“The luxury consumer is getting younger, which impacts the design of luxury packaging where the use of traditional codes such as leather, wood and gold is no longer sufficient – or relevant.”
What trends have you identified in packaging and luxury?
“Personalisation remains a key trend, although I believe we will start seeing new creative ways of addressing the consumer’s appetite for packaging that is unique to them - it won’t just be about putting someone’s name on a pack any longer. Digital print technology has evolved greatly, and is likely to be a key driver in this.
The consumers and brands' heightened sensitivity to sustainability is impacting the luxury sector too. We are seeing new, more sustainable materials and processes being developed to support this, such as the recycling of coffee cups or plastic waste. This will influence the design of luxury packaging greatly.
In addition, the luxury consumer is getting younger, which impacts the design of luxury packaging where the use of traditional codes such as leather, wood and gold is no longer sufficient – or relevant.”
What about tomorrow’s packaging? What will packaging be like in five or ten years?
“Sustainability in packaging has finally become a major concern with the consumer, and although a clear approach hasn’t yet been defined, it will have a major impact on the future of packaging. Consumers will increasingly expect packaging to provide genuine added value in order to justify its very existence, and so we will see less of any packaging that is deemed unnecessary, or excessive.
There is a lot of talk about smart packaging, powered by a variety of emerging technologies such as RFID or NFC. There may well be some potential there, but I am yet to see a convincing application for it. I think it will be a case of the brands figuring out what content would be relevant, identifying applications that add value for the consumer, rather than just satisfy the brand’s desire to broadcast information.
And of course, as online shopping continues to grow, it will impact the morphology of packaging and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw great “cross-pollination" between retail packaging and digital commerce packaging.
“It’s about looking for the unrefined, rather than the pre-processed. I like to hang around antiques shops, flea-markets and museums.”
Where do you find inspiration?
“Inspiration is not about where you look. It is about how you look at it. I always actively observe what surrounds me, through the filter of whatever design issue I am working on at that moment.
When researching concepts I have learned that it's important to look for original material: if I am designing a perfume bottle, I know the answer won't lie in the design of other perfume bottles. In addition, over-reliance on online sources (such as Pinterest, or search engines) will lead to a mere recycling of someone else’s perspective. So it’s about looking for the unrefined, rather than the pre-processed. I like to hang around antiques shops, flea-markets and museums.
But for me, the designer’s role is above all to address a clearly defined set of objectives - it’s the difference between design and fine art. Ultimately my role is to find the solution which is best suited to the brand I work for – it really isn’t about me. The key is the ability to understand the brand, its DNA and its objectives. This is why the brief is so important, and should be given the greatest consideration by both the client, and the designer.”
Tell us something about your experience of working with Burberry.
I worked with Burberry for 8 years, during a key period which saw the brand transform from a licensing operation to the n.1 British luxury brand. The team which I built and lead was in charge of all packaging for the brand: be it retail, beauty or digital commerce. My most memorable achievements there were the complete redesign of the retail packaging (including the development of many bespoke materials), and the launch of so many fragrance ranges including My Burberry, Mr Burberry, Burberry Body, Burberry Brit and finally Burberry Bespoke, the brand’s most exclusive fragrance.
Working in-house gave me the opportunity to learn about development, production, marketing and commercial aspects too – which gave me the unorthodox profile I have today.
My greatest pleasure was to work alongside such a talented set of individuals: everyone there was at the top of their game, and I learned so much from them!”
© Vincent Villeger