- In our latest series, we look at different industries to understand what 2021 was like for them and crystal gaze into the upcoming year, identifying some of the trends that will set the tone for 2022.
- We speak to Design Gurus to find out trends that 2022 has in store for us.
So, in 2021, brands like Colgate, Diageo, WOW launched paper-based packaging and started keeping sustainability at the center of their products. With this trend, it is no doubt that all purchase decisions in the future will be completely driven by a product’s packaging material. Apart from a product’s ingredients, brands will be required to explain their recycling process too to attract consumers. As per a recent study conducted across Asia, consumers are paying attention to a product's environmental impact, and affordability and quality were still the main driving factors behind a vast majority of purchases.
As a result, product designs have changed in the last two years. Brands have increased their focus on the ‘safety’ aspect of product packaging and design. And as consumers looked for ways to escape from reality, elements of optimism and local community flavours took center stage in the product design industry. Brands played more with bright, positive designs across communication, packaging, and other large facets of brand architecture.
With the arrival of Meta, the growth of artificial intelligence will also accelerate across the globe and brands will integrate AI into their product design.
As the year draws to a close, we speak to design gurus to find out what challenges lie ahead and a few trends that would monopolize the marketing world in 2022. Here is what experts had to say:
Lulu Raghavan, Managing Director, Landor & Fitch India:
The design trend that has accelerated sharply in the past few years and that will explode and firmly take hold in 2022 is sustainable design. This is because of the perfect storm of environmental consciousness coupled with a desire for meaning that most of us as designers and creatives are experiencing.
The pandemic sharply exposed the horrors of climate change to us. It made us sit up and think hard about humanity’s collective actions that have contributed to the unprecedented global warming that has been creeping up slowly but surely in the past several decades. Whether it was the forest fires in Australia, the Winter storms in Texas, the devastating flooding in Maharashtra or the many other extreme weather events that popped up around the world with alarming regularity, we were choked beyond words and stirred up to think about how we got here in the first place.
The pandemic also created existential angst as we were stuck at home, attending to our daily routines, wondering about the purpose of our lives. This search for meaning has made us question everything from mindless consumption to what success means.
As a result, as designers, we will be consciously re-examining every problem we are given to solve. We will more fervently be looking through the lens of sustainability for better answers towards the greater good.
Whether we will be designing new products, new spaces, new packs or creating new brands, we will be thinking hard about sustainable design solutions that can do their small but important bit for our planet.
A Appadurai, Country Manager for the HP Indigo:
The labels and packaging industry in India is on an upward growth trajectory bolstered by the rapid expansion of organized retail, the growth of exports, and India’s rising e-commerce sector and start-ups. Furthermore, consumer behaviour has massively transformed post the pandemic. Consumers are demanding brands to be more secure, culturally and environmentally responsible and provide consumer experiences that are in sync with the brand purpose. In the future, offerings will be tailored not just to stated preferences, but also behaviour. This has made packaging a critical touchpoint to base purchase decisions on, and the industry must adapt how they can optimize their packaging to meet the upcoming trends to meet customer expectations.
In the years to come starting 2022, personalized and innovative packaging will help keep customers highly engaged with the brand thereby establishing greater brand affinity. Therefore, ‘packvertising’ is an effective tool that marketers can use to strike a chord with their end consumers. Moreover, with increase in online shopping, the threat of counterfeit products is growing. By 2022, counterfeiting is projected to cost the global economy US$4.2 trillion^ This will require vigilance and continued investment in new solutions - like serialization, invisible inks, track & trance, and origination software to protect them from counterfeit packaging vulnerabilities.
Brands are discovering massive cost benefits of On Demand Packaging / Printing against the traditional Scale of Economy Print & store model because of the rapid changes that happens in the market. Agility and time to market have become super important for brands today and On demand printing / packaging exactly helps in the cause.
Most importantly, consumers today are more aware of the kind of products that they use and the brands they are associated with. They are environmentally more conscious which has driven up the demand for holistically sustainable goods. Marketers must therefore increase their focus on sustainable printing & green packaging. To claim sustainability proof points, brands must examine the entire lifecycle of the packaging, including its use in supply chain, basic function, marketing, usefulness to the consumer and recyclability. This should also involve examining the packaging’s credentials under the three common pillars of sustainability: people, planet, and profit. One approach which can help incorporate all these elements into an integrated strategy for sustainable packaging is carbon-footprint labelling. A carbon-footprint label shows the product’s carbon footprint from manufacturing, through use right up to eventual disposal.
