Corona – What changes for packaging and design?

07/07/2020

Packaging is the mirror of our time. Just as the needs and values of consumers are changing, so are the demands on packaging and therefore also on packaging developers.

With Corona we have to face a completely new crisis situation. A lot has changed since parts of the world have been locked down and the self-determined life with the usual need for freedom and individuality has changed. The distance regulations and hygiene rules clearly signalized the already newly defined regulations for safety and health in public spaces. Meetings, birthday parties, concerts and shopping tours have been increasingly or exclusively taking place digitally. As a result, many people have been asking themselves: Will we ever return to the old normality?

Times like these are unsettling and basically make the need for transparency and a clear line even more important – laying the cards on the table and communicating clearly, even as a company, is now even more important. But what exactly does all this mean for the packaging industry? You will find out in our 6 points on “Packaging in the crisis”.

1. Strengthening the regional trend in food

Corona makes a large number of consumers aware of the complex and long supply chains that are necessary in the food retail industry and of their effects on consumer goods. The already existing tendency to buy regional products will intensify even more and therefore, brands should be ready to react immediately to this trend.

Design opportunity: Stronger exposure of regional products or ingredients through visuals, icons, etc. on packaging and in communication.

2. Digitalization of consumer behavior and shopping behavior

In the future, packs will have to function even better when it comes to design on digital platforms. Simply taking a photo of the food retail pack will not do justice to the high standards of online retailing. In the future, we will have to take two shots: One for the retailer, and another especially designed for the web which offers buying incentives and is also suitable for small screen devices.

Design opportunity: Special designs or visuals on product images and pack shots especially for the digital environment.

3. Social, societal responsibility of brands

During the Corona crisis, some brands quickly took responsibility for social cohesion, whether it was through monetary donations, donations in kind or other social commitments. The consumers’ demand for big brands has thus further increased and will most probably remain even after the crisis. All brands must meet this demand and communicate this through their design.

Design opportunity: Social responsibility must also be communicated more visibly in design.

4. Stronger development and communication of a meaningful brand purpose

For a long time, we have been observing the trend that the meaning of work, leisure time but also consumer behavior is becoming more important – especially for millennials. Of course, this also has had an impact on food brands, so that in some cases it has become necessary for companies to sharpen the brand purpose and to communicate it accordingly, e.g. in the design language, through claims or other visuals.

Design opportunity: Communication of a meaningful brand purpose.

5. Desire for freedom and autonomy

Especially younger target groups have influenced the restrictions on their individual freedom along the corona measures in the direction of an increased striving for independence, singularity and self-realization. An escape from this restriction can also be an opportunity for established brands.

Design opportunity: Creating designs with a focus on “independence” as a break-out for established brands.

6. Strengthening the pursuit of health

Healthy nutrition has been an important issue for years. Thanks to the lock-down, the social distancing and the resulting changes in behavior, this trend of living more healthily has received an additional boost. It is likely that this will culminate in consumers becoming even more independent when it comes to protecting themselves against the Corona virus & Co. through health maintenance, disease prevention, good hygiene and attentiveness.

Design opportunity: To visually highlight the health aspects of the products and, if necessary, to represent safety by means of newly created aesthetics.

The situation remains exciting. Will we find our way back to the old structures and patterns after the crisis, or will we align our lifestyles with the new guidelines in the long term? At the moment, we are still keeping our eye on the ball from our couch at home.