Creating effective plastic packaging isn't just a question of looks, or even of the package simply doing its job. As plastic thermoforming technology evolves and consumers become increasingly discriminating, packaging design has to do more in order to stand out. While the traditional priorities like visibility, security, durability and aesthetics are still a primary focus, the question more and more packaging manufacturers have to ask themselves is: what is plastic packaging really capable of?
Enhancing Product Usability
Plastic thermoforming technology is continually growing more advanced, and it gives a creative, skilled packaging manufacturer the means to develop truly innovative packaging designs. One major trend is the package itself enhancing the product and how consumers interact with it.
For example, plastic food packaging—even stock packaging used by restaurants for takeout—is frequently microwave-safe, saving consumers a step in the kitchen. Rigid substrates can be used to replace flexible plastics for foods like chips, cookies and vegetables, making them easier to share and preventing damage in transit.
Plastic food packaging is just one example of how packaging design can enhance the consumer experience. For another example, look at the phenomenon of unboxing videos—videos in which a consumer unwraps and unpacks an electronic device like a smartphone. Creating a sublime unboxing experience enhances the quality of the product inside, making it feel more special before the consumer even turns it on.
Sometimes, packaging design doesn't have to be such a focus that it helps define the user experience—a few subtle touches, however, can still make it stand out. For example, one long-growing trend is that of consumers favoring fast, convenient, travel-friendly packaging.
More and more, consumers look for plastic packaging that they can go from the store shelf to the cupboard to the office, where it can be used and recycled—no muss, no fuss. Single-serve packaging designs allow consumers to get what they need and take it where it needs to go without worrying about doing extra work along the way. When you design packaging like this using recyclable substrates, you eliminate any guilt that may go with using extraneous packaging, so busy consumers don't feel like they can't be socially-conscious.
Here at PI, we always think of plastic packaging from every possible angle, because that's the only way to find new ways of redefining what plastic can do. When you think about it as more than just a package, the design possibilities are practically endless.