DESIGN TRENDS 2016, EPISODE 3: GEOMETRY AND COLOR
Last time we explored providing customer’s focus via essentialism and stronger customer-centricity, we now look at how this is affecting the use of geometry and color in 2016.
Episode 1 of this series was about simplicity and clarity of communication to help overloaded consumers like us poor moms with many kids who also work.
Episode 2 was about how to give customers ownership of a product or design and let them know they are valued and cared for, like a virtual hug.
This post is about how, in 2016, to express simplicity, approachability, and honesty through patterns, shapes and colors, (like make-up on a new-waver’s face).
In essence this post is about customer-centricity for the eyes.
The patterns in many of 2016's best packaging designs will contain very basic shapes (circles, triangles, squares, or a combination of these) and the color palettes will be limited (monochromatic, black and white, pastels).
Corinne cosmetics – wanting to stand out on shelves crowded with bright, flashy, glittery designs like a girl with low self esteem – has gone with black and white geometric patterns. This is easier on the eyes, and makes Corinne look less desperate than other cosmetics.
The Honest Company's organic cotton tampon boxes are a combination of simple shapes, black and white, and pastels. Also notice the undigital element in the lines.
Each Honest Company tampon box as fun quotes to lighten the mood. Together these present a simple, gentle, organic message to the consumer that says to women, this is a beautiful part of your life, you don't have to hide it away in the cabinet (with the condoms you now wish you would have used).
Kindo children’s products also combine black and white, simple geometric shapes, and a mix of primary and pastel colors (because that is just what you have to deal with when you have kids).
Trident gum also played with these elements to a wonderful – and fun – effect. The essential visual message is, “This gum is good for your teeth.” (And it is something to stick in a kid's mouth to shut his mouth for a few minutes so you answer the phone.)
For consumers whose minds and eyes are overwhelmed (as most women with kids are), this simplicity of shape, color, fun, and message, is a welcomed break.
According to The Dieline’s 2016 predictions, “Familiar shapes, colors, and patterns communicate an awareness of the world and a sensitivity to the consumer (predominantly women with families). Particularly in industries with over-the-top design, these reduced approaches standout.”
The line of BASIC products, like the toothpaste above, uses basic black and white to communicate its essentialist message, like, “Just brush you teeth and go to bed!”
Children’s Tylenol goes with primary and pastel colors with simple shapes, and an essentialist message: “I’m sorry you are sick, here’s some medicine, now please go to sleep!”
White Tea uses the simple colors with lots of white space for a very relaxing feel that says: This tea is a pick-me-up and a break and from those wonderful little brats screaming in the next room.
Eviltwin Brewing uses this scheme to add a gentle element of fun to their beer can designs.
Now compare how the designs above feel, and what message they send, to a customer who has been online all day, where most webpages, and even software, are crowded and complex like this:
And don’t be afraid to take it to the next step! Why not use these trends on the actual shape of the packaging and in the logic of the communication?
For example, prepared food company Meld answers the question, “How can innovative brand and packaging solutions be a catalyst for busy people to improve their eating?”
Meld takes the concept of simple geometric shapes to the next level.
They keep the required product information as simple and as accessible as possible.
And Meld is aware of reducing the cognitive load on customers by its use of primary colors in their coding system, so that parents can quickly and easily see which nutrients they are feeding their children (which is important when the children are trying to help you cook and will not stop talking and asking questions!)
The Point: Not only do you need to be customer-centric in your product design and message, you need to be customer-centric in your choice of geometry and color. Keep it simple, and familiar. “Gentle” is a good word for it. And don’t b afraid to try something new, and make it fun!
Other posts about Simplifying Complexity for the consumer:
REBECCA COSTA: SIMPLIFYING COMPLEXITY (THE DIELINE SUMMIT, PARIS 2014)
COGNITIVE LOAD AND THE HIDDEN COSTS OF SAVING MONEY ON PACKAGING DESIGN
Other Posts in this series:
DESIGN TRENDS 2016, EPISODE 1: FOCUS
DESIGN TRENDS 2016, EPISODE 2: CUSTOMER-CENTRICITY ON STEROIDS