Ashwini Deshpande, Co-Founder & Director, Elephant Design:
Connected for better:
That would be my key prediction for the coming year. Mobility, retail, gadgets, personal/ home care, and foods - everything will see a surge in use of technology to understand users/ consumers better. Every product, service and brand will try to understand usage patterns by embedding codes or chips to gather data more than ever. Products will also be built to communicate with each other to gather data indirectly. Such products will also help consumers understand supply source, fair practices, carbon footprint etc.
Increased awareness towards sustainability, well-being of self and the environment would largely be the drivers. There are many parallel developments happening across material sciences, manufacturing technology and embedded electronics happening across the world. All these come together to create better products for the connected world.
Kiran Khadke, Co-founder and Creative Head, Hyper Connect:
While most of 2020 & 2021 went blah! It continued to keep the creative & digital studios on their toes to keep UX at the core and keep products minimal, clean, user-focussed and simple. While AR/VR was still finding their footing and voice led product experiences was still nascent and un-integrated with the overall product.
In 2022, there will be a quantum leap, creative & digital studios will have to integrate deeper with tech developers and analysts to create experiences for the new digital paradigm like Metaverse, Serl.io, Uhive and likes… The new paradigm of product design would need to consider 3D, multi-dimension, Voice, AR, VR integrated together seamlessly to create a real-like experience in the growing virtual world. The next wave for advertising agencies is to bring all these aspects together in cohesion and we at Hyper Connect are working on similar projects set to launch in 2022.
Shashwat Das, Founder, Almond Branding:
After a chaotic year, 2021 was the year for brands to understand their consumers all over again as a lot had changed in her life amid this pandemic. A lot of it is still evolving while brands are trying to align themselves and Design is bound to reflect such changes in our society and environment.
We are going to witness more and more motion in brand design as an engaging approach to storytelling. Just having static graphics as part of your visual assets is not good enough anymore. As consumer touchpoints get more digitised, brand design language will be incorporating more of motion graphics, gifs and animations. Going forward most logos will have an animated version.
And motion is not limited to websites or apps, we are seeing the advent of AR fused with design. Coming year, we are going to see more Packaging where you scan a QR code and you have elements from the static design springing to action to narrate the brand story in a more engaging manner.
Humanisation of Brand Design
The years gone by have redefined our priorities. With several months of social distancing, we all have been missing the personal touch. Brands are going to humanise more in their attempt to build stronger relationships and engage better.
At Almond Branding, we are happy to notice that our clients are preferring the proposed conversational style of messaging more, be it Packaging or Communication Design. Going forward consumers will be expecting a more personalised experience while connecting with brands. And Brand Design will make them feel that they are buying from a human and not a company.
The pandemic has made consumers more conscious about their environment. While several brands have taken on the mission of being planet-friendly, it’s now time to walk the talk. Consumers are clever and can now easily spot greenwashing.
What it means for us in the business of design, is that we have to do much more than just use the colour green to signify that we are planet-friendly. Going forward, brand designers will have to actually choose substrates and packaging formats that are truly sustainable, recyclable and low on carbon impact. 2022 is going to be year of Design for Sustainability.
The last 2 years have taught us that the future is uncertain so be prepared to change drastically. The same old ways of thinking and approach are no longer going to work. The way the past 2 years have been, it can only go bigger and better from here. We all have immense hope from the Big year that is upcoming. Embracing the newer trends will be the best way for brands to dominate the market and outshine their competition.
Adil Singh, Co-founder, Lights Out Studio:
Two trends that will gain momentum in the coming months:
Web3: Everything about block chain and its benefits has been spoken enough. Right from brands dropping NFT’s to allowing customers to buy products in crypto, would start peaking highlight of the more progressive brands.
Owning a piece of the brand through the block chain network not only allows you to build a deeper connect with the brand, but also a loyal network of customers who are tech-savy and can contribute back to the brand in multiple ways.
Community Building: Harped enough in the past few months, a solid community can help you with product feedback, primary research, uder generated content and also word of mouth evangelism. Communities will go beyond the ‘social media influencers’ to HXC’s (high expectation customers) that the brand targets. These are people who not only can become ideal users / adopters of the product, but also solid leaders / community builders within their personal & professional networks.