A Timeless Approach to Modern Packaging Design.

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What does modern mean to you? Your answer will probably differ from other professionals reading this article. To say that the definition of modern is broad would be an understatement. You may miss your target market if you create a Modern packaging design based on what you feel modern designs should be.

If you leave subjectivity to a professional designer, then you’re even less likely to meet earning expectations since they know less than you do about your ideal consumer.

We have said many negative things about getting it wrong, but with the right modern packaging, you can grab potential customers with pinpoint accuracy. How we get to this point requires us to rethink the following question.

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What is Modern Packaging?

To start, the definition of “modern” leaves out an important point about current industry trends. It leaves out the fact that the past always comes back around to become, once again, modern. We see this directly in packaging design trends with brands like Onda in Miami Vice theme designs.

Sometimes, a brand looks into history when considering a more current packaging design, but not always. To reach our target audience with a modern design, we must first know who our target audience is. What does modern mean to them? Look at their clothing style, household design, and the music they listen to so you have insights into what modern is through their lens.

The actual definition of Modern is “relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past.” Remote past is the keyword here since it shows a recent history rather than centuries ago.

The modern man looks to the early 1900s for shaving products. Modern women wear jeans that peaked in popularity in the late 80s and 90s. We say this to reinforce how we don’t have to look to the future to find a modern design that our current consumers will love.

Types of Modern Packaging Designs

The design element for modern packaging has a different definition than modern packaging components. Here, the consumer is looking for innovation. Nobody wants to go back to a time when packaging was difficult to open, made from unhealthy products, and didn’t preserve the ingredients inside.

The best creative packaging designs are those that solve problems both in packaging and in appeal. A contemporary packaging design could have a hippy era look but with the practicality of current times. Get this right with your modern package design and watch as your product revenues climb.

Modern Logo Design

Establishing a strong brand identity requires more thought than looking at consumers in the here and now. A modern logo design needs to have a forecast component, so brand identity is maintained through many label design changes.

For this reason, simplicity is important for logo branding. The more elements you have with your logo design, the more risk that it lessens the impact. The right designers with years of experience understand this, and while it sounds strange to pay more for less, it’s the best approach for logo design.

Straight Line Designs

A commonly held assumption about modern packaging is that, where possible, the lines should be clean and straight. If you look at modern food packaging, you see plenty of examples where brands opt for modern square or rectangle box designs vs. cylinder packaging.

But don’t assume that a clean and stylish packaging design is always the best idea. Test this against more unique packaging with a shapely appeal to see how it performs. At SmashBrand, we like the saying “strong ties loosely held.”

Minimalist Packaging

A good portion of CPG categories embraces minimal designs. This trend works for some industries but not so well for others. Before assuming a minimalist design is a way to grab attention, determine if it will make your brand stand out or become invisible against competitors.

In the noisy sports nutrition industry, brands like Gaspari Nutrition have accomplished this. You wouldn’t assume their pre workout graffiti design to be modern, but it is. They looked at the tattoo industry, the trend in the city-approved graffiti art, and artist sketches noticing how graffiti went from a punishable crime to a respected industry.

This packaging is minimal by comparison but stands out against noisier products.

Modern Materials

The packaging industry now has access to modern packaging materials that can further a trending look. Aspects like recessed fonts, raised fonts, matte finishes, foil finishes, and every other form of packaging element make a modern design from any era stand out.

Modern Color Schemes

The illustration of your graphic design begins with finding the right color scheme. Most do not think of bold colors with modern designs. Instead, focus on basic or pastel colors throughout their product packaging. We would agree with this to a point, but say that the modern design uses a bright color only when necessary.

As mentioned, many categories have latched on to the 80s Miami Vice theme. Returning to the brand, Onda, you see how they haven’t flooded their product packaging with bold colors but use them in a specific proportion to separate one from the other.

Modern Fonts

After you’ve decided on the purchase drivers and chosen a color scheme, it’s time to choose the best font for your packaging. Having the correct typography makes it easier for your message to go from package to consumer. The question is, how do you create a modern, stylish package design while keeping fonts clean and easy to read?

Actually, most overthink this process. As we expect modern fonts to be clean in almost every product category. Even the wildest illustration should stick to fonts that prevent squinting.

Canva recommends 50 different fonts that they believe to be modern by design. All of them avoid straining the eyes.

Appeal To a Modern Story

Here we find a type of modern that does not trend toward history. A modern story is timeless, current, and sometimes both. Either our lives have struggles that started at the beginning of time, or they are because of recent innovations.

A modern packaging design speaks to the busy mom who is juggling many responsibilities. How so? One example would be in coffee packaging design, where you address the hopes and desires of the busy mom with subtle notions of calm and simplicity.

We guarantee that product packaging that screams at mom will not result in greater purchase intent.

A current packaging design finds inspiration at the moment. When your product packaging design matches the tangible interests of the buyer, along with a modern story appealing to the consumer, you have a repeat purchase formula.

Modern Box Design

The modern box isn’t all that different from those of years past. What has changed in current packaging is its ability to become shapely with design elements that make it stand out. This is one way we can create a balance with contemporary packaging offering a new feature for those “history repeats itself” trends.

Yes, secondary box packaging increases your cost. However, when we test it against bottles alone, most times, we find that box product packaging is a worthwhile investment.

Sustainability in Modern Packaging Design

In this modern world, there’s a certain level of expectation for all products to have a sustainable packaging design. Eco-friendly packaging now expands beyond the natural products industry. Now, mainstream brands across all grocery store aisles implement this as a marketing strategy.

The question isn’t should you use packaging from reusable materials but is, but how can you link sustainable with modern?

Having worked with thousands of clients at SmashBrand, we understand that sustainability doesn’t guarantee more sales and greater profits. We may put the blame on the messaging, but the blame mostly lies in the difference between what consumers say they want vs. what happens at the point of purchase.

Modern Means Convenience

One thing that is absolutely true in our busy world is that we lean towards convenience. Sure, there are cult followings for every category where people appreciate taking their time, but convenience means greater sales unless it’s a category we are passionate about.

This doesn’t mean that your product needs to be in a blister pack at the register of a convenience store. We are talking about simpler ways to open a package, pour spots that prevent spilling, pre-measured serving sizes, and anything that encourages convenience.

Pineapple is a good example. You could buy a pineapple, wait for it to ripen, cut it, and remove its core. Or, you could grab a freshly cut pineapple chunks pack from the produce department. Which will you choose?

Modern Testing For Product Packaging

We’ve mentioned testing your products a few times, but we need to reiterate its importance. Why would you risk your product’s performance when there’s a scarily accurate way to predict how your product will perform in a retail setting?

As SmashBrand, we use a proprietary testing process that places your product in a simulated buying environment against its competitors. This process gives you real-time feedback on how a design will perform, which is more often than not, different from what a brand and its packaging designers assume.

Modern Packaging Design Agency

Want a winning brand? SmashBrand does more than make a good design. Our packaging process makes certain that your product performs on the shelf. Unlike many packaging design companies, we believe that great packaging is determined foremost by the volume of sales it generates rather than its artistic value.

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