26 Jun

Minimalist Design: Why Branded Packaging Achieves Maximum Memorability

The 1960s are synonymous with minimalism, with art making a U-turn from pieces exploding with in-your-face designs to ones with more refined and limited detail. What goes around comes around, and less has certainly been becoming more as the 21st century evolves.

Minimalism is bucking the trends that we’d usually associate with products standing out – i.e. those bold and loud packaging designs. And there’s not a sector that’s untouched, with even FMCG products embracing the minimalist design trend, despite the tight timeframes they need shifting by.


Minimalist design, maximum memorability

Looking at minimalist design within packaging specifically, and the less cluttered, complicated, and ultimately complex the protection around a product appears, the more sophisticated we’re likely to deem it.

We’ve talked before about Tiffany jewellery boxes and how most of us will recognise their trademark blue from afar. As such, we’ll also be able to make a refined guess about what’s inside the small container, without the need for further details to be plastered all over the box. If that’s not the definition of minimalist design, maximum memorability, we don’t know what is!


Why do we associate simplicity with nature?

Research in the US backs up this idea that simplicity exudes luxury. Carried out on consumer goods like shampoo, deodorant, and cereal found in some of the country’s largest supermarket chains, a study found that products with the highest retail prices were those with simpler packaging designs. It’s indicative of the confidence both retailers and goods manufacturers have in shoppers’ preferences to pay a premium for a product with minimalist packaging design. And all because of the type of product they associate to be inside.

The research went onto see which type of packaging university students were more drawn to, and why. It determined that simpler packaging went hand-in-hand with connotations of ‘purity’ – students associated fewer man-made elements (e.g. preservatives or artificial flavours in edible goods) with the items found inside these back-to-basics designs.


Is minimalist packaging reconnecting us to the natural environment?

This sense of purity carries over into the wider impact of simplified branded packaging designs. As the students in the US reiterated, minimalism is intrinsically linked to our connection to the natural environment – or arguably, our reconnection to it.

Sustainable swaps continue to be on the rise in the packaging sector, with manufacturers switching away from less environmentally friendly materials to those that have a more positive carbon footprint. For instance, replacing polystyrene filler with bespoke corrugated cardboard fitments that don’t need any additional sealant or adhesive to keep them in place. Visually, we’re more likely to make a quick – and subconscious – association that an item wrapped in ‘earthier’ colour tones is more natural than one held within bold, bright, or fluorescent packaging.

The higher the packaging’s natural aesthetic, the less of a barrier there is for the consumer to engage with its branding. The simpler this natural look, the more opportunity there is to show off key messaging or relevant accreditations. For example, instructions on how to reuse or recycle the box after it’s fulfilled its primary role, or adding the FSC logo if the box has been FSC-certified (to give consumers additional confidence that it’s been responsibly sourced).


Subconscious associations of sustainable materials

Yet sight isn’t the only sensory perspective to consider. How far the texture of a box plays into our assumptions about its environmental credentials can’t be underestimated!

For instance, picking up a light brown cardboard box secured with Kraft tape gives off a more ‘natural’ sentiment than a plastic container wrapped in an abundance of bubble wrap and sealed with far too much plastic tape. What’s more, corrugated cardboard is one of the easiest packaging materials to reuse, recycle, or repurpose – three activities the public are becoming more aware of, too!


Minimalism: Giving way to maximum innovation

But surely, something’s got to give? It’s a common misconception around minimalist packaging – be it how far the product is protected to the cost or impact on number of units sold, this minimalist design trend isn’t immune to barriers. Yet ensuring a product gets along the supply chain with as little risk of damage or defect as possible has always been a top priority for packaging manufacturers. And it’s one that’s not going to get bypassed now!

Our sector is in a constant throe of research and development, with specialist engineers refining every aspect of packaging designs to ensure optimal performance. At Greyhound Box, we’re always testing new materials and machinery to refine our manufacturing process, and ultimately produce packaging concepts that meet the changing preferences of our customers (and their consumers alike).

The sheer amount of innovation and out-the-box thinking from those in our team and the wider sector is strengthening the links between product protection, minimalist principals, and sustainability every day. Did you know there’s huge amounts of work going on around how biodegradable and compostable materials can be used within packaging designs to secure and protect fragile products?


Simple but effective

The phrase ‘simple but effective’ is the only cliché we need to bring this blog to a close. Our bet is that minimalism is no longer a trend that’ll come and go, but one that’s here to stay. Embracing simpler packaging designs without compromising quality should be a priority for your business if you’re serious about attracting and retaining a loyal customer base in the long-term. And we’re here to get your started.

Get in touch to explore how your product could benefit from a more minimal packaging design!

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