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Design Trends 2016, Episode 6: Fun

On our recent product finding and design exploration trip to London, we saw numerous examples of 2016 trends on display. Bright colors, simple fonts, essentialism, and story-telling we have already discussed on this blog. This post is about FUN as a design element.

But before we get to the fun, let’s take a quick look at the colors and the essentialism of these designs.

The single image on the side of the bottles is a representation of the fun saying on the front.


Notice how closely the single color of each basic design adheres to the PANTONE Fashion Color Report Spring 2016.

The only difference is that the trend for packaging goes for a slightly brighter shade, to add to the vibrancy and fun. Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, describes them this way:

“Colors this season transport us to a happier, sunnier place where we feel free to express a wittier version of our real selves.”


The designs are extremely simple. The front of the bottles, boxes and tubes have only four elements:

1. The brand name

2. Their witty, fun, flirty claim, or a comic before/after picture

3. What is in the bottle

4. The amount that is in the bottle.

Only the essential information is visible to the shopper from the shelf, and that is all.

In the pictures below, notice how the large simple font is easily readable from the shelf, and for most people even without their glasses.

Above and below: How the bright colors, clear font and essentialist elements jump off an actual shelf on Oxford street in London. They made us stop, read and chuckle, and Anatomicals believes you will too. Photo: Michaela Thomas


One of the current trends that is not getting as much attention this year is the element of fun.

Other than the attributes of the millennial generation that places high value on living and fun, you only need to go on the internet for a minute or two to feel additional reasons why fun is important this season. The deep seriousness of the many problems and issues facing the world right now is at times is overwhelmingly dark. On top of that there is fear mongering and extreme arguments. Add to that the stresses of trying to live a life and have a career, or being a working father or mother and keeping on top of shopping and taking care of oneself and one's family. Any element of fun is a relief, and a customer-centric meeting of consumer needs.

Therefore, it is no wonder that the colors this year are light and bright, and that designs are moving toward only essential elements in order to cut through the layers of cognitive overload that customers feel these days. This brand's approach is to use fun to that end as well.

Anatomicals is a brand that takes this element of fun to an extreme.

  • Their market is people who want to live life to the fullest, have fun, stay out all night, but who still need, and want, to look their best.

  • The claims and sayings on the packages are fun, flirty, witty, often sophomoric, and some border on raunchy. They are puns, rhymes, and the occasional pick-up line you might try out in a bar just after last call.

  • In keeping with their "we only want you for your body" idea, which is to say, you can have an IQ of 15 or 150, they don't care, these products are for everybody. The different comic book style characters represent this visually. This product is for everyone

  • They are even flippant. On their wepsite under "Philosophy" they give a brief five sentence history of Greek philosophy, followed by: "Oh, you thought we were going to spout off about the company philosophy, like other boring organisations? Now, why on earth would we want to do that?"

  • And the Anatomicals video is also fun. Not only is it animated in a comic book style to appeal to a generation of graphic novel readers, it is lateral, flippant, colorful, and filled with aliens, crop circles and popular conspiracy theories.

  • The message is: Whatever you look like, whatever your style or intelligence, these products help you live your life to the fullest, look your best, and have fun while doing so.

Anatomicals even has a line geared toward men.

The point: When considering trends for this year and next, and appealing to millennials, do not forget the all important element of fun.





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