Less clutter or going for simplicity…

by Helene

Clutterless packaging or going for simplicity seems to be fuelled by the changes observed in consumers choices as we fall further into introspection from consumers:  Yes, I’m hungry and poor. So, how can I eat like a king but pay like a pauper?  Yes, I want to look good but how can I afford to without destroying the planet?

The in-house design studio set up for Woolworths department store in South Africa has begun rolling it’s first new packs out onto shelf, the initial stage of what will be a mammoth packaging redesign program, eventually encompassing more than 5000 items considered the basic supermarket items with a price tag that will make customers smile. The packaging redesign is meant to ensuring all items communicate the quality which defines Woolworths’ very essence, by embedding good, thoughtful design into the brand through packaging.

Simple, bold typography and the use of elements like photography and graphic shapes, aim to speak to the consumer in an engaging, intelligent way. Colour is also used in category leading ways, to differentiate variants within the lines.

The British supermarket chain Waitrose knows how to seduce its clients yet keeping them tantalized. Their home brand packaging is a no-frill design style, using large typography and fonts that can be read from far and also enhancing the product, yet keeping it a little raw, almost organic – straight from the producer!  The spice rack and other products look  very clear and readable with no pictures to confuse.

Carrefour another popular supermarket  chain in France and Germany created Carrefour Discount, a cheaper option brand available for all staple foods in a packaging much cheaper to create. This was necessary due to the recession which translated in sales declining.

Repackaging is an economical necessity in the current  GFC climate.

During the recession in the USA, it became even more acute, as a significant decline in makeup and fragrance sales in the USA was noted. Brands started looking at their packaging and reverted to retro-inspired looks with a more organic or environmentally friendly appeal which changed the perception of the public on those long time prestigious brands, emphasizing the 100% recyclable aspect on a domestic level.  It was also difficult and costly to print the old packaging and with sales down, changes had to be made.

Often times one can observe away from the necessities of the economy and recession that necessity items with a clutter less look and simple design, seem to attract attention. Spring waters and juices which have to fight for shelf space are a source of inspiration for “pure” designs – conveying a clean, fresh and organic look which inspires confidence in a consumer.