It is truly amazing how many different niche specialists that come together under one roof. You could find anything here, from bottles and vials to tissue paper, labels and silk ribbons. Much of what you see here is conservative and conventional, but quite many stands had innovative and trend-sensitive things to show. Design-wise, it was the shopping bags that stood out the most. Perhaps because fashion demands change at a faster pace, or perhaps because kraft paper as a material invites to bold thinking and allows for quicker processes.
There’s a revolution happening in mobile-engaged packaging. An entire section of this year’s trade show was devoted to new technologies – with a special focus on NFC tags, QR codes and apps. These are technologies that open up for innovative ways to engage and connect with shoppers. For example, exhibitors showed packaging fitted with alarms to warn consumers when perishables pass expiration date. Other solutions served to prevent forgeries, detect tampering or transmit product information to consumers’ smartphones.
Digital and three-dimensional printing
Innovation is of course a trend in its own right. New, exciting techniques for printing and foiling emerge. Currently trending is digital printing that opens up for creating personalized packaging communication for consumer engagement. What we have only seen the beginning of is new solutions for 3D printing, enabling quick, tailored 3D packaging panels. Another interesting innovation is a new, exclusive technique for laser printing on any substrate – glass, metal, plastic, fabric, paper – for variable codes, text, graphics and messages. It is only natural that these spearhead innovations appear first at the most exclusive trade shows for premium segments, later to become more common, established and affordable.
Many of the round-table talks and seminars at Luxe Pack touched on the subject of sustainability. A clear and continuously strong trend is the environmental awareness that drives changes in consumer behaviour. Consumers today demand packaging that empowers social consciousness. Sustainable packaging is an important argument in the buying process and in the brand communication – which is why sustainability was the main message at the BillerudKorsnäs stand as well.
This year’s colour
Trends and developments could also be traced in the stands themselves. Now, let’s talk stand design. Most stands used a signature identity colour theme, for a coherent and distinctive appearance. Many used wood and rough textures for effective contrast to the shiny or glitzy things on display. All the extravaganza seeks its own counterpoint, embracing expressions of simplicity, authenticity and old-style craft. Luxury does not necessarily mean bling – luxury may just as well be the minimalistic and understated. The trendy colour of the year was rose gold (also according to the Pantone Institute), which frequently appeared as a décor element.
Trend spotting at BillerudKorsnäs
Innovations, new technologies, sustainability, packaging expertise and solutions for premium brands –BillerudKorsnäs ticked all the boxes at Luxe Pack 2016.
No other stand at the exhibition was as tech-intensive as the BillerudKorsnäs stand. This year we included a demo station that created a great deal of interest, showing packaging that communicates. We had live demos in the stand, using three packages fitted with a small gadget that enables packaging/device interaction. A signal from the package triggers content on a tablet or smartphone – storytelling, films, promotions, information or entertainment.
Young designers – the professionals of the future
What is more, the stand also included a presentation of this year’s winning packaging design projects at PIDA France and PIDA Sweden, a special display case which attracted a lot of interest and curiosity. We cannot confine ourselves to the latest trends in premium packaging, we also have to look to the future, to the development of packaging design and to aspirations beyond what can be done today.