Packaging as Art

By: Eat Print Love 

The world of marketing and promotion is based in aesthetics. Packaging is more than just functional – it’s also emotional. Beyond its practical functions, packaging is the final bridge between you and your potential customer, helping the consumer to connect with a product.

Combine this fact with recent advancements in digital printing technology, and what you’ll find is more creative packaging in more places.  Packaging is being recognized as an undeniable medium for expression; let’s take a look at some of the forces at play here.

Advancements in Digital Print Technology


Foxtrot Studio for Blanc Naturals

Designers and marketers now have access to innovative digital print technologies that weren’t available even a few years ago, providing them with the resources needed to bring original ideas to fruition regardless of project size or budget. Key here is the fact that digital technology provides flexibility; digital embellishments and variable data printing allow designers and marketers to explore their creative ideas without committing to massive runs and inventory.  “Customers are opting for shorter runs with multiple versions and different creative approaches across a project,” says Eat Print Love founder Christine Yardley.  Previously, the cost of embellishments was cost  prohibitive for short runs; digital technologies have removed this barrier, providing myriad opportunities.

Increased Creative Competition

With the increased creative opportunity provided by digital embellishments comes more competition in the marketplace. Says Yardley, “All brands want to be noticed, and thanks to digital print tech, smaller brands are keeping pace with their big brand counterparts in terms of creative, quality packaging”. Currently, the creative opportunities for packaging are infinite; competition is healthy, and increased creative possibility means an ever growing body of great creative work.

Simon Laliberté for Poilu

The Convergence of Marketing and Packaging

Clearly, marketers understand the importance of making an impact through creative, innovative packaging. We’re seeing that money spent on packaging is being understood as money spent on marketing, as brands come to understand packaging as the final mode for connecting with the consumer.This is especially apparent in the luxury brand market.

E-commerce also plays a role in the desire of brands to stand out through their packaging. “Marketers understand the importance of print, and providing customers with an experience that can’t be replicated on a screen”, says Yardley. For many consumers in the e-commerce marketplace, their only interaction with a product has been digital, up until the time it finally arrives on their doorstep. Innovative packaging not only provides brands the opportunity to make their image and voice clear, but also helps people to connect with a product which they have so far only experienced through their phone or tablet.

David Trubridge & Think Packaging for Steens

The Widening Scope of Functionality

Packaging is by definition functional – it protects the product and provides basic information on its use to a consumer. These days, one of the critical aspects of a package’s function is how it expresses the brand voice, allowing a product to stand out from the rest. Packaging design is exciting for the challenge it presents – it asks designers and marketers to create something that is both practical and beautiful. “To me, great design is both thoughtful and aesthetically pleasing,” says Yardley. “It doesn’t get much better than coming across an example of packaging that is both purposeful in its intent, and beautiful to look at.”

Certain brands are pushing these defined functions even further with packaging that works to serve its practical purpose, while expressing a truly unique brand voice and giving other artists a platform for their own work at the same time. Collective Arts, a craft brewery in Hamilton, Canada, partners with artists and designers both local and international to bring cans and labels featuring limited edition artwork to their customers. As you can see, packaging is more than just a practical means to deliver a product to a consumer; it’s critical for building a connection between consumers and the products they love and need.

Collective Arts Brewery
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