< Back

Do You Have The Budget To Be Trendy?

Do you have a big enough budget to be trendy?

We start every project with a DISCOVER phase. You’re probably bored of hearing us say that. But while we never skip it entirely, the depth of the research and the importance of a solid strategy prior to kicking off DESIGN can be different for different types of projects.

Packaging projects require the most in-depth DISCOVER phase. And the primary reason is that the strategy needs to last the longest. Digital campaigns? You can test, adjust and turn on a dime. Websites? You can make tweaks if things aren’t quite working. Packaging not only comes with substantial production investments but requires a good amount of time and effort to establish the look and feel of a brand in the minds of consumers. Pivots are neither quick, nor are they cost effective, so there had better be a solid strategy prior to the DESIGN phase kickoff.

Trends vs. Styles

The last thing you want to do is design packaging that feels dated or old. But do you want to design packaging that is trendy? I think the answer comes down to one big question: What’s your budget?

There’s definitely value in constantly engaging your audience with new and refreshed packaging as long as you don’t go far enough to lose the equity of the brand entirely. The big boys do it all the time. Go to the grocery store and there’s a good chance one of your favorite soda brands will have tweaked their packaging design. It feels fresh and gives you that mild excitement of something new even though you know (or at least you hope) the product inside is the same.

The difference is the budget behind those brands. And I’m not just talking budget to pay the agency to redesign the packaging and the expense of producing the packaging itself, but the budget to promote the new look and to not only make their consumers aware but get them excited.

Rather than designing packaging that’s trendy, we tend to focus on a style. It’s a nuance for sure, but in my mind, a trend represents something that’s going to have a big impact for a short time. It has a short timeline. A style is going to have a more subtle impact but will last much longer. It has a longer timeline.

For Example

I find that cars are often the best example to use when discussing branding. Whether it’s loyalty to a brand, style of design, or target audience, for whatever reason most people are able to understand these aspects of car brands way more naturally than with packaging. So let’s look at Aston Martin. Google Aston Martin DB7. You could argue that to the average person the 1994 DB7 could be mistaken for the 2012 DBS Coupe. You may need to put some more modern wheels on the 1994 model…but that’s nearly 20 years between designs. Do the same for 1994 and 2012 Honda Accord. New wheels aren’t going to help that comparison. The point is that Aston Martin has a well-established style. Honda follows trends.

So when you set off on a packaging project, keep in mind that there’s a ton to learn from the trends. But there’s way more to learn from the brands who have established a lasting style.

Brandt Hoekenga is the Co-CEO and Creative Director for TIV Branding
TIV Branding is a boutique branding firm in Sonoma County, California. We specialize in building brands by using traditional, social and digital channels in unison. If you would like to discuss a project or find out more about how we do what we do, please email us at info@TIVbranding.com.