Packaging is an essential marketing asset for brands, but particularly for beauty brands. In an industry saturated with comparable products, it’s imperative to stand out from the competition; and one way to do that is through packaging. Originality, authenticity and innovation are tenants that can create a breakthrough package design that simultaneously captivates the target audience.
The beauty industry is built on aesthetics; an opportunity to enhance appearance. Therefore the visual impression of package design is fundamental. However, it’s not enough to harness glam and glitz. To effectively compel consumers, brands must visually express their story through color, imagery, materials and texture. Visual storytelling is an opportunity for brands to openly communicate their personality and build strong relationships with the consumer.
Interpret Your Brand’s Story
Gazelli Skincare visually interprets their brand story and manifests it through packaging. Founded by Azerbaijan native, Dr. Zarifa Hamzayeva, Gazelli features packaging adorned in black and white illustrations of traditionally dressed Azerbaijan women. The packaging is bold and engaging, yet clean and sophisticated – much like the products themselves.
While visually emphasizing a brand’s story is important, it’s vital to maintain brand promise and/or mission. For instance, if a brand guarantees the use of environmentally friendly and organic elements, packaging the product in non-sustainable materials would be off-equity.
Remaining consistent and genuine to the brand promise will resonate with consumers. Loli, a kitchen beauty brand that uses food-grade ingredients and advocates DIY beauty, presents a clear and consistent brand story in its packaging through use of an organic color palette and substrates that connote natural.
Another brand that maintains premium brand cues while remaining true to its mission is Kjaer Weis. The brand balances beauty with health, in formulations that provide high performance using natural and organic ingredients. The brand professes no compromise of luxury or design and that manifests in its modern and sleek primary and secondary packaging.
Additionally, brands should utilize appropriate language to reinforce visual design. Packaging messaging should express the brand’s personality. If the visuals are communicating elegance and tradition, while the copy is edgy and witty, the disconnect will cause distrust and confusion amongst consumers. Urban Decay communicates an ‘urbanglam’ vibe which is reflected in it’s provocative product language; naked eye shadow, total perversion eyeliner and ultimate ozone primer, among others. The overall packaging takeaway, with its utilization of metallics and dark color palette, edgy language, is true to the attitude of the brand.
Benefit Cosmetics is a brand that effectively harnesses language to compliment their identity and packaging visuals. Playful and quirky in product and design, Benefit utilizes a clever combination of witty taglines and sassy vintage imagery to target an energetic, daring and young audience.
Create An Experience
Beauty brands – more so than other industries – have the ability to create captivating experiences through packaging. A source of comfort, confidence and joy, beauty consumers form strong relationships with their favorite brands. These attachments are developed through daily interactions with their products. Adding a small groove in a lip balm container to comfortably rest between one’s fingers or engineering the texture of a compact case to softly sit in one’s hand are small, but experiential ways to connect with consumers and inspire brand loyalty. The Nars cosmetic line is known for its soft touch and thoughtful proportions in its primary packaging, for example.
Finally, beauty brands need to constantly evaluate the competition.
By assessing shelf presence of competitive brands, differentiating opportunities can be garnered. For example, if competitors are utilizing black packaging (and it’s not a category cue), a key differentiating factor could be color – a pop of brightness in a sea of black could help attract the eye (as long as it appropriately reflects the brand equity).
Adored and cherished by their consumers, beauty products are proudly toted in purses and displayed on vanities. It’s only appropriate that the primary and secondary packaging that cradles these products accurately represent the brand as well as the consumers who purchase them. By visually and verbally expressing the brand story with packaging, brands can breakaway from the competition.
Co-written by Ning Juang and Samantha Barbagionvanni from our New York studio.
As featured by Beauty Packaging