I believe it all starts with the brand. I’ve said before that today’s design trends are being driven further and faster than ever before. This is also directly connected to what comes from the brand. As research shows, younger generations want ever evolving change at a pace that’s in-line with their digital appetite. Brands need to respond at a quicker pace and become more connected to the consumer at a personal level. This is going to be the new norm as the Millennial population will soon overtake Boomers by 2019 and so will their influence.

So how is this translated to packaging? There are some direct trends between the brands younger generations are attracted to (both Millennials and Gen Z) and how those brands portray themselves through design. A lot of these trends are picking up speed and here are a few that are taking hold.

Be Transparent

Younger consumers have a need for openness. They notice marketing speak from a mile away. They are also attracted to products that say something about themselves, fits their lifestyle and has a personal connection. Brands that are committed to showcasing their values and product quality at the shelf will win with younger consumers. The next generation prioritizes supporting craft, high-quality and their local communities. Pair that with a clean design and you’re creating a distinguishing product.

Keep it Simple

Millennials often struggle with information overload so delivering a simple and effective package design will help develop a more engaging connection with the younger demographic. Instead of trying to cram too much within limited space brands are now using white space, symmetry, unique typography, color and uncluttered layouts to deliver their message and stand out on shelf. Simple is sexy.


Make it Immersive

Tell a story and keep it changing. The emergence of smart phone AR technology has made it easier than ever to bring-to-life a product’s story at the shelf in a more immersive way outside the printed box. As the retail industry as whole shifts into an era of Experience, packaging has to also engage and connect with consumers in deeper ways. Everyone remembers an intriguing story, or even posts it all over their Instagram, so the investment in a packaging experience will pay off.

Be Agile

Connecting with younger consumers today is more about being agile and less rigid. Brands are always trying to achieve quality and consistency which is true but that doesn’t always have to relate to the package. Millennials and Gen Z consumers are always looking for the new and different and want to be surprised. With the advancement of efficient, quicker printing, brands can now make their packaging more customizable and ever changing. There is an opportunity for more one of a kind designs at a quicker pace to bring more energy and freshness to brands.



Have a Personality

This generation loves story telling. They’re always connected. They’re very opinionated. Most importantly, they have a personality. That’s what comes to a lot of people’s minds when discussing our younger generations and that’s a good thing. Love it or hate it Millennials and Gen Z consumers are passionate, so why don’t you attract them with a passion of the brand.

The use of punchy copy and bold typography will help any brand stand out especially if you want to shake up a category. If you have a confident personality shouldn’t your brand reflect that?

Branding in my point of view, as well as it’s direct correlation to packaging, is in a time of constant change especially with our younger generations. It seems designs are no longer “timeless” as  Millennials and Gen Z are constantly wanting something new, something different and engaging. But, brands that embrace this as an opportunity to let go of the past and have fun with their packaging and messaging are finding a new connection with young consumers. In the end brands need to be progressive, and try and keep up the pace of change.