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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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DuWop’s new Twilight Venom and Lip Venom V are literally named for the popular vampire series Twilight, “[blending the] human and vampire worlds” with these plumping products inspired by the “fresh bitten lips” from the movie. Julie Hewett’s Twilight Palette is also based on the series, with four eye shadows that allow users to create their own vampire-inspired look. In addition to general pop culture themes, beauty brands are also creating products licensing specific entertainment franchises. Urban Decay’s Alice in Wonderland Book of Shadows (as pictured on this issue’s cover and featured in “Licensing Color: Movie-inspired Makeup”) is directly cross-promoted with Tim Burton’s new Alice in Wonderland movie, with a packaging identity directly mirroring the movie’s ad campaign and look and product names such as “White Rabbit” and “Jabberwocky.”

Trend #6: Typographic

All-typographic packaging identity solutions have been around for quite some time, but it seems that more and more brands are jumping on this look in both prestige and mass-market distribution channels. Even within their mostly simple visual design sensibility, some of these identities are a bit more playful with clever naming and large type—others have more dense information and a clean, Swiss design aesthetic.

Philosophy was one of the first brands that utilized an all-typographic packaging identity, with intentionally stark black-on-white designs, conceptual product naming such as “Hope in a Jar,” and inspirational, “philosophical” copy that reinforces the meaning of the brand name. Modern Organic Products (MOP) in hair care and Malin + Goatz in prestige skin care also follow this trend, but both use splashes of bright color to identify categories and bring a bit more energy to the design. The naming of products within this trend is often clever to bring more personality to otherwise more simple identity—Bliss’s “Fat Girl Slim” cream and True Blue Spa’s “Shea It Isn’t So” are just a couple of examples in the skin care category. This identity approach is also being seen in mass-market with a bolder typography and impactful naming. Maybelline’s “The Colossal” mascara utilized large, bold, stacked type to give the feeling of large scale—directly mirroring the product benefits. Dermalogica’s Clean Start line also utilizes a large-scale typographic packaging design, with color splashes used to delineate different products.

Trend #7: Look-specific/Instructional

The instructional trend has been around for several years, but has almost become a requirement as consumers are expecting more from their product and brand experience. Almost every brand now has an instructional or look-specific kit, with the most common look in cosmetics being the smoky eye. This trend began with prestige products, but is now also widely seen in mass retail brands. It seems that almost every brand understands the everyday woman’s need for simplicity and instruction.

In the smoky eye palettes, Benefit’s Smokin’ Eyes and Too Faced Smoky Eye Palette both are a compact palette with colors paired together and diagrammatic instruction on specifically how to create the look. The smoky eye kit is now also widely seen in mass retail brands—Sonia Kashuk for Target is now selling a “How to Create a Smokey Eye Palette” and Cover Girl has a “How to Create a Smoky Eye Look” product and tutorial kit.

Trend #8: Masculine