overall design and theme is inspired by digital motifs and references. As with actual technology, there is also almost always an experiential element that creates a deeper brand experience and connection transcending the physical package.

Technology and user experience was the graphic theme for Givenchy’s Play fragrance, with the identity being inspired by the universal “play” symbol seen on MP3 and DVR players. The Play brand creates an additional user experience online, where users can register to listen to music or even create their own mixes. The technology trend in the beauty industry also involves providing a “bonus” technological device as a gimmick. For example, CK One and CK Be each have a limited edition that is packaged with a portable speaker that is compatible with MP3 players. In some instances, the technology can also be a vehicle for instruction. Stila has been on the forefront of this trend for the past couple of years; its Smoky Eye Talking Palette has a small microphone integrated into the palette that talks the user through each step in creating the look. Stila has really taken the technology trend in beauty to the extreme with the recent launch of its Makeup Player, a makeup case and kit that has a dock for an Apple iPod to play instructional videos or music.

Trend #5: Pop Culture

The entertainment business is no stranger to brand promotion, with product cameos being a part of almost every movie and TV show. With pop culture in general, the worlds of art and commerce have become blurred, and the beauty business is no exception to this rule. The trend of integrating entertainment and pop culture themes into beauty packaging is becoming common in the color cosmetics industry, where the look of character makeup and daily makeup is becoming blurred and younger markets are wanting to recreate the looks seen in their favorite movies. Marketers are taking note and building on these strong brand relationships.

In general, the vampire trend is one of the biggest in pop culture—this is being mirrored in vampire-themed beauty, where the modern vampires are more glamorous than their mid-century counterparts. Twilight seems to be the most popular vampire inspiration in the beauty industry, most likely due to the large (and lucrative) teen audience following (see “Licensing Color: Movie-inspired Makeup”).