“Our approach to our project with Laura - where we got deep into the topic of trends in colors, finishes and textures beyond 2020 - was a pragmatic one”, explains Sarah D'Amato, NPD and marketing services manager at Crown Aerosols & Promotional Packaging Europe. "It was important to take a step back to understand consumer behavior and how that affects aesthetics and color. Working with Laura, our team explored techniques such as embossing, as well as the numerous and varied ways metal packaging can be decorated with innovative finishes. This has allowed us to develop a better understanding of the synergies and processes involved."
Laura Perryman adds, "It's well known that trends can influence design directions, and looking at how companies can use these to advance research and development is a fascinating and enlightening task. I took it a step further and delved into research - mainly by looking at different design sectors, consumer trends, design exhibitions and trade shows to analyze trends for the next two to three years. The next step was to combine the discoveries for Crown in form of Design Thinking and trend analysis - determining what moves consumers and then breaking that down into design and aesthetic directions that appeal to their markets."
Perryman's experience includes metalworking techniques such as stamping and cutting for consumer electronics and architecture. Her expertise is based on decorating certain types of metal, and what intrigues her is the amount of detail possible in metal packaging despite its size.
"Ultimately, our goal was to have a source of inspiration that influences what we produce and how we communicate with customers and the industry altogether," D'Amato explains. "The Trend-Tool Laura created at the end of the project can be used to communicate different aesthetic styles to internal and external audiences."
The tool identifies three key, overarching global design trends that have inspired Crown to develop exciting new decorative finishes and effects.
The "Radical Eco" trend is bursting with energy and optimism - the dynamic aesthetic is inspired by organic offerings. The main drivers behind this trend are named as "Millennial and Generation Z consumers who approach environmental awareness in a playful and fun way, looking for fun, organic products and experiences." Hallmarks of this trend include "Exuberant strong colors," "Vegan doesn't mean drab," "Superfood," "100% natural ingredients," "Biologically saturated," "Delicious taste," "Fresh and vibrant finish."
When it comes to packaging design, natural ingredients can be reflected in a wide variety of effects, from haptic layering to surface treatments with tempting looks. The colors that match this trend have a natural radiance inspired by fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables in shades of beetroot purple, strawberry red and carrot orange. The effects and finishes of these colors are naturally transparent and inspired by the juice of freshly cut fruit.
"Incognito" can be described as unobtrusive and calming, based on a "less is more" feeling. Underlying this trend is the thesis that "consumers like to act anonymously in order to shop unhindered and without pressure. For products and branding, conventional identifiers related to age, race, gender and style don't matter."
A subtle luxury trend shows how surface effects arouse curiosity without distracting, offering experiences with a wide range of attributes: "Anonymous and Discreet," "Revealingly Neutral," "Brand-Free and Gender-Neutral," "Immersive Darkness," "Refined Haptics," "New Minimalism," "Illusion Effects."
From a color perspective, cool and warm neutrals combine with blues like mint green and petrol, representing depth and tranquility in equal measure. Shimmering effects create curiosity and provide a second look without being distracting, while cool and warm tones subtly blend into one another. Elegant chrome is quite essential to this trend and represents technology as well as innovation.
Complementary finishes include "Tactile Chroma," which creates the impression of elegant simplicity through the contrast of color and sheen. An industrial feel runs through the look, with clean lines and smooth surfaces. In addition, "Deep Lustre" plays with dark tones. The surfaces and textures have a dramatic effect, with intense colors alongside high-gloss effects. The use of these effects creates a luxurious atmosphere, and the dark shimmering tones create a truly mesmerizing look.
Respect for the environment
The "Human Nature" trend focuses on the beauty of difference found in the earth's natural landscapes. Being mindful of nature and respectful of its rhythms and processes is the norm nowadays. The next generation of consumers is extremely environmentally conscious and wants to consume products that respect the environment more.
This trend is holistic and humane, with colors and textures creating emotional connections with our surroundings and conveying: "A sense of authenticity," "Surfaces formed over time," "A soft aesthetic," "Dry in a natural way," "Washed-out colors," "Raw feel," "Imperfect in a beautiful way."
For packaging surfaces, the focus on the perception of natural variations inspires unique and multi-layered designs, while mineral, coarse-grained surfaces reflect the natural landscape with their haptic and effects. Oxidized mineral effects convey the impression of weathering over time, and colors such as rich, deep earth tones and powdery, pale neutrals pick up the diversity in nature.