Minimalist Package Design Is Making A Bigger Impact On Over-Crowded Shelves
Our markets and grocery stores have come a long way when compared to those of a century ago. Shoot, even 50 years ago we saw a much different scenario than we see today. Fewer brands were available to choose from, and the packaging reflected it. Those needing flour and vanilla to bake a cake simply searched for the bright gold medal against a white background and a solid white label with black lettering indicating Dr. Price’s contribution to the confectionery world.
Remember when companies couldn’t spend $100,000 dollars to redesign their brand image? In truth, they had no need to. They provided goods to the public, everyone knew what those products were, and everyone trusted the intentions of those companies. Products spoke for themselves through consistent delivery of quality without the need for constantly updating the package design.
Today’s supermarket shelves vibrate with loud colors, graphics and images; so much so that it could throw a person into epileptic convulsions. An endless array of brands and products line the shelves with new items arriving daily. A kaleidoscope of colors and unprecedented container shapes threaten to leap into our shopping carts of their own volition before we’re even sure of what the package holds. Statistics from the advertising industry indicate most popular brands change their packaging designs after only 2 years. Shoppers barely have time to memorize their favorite products’ labels before they evolve into something completely different. Take a look at the radical brand shift that Seattle’s Best recently put into effect. I like Seattle’s Best. I also like their new packaging, but I had a hard time finding where the hell it went when they changed it up, because I was still looking for their old packaging on the shelf.
The Pressure to Stand Out:
By the 1960’s almost every home in America had a television, and an entirely new world of opportunity opened up to businesses. Times have definitely changed; technology has advanced, and competition has grown tremendously. Instead of 1 or 2 manufacturers of popular products, there are now 5 or 6, if not many more. Every company is under increasing pressure to stand out from their competition. When TV took hold, big dollar advertising really came into play with commercials ranging anywhere from $13,000 to millions of dollars for a mere 30 seconds of your attention.
In America, we make things faster, brighter, bolder, and louder — these qualities apply to every facet of our lives including our product packaging. In the never-ending struggle to become more eye-catching; colors became brighter and more prominent, packaging became bolder and more outlandish. Before we knew it, senseless gaudy characters were exploding from the facade of prepackaged produce. Juice appeared in bottles with a toy attached to the top. All this took place in an attempt to make each product stand out. Products became lost in the overwhelming attempt to catch the public eye, but have they currently reached a point where nothing is distinct? Have we made things too loud? Have our graphics become so bold that no one stands out on the shelf? I think perhaps this is true, at least to a certain degree, and many companies are making a bigger impact by being simply understated — another instance of the old “less is more” principle.
Relief from the Loud:
At one time, products impressed consumers with simple clean styling. Today, simple design can still impress and we can see it in brands such as Mercedes Benz and Bulova. There’s something to be said for clean lines and classic styling and using a minimalist approach can certainly help a brand stand out in today’s market. Pistachios Brand is a great example of simple graphic styling that really stands out on the shelves today. The microbrewery arena appears to be full of innovative designers many of whom are carving out shelf space with more minimalist designs.
Simply Making an Impact:
It’s hard to argue with millions of dollars in market research that says “make it loud!” But I dare any of you to take a step back next time your in the aisle and really take a look at what stands out. I think you might be surprised as to what catches your eye. Companies daring to use a minimalist approach in their designs for product packaging are in fact standing out from everything else on the store shelves. A little bit less. . . that’s all it takes to distinguish a product in today’s overpowering battle of the labels.