DESIGN TRENDS 2016, EPISODE 4: All You Need Is Less
Continuing our discussion of packaging design’s role in combating cognitive overload, we look at another essentialist design that even does away with traditional branding elements in the interest of simplicity, clarity of message, and customer-centriciy. It is safe to say that this is a rapidly rising trend set to spread even further in 2016.
Dragon Rouge, a “global design and innovation consultancy” based in London, understands that a brand is as much, if not more, about the relationship with, and service to, the consumer than just the visual logo image. They understand that design can help consumers cut through cognitive overload, and that they will return this favor with la new level of loyalty.
There are five elements I want to discuss about this genius design:
1. Essentialism: The design presents only the essential information on the sleeve that a hurried but health-conscious shopper needs in that shopping moment: Greek style yogurt, the flavor, the zero fat and added sugar content, and the number of calories in large easily read fonts. And on the individual tubs even less information is given.
Compare this to Danone’s other Light & Fit brand. Notice how crowded the label is with information. Which design reduces cognitive overload and makes the buying decision less of a burden?
What is most interesting, however, about this essentialist approach is how much less this type of branding relies on visual logo recognition. From one side of the tub the logo cannot even be seen. It is all style. The focus is on the fun visual story element that conveys the brand's values: positive fun and healthy activities mixed humorously with fresh healthy fruit.
This is something new, and is further evidence that the nature of branding is continuing to shift heavily toward customer-centricity.
2. Undigital: The outer package sleeve has a minimalist, undigital hand-drawn figure of a girl, and each yogurt tub has hand drawn elements of lifestyle-oriented accessories for music, sports, shopping and fashion.
3. Colors: This also fits into the 2016 trend that favors bright pastels, neons, and richer, more saturated colors, for a more simplistic vibrant feel.
4. Story: There is no narrative story, per se, but there are impressions of a story with the sassy, fun-loving, ready-to-party girl on the cover. She wakes up to a peach alarm clock, dresses in strawberry shoes with a passion fruit handbag, and rides a cherry bicycle to play blueberry tennis, while listening to her favorite music on her blueberry headphones. "Life is just a party, and parties weren't meant to last," so eat up! Which leads right to notable trend number five . . .
5. Positivity and Fun: This design brings the element of fun straight to the forefront, which is necessary for the immediacy and self-absorption of the millennial generation. The undigital, the colors, the personally sound-tracked story of each day filled with healthy, sporty, entertaining activities, all mixed with images of fruit which implies the healthy energy to do it all.
Add to this the female figures and their brightly colored fruit dresses, which give an impression of dressing up in a mildly, but tastefully provocative way for a party, and the brand’s values and message are rammed home.
The Point: All you need is less. The rules are not just changing, they are being broken right and left. Major brands such as Coke, Danone, Tylenol, are all on board with these changes, because they know they are necessary for survival in this new millennium. The new rule: It is all about being a service to the customer, beyond just filling a simple product need. Products whose design helps simplify people's lives and in this way are giving something back, will be the loyal choice of shoppers this century.
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 blog posts in this series:
DESIGN TRENDS 2016, EPISODE 1: FOCUS
DESIGN TRENDS 2016, EPISODE 1B: NEW THINKING FOR DEEPER BRAND LOYALTY
DESIGN TRENDS 2016, EPISODE 2: CUSTOMER-CENTRICITY ON STEROIDS
DESIGN TRENDS 2016, EPISODE 3: GEOMETRY AND COLOR