Packaging trends to watch in 2022

17 Feb 2022
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One of the most exciting elements of the packaging and label sectors is how quickly it shifts and evolves – the industry never stays still for long.

How consumers make purchase choices is a hugely influencing factor in how brands design their packaging and labels. Naturally, when market share is at stake, it falls to printers to stay one step ahead of changing demands and ensure that packaging stands out for all the right reasons.

So, what trends are on the packaging agenda in 2022?

Reconnecting with touch

It’s clear that tactile finishes are back on the priority list for brand owners and their printers. With the rapid rise in omnichannel and ‘hands off’ retailing, consumers are re-engaging with the important sense of touch.

Each human finger has around 3,000 individual touch receptors – so the tactile feel of a label or packaging has an enormous role to play in selling the value proposition of a product in the blink of an eye. It’s an approach known as ‘haptic marketing’, using delicate changes in the physical feel of a pack or product to convey a certain message beyond what words can achieve.

Adding more depth with tactile finishes can instantly uplift a pack to feel more premium and luxurious – without spiralling costs. For printers, it can be a very simple process.

Rotary screens, such as Kocher & Beck TecScreen™ – supplied by Creation – are perfectly suited for raised characters or embossing, adding a new dimension and more depth to label and packaging designs, all while adding high definition, consistent quality, accuracy and registration over even the longest print runs.

Metallics and contrast

In tandem with the rising demand for tactile finishes, metallic foil finishes are set to climb in use through 2022. Hot and cold foiling has been on a steady incline over the past several years, filtering down from high end beverage labels to more ‘everyday’ products as the technology behind it becomes more cost-effective.

The dazzling sheen of a foil material adds instant class to a label or pack design, as well as catching the eye on-shelf. Increasingly, designers are partnering hot and cold foil with other tactile finishes, and matt varnishes in particular. The contrast of shiny metallic finishes alongside chic, luxurious matt finishes provide a strong visual contrast without being jarring and looks great both on a physical store shelf and online.

Mindful design

Can packaging design influence the mood of the consumer looking at it? That’s one element of ‘neuromarketing’, the school of marketing theory that aims to understand how consumers respond psychologically to certain elements of the marketing mix, then reverse engineering this process to illicit consumer responses to products.

Previously, loud, vibrant packaging was used to engage by creating energy and excitement through elements such as colour blocking, solid lines and ‘graffiti style’ aesthetics. Now, brands are exploring the opposite route – can packaging soothe and calm consumers to create a sense of serenity? To this end, it’s likely that 2022 packaging and label design will see a refocus on pastels, softer gradients and clean lines.

The idea of influencing consumer mood with packaging’s visual elements poses a lot of extremely interesting questions about where branding and marketing could move in the future, far beyond labels and packaging.

While full of exciting potential, looking even further ahead, there is also the question of ‘is it responsible or ethical to intentionally or covertly influence the mood of the consumer with marketing?’. While the market explores this potential and looks to answer these questions, it’s clear that soothing mindful design is set to maintain a strong foothold through 2022.

Green is here to stay

The drive for sustainability is still hot on the agenda and it’s never been more important for brands to develop green supply chains. Countless studies show that the consumer is now actively seeking brands that project a sustainable image and can back it up, which gives real commercial weight to environmentally friendly products. In turn, this means that the printers they rely on have a key role to fulfil.

There are many ways that packaging printers can build a more environmentally friendly supply chain and putting the right reprographics support in place is a solid step forward.

One of the biggest challenges in sustainable business is carbon emissions. Every time there are press stops or reruns, there is more energy required and more carbon emitted as a result. This means errors or colour faults are not just creating waste in terms of material, costs, time and manpower, but come with more direct impacts on sustainability.

A partner such as Creation Reprographics, with expertise in colour management and brand protection, can minimise the risk of inconsistencies, errors and waste and put an extra layer of environmental protection into the equation.

In addition, Creation proudly champions solvent-free flexo plates. These innovative flexographic plates eliminate the need for harmful VOC solvent washout in pre-press. The plates also challenge the notion that sustainability means compromising in other areas such as speed or quality. The Creation collection of solvent-free plates actually boosts quality and precise registration, while also reducing makeready and drying times. Printers can truly have it all!

Looking to connect your print offering with today’s more mindful and engaged consumer? Make Creation Reprographics your go-to prepress partner and take advantage of our experienced team of packaging pros that help to turn ‘good on-screen’ to ‘outstanding on-shelf’.

With unmatched expertise in inks, equipment and origination, Creation can support printers of every size and help to deliver the print excellence demanded from today’s fast-paced market.

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