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Six Design Agencies Creating the Future of Packaging

Published November 20, 2022
Published November 20, 2022
Aktiva Brand Experience Design

The packaging makes the product, or the sale, to be more specific. According to a 2017 IPSOS study, 72% of consumers are directly influenced by packaging in their purchasing decisions, and 81% in their gift buys. Given that the average purchasing decision time is 2.5 seconds, and 85% of buyers are more influenced by packaging than marketing, the visual styling of the product vessel cannot be underestimated, especially in today’s hypercompetitive climate. Consumers are demanding eco-friendly options that can look and behave just as well as their virgin plastic predecessors. From biodegradable solutions to strikingly colorful options and innovative textures that have a low carbon footprint, the realm has seen an onslaught of innovation.

Make a Mark is hoping to push the creative possibilities of the medium even further. Now in its second year of existence, the creative platform was founded by Estal, Avery Dennison, and Kurz to test the limitless possibilities of sustainable luxury packaging for beauty and fragrance, as well as drinks, wine, and spirits.

Entrants are allowed carte blanche access to the latest technologies and material innovations, with no budget or material constraints. Estal provides the glass, Avery Dennison the labeling tools, and Kurz the embellishments and printing tools. “This year’s concepts invite us all to reimagine what is possible when it comes to packaging design and the positive societal messages it can convey. We hope this starts a global conversation around dynamic, bold and creative new ideas,” comments Vladimir Tyulpin, Avery Dennison's Market Segment Leader for Wine & Spirits.

BeautyMatter spoke to this year’s finalists in the beauty and fragrance categories to gain insight into their creative processes and thoughts on innovation.

56 Mar Design Studio, Dubai

Creative Director Omar Marwan took his inspiration from pharaonic culture, incorporating the sacred animal of Horus, the falcon, into the perfume bottle shape. Its sides bear the golden wings of the bird and hieroglyphics, while the bottom of the vessel is decorated with a scarab beetle to symbolize the cycle of life. Its cap design is inspired by Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus, emulating the ruler’s headdress, while the middle of the bottle design is hollow in order to allow for inner illumination—a nod to the biannual solar phenomenon that illuminates the Ramses statue residing inside the Abu Simbel temple in Aswan, Egypt.

How would you define pushing the boundaries in packaging?

Omar Marwan, Creative Director: For me, pushing the boundaries is thinking of the packaging not as just a good-looking holder of the product, but as an inspiration for anyone who sees it. The customer should be inspired by the beauty of it, seeing every detail and feeling every texture. It should bring happiness to him/her, maybe bring back a memory, or inspire him/her to think of something they hadn’t before. That's what we call good packaging.

What is the future of packaging?

OM: Every time we think about the future, we cannot think of anything more than recyclable paper materials. There should be no waste of materials, especially as we are suffering from the waste we have to live with these days. Recyclable papers and labels that decompose after we finish using them and recyclable glass that can be recycled after every use are definitely the future of packaging.

Aktiva Brand Experience Design, Spain

The Barcelona-based agency created Vannity, a fragrance container influenced  by the alabaster bowls that shamans and druids used to make their potions and ointments with essential oils. There are three components to the packaging: the bottle itself, scented jewelry (as a nod to how shamans and druids decorated their bodies during rituals), and digital fragrance application, which, through a Bluetooth connection in the bottle’s base, allows the user to access the brand’s digital universe and customize avatars for use in the metaverse.

How would you define pushing the boundaries in packaging?

Bel Diví, New Business Design Director: Asking “Why not?” all the way through the design process, not only at the beginning or in the initial conceptualization. It’s also a matter of questioning the functionality and the beauty at the same time. And when we talk about function, we include the sustainability of the final project.

What is the future of packaging?

BD: Packaging will remain in the future as a key element in product life. It’s part of the consumer experience, but it’s also the brand experience. Making this packaging more experienceable for the consumer has been the new trend lately. The “touch factor,” the ergonomics, the pleasant color, and finishings … this will continue evolving.

We think that in the future, this will be also exported to the digital. We will need to make digital packaging more experienceable in the same way that we are doing in the physical plane nowadays. How we can translate this physical experience to the digital plane, it’s the big question for now. We might need to think in 360º when we are in the digital: the main facing of packaging is less important, for instance, or how the animations or movement can be significant in the digital packaging design.

FLOV, Poland

A cosmic-looking entry called Vivané, FLOV’s concept was inspired by an employee’s recounting of seeing a huge soap bubble burst during a visit to the Wroclaw market, and the resulting expression of disappointment by a young boy at the disappearing bubble. Vivané is an attempt to preserve the bubble for eternity, this time in glass form, held in a stone frame, filled with the scent of happiness. The design name is also a marriage of the words “viva,” the Italian word for “cheer,” and “né,” the French word for being born, to call for a celebration of life.

How would you define pushing the boundaries in packaging?

Grzegorz Chorostecki, Designer and Art Director: Pushing the boundaries in today's packaging design is primarily a conscious use of existing materials and techniques, but also the development of new, never used before [alternatives]. It’s the courage to reach for previously unknown solutions and combine them with graphic form and branding.

What is the future of packaging?

GC: OLED labels and boxes are the nearest future for luxury packaging, but at the same time, I think that sustainable materials are very important for packaging design and production nowadays. As a branding and packaging design studio, we see many new challenges in packaging design in the era of digitization.


A tall, black, sleek, and shiny container holding a copper fragrance bottle with refillable inner content, Noumenon is a three-tiered object described as “a fragrance fountain.” forceMAJEURE was led by four design principles: intrinsic humanness, multidimensional self, anti-perfume, and physical ritual. The end result is customizable packaging emphasizing a ritualized and individualized approach to perfumery.

How would you define pushing the boundaries in packaging?

Laurent Hainaut, founder and CEO: Packaging is often also part of the product and its experience. Therefore, we need to consider the various functions of packaging. For example, I don’t think a fragrance bottle is only “packaging.” It’s an object and, at the same time, packaging. By clearly separating the “object” aspect of the packaging from its pure “packing” function, we can push the boundaries and create meaningful and purposeful packs that will become more easily sustainable, reusable, or recyclable.

What is the future of packaging?

LH: Packaging has multiple essential functions: protecting and transporting, communicating and storytelling, but it also has a not-so-glorious afterlife. So we need to add another characteristic to packaging: its ability to disappear without nuisance. We must resolve the tension between the need for great storytelling, beauty, and function while minimizing impact and environmental footprint in the same stride. Therein lies the future of packaging.

Lonsdale, France

Khus is a sustainably minded project focused on the vetiver plant and a zero-waste approach. In fact, the word “khus” is the original name given to the vetiver plant, which grows in North India. The Lonsdale team challenged itself to work with mono materials, using only recycled or recyclable items. Aside from its use for fragrance compositions, vetiver was used for the bottle label, cork, cord, and outer bottle structure, an intricately cut design encasing a recycled Wild Glass component created to hold the scent. The overall shape employs a biomimetic design approach, emulating a natural cocoon.

How would you define pushing the boundaries in packaging?

David So, Creative Director: We had to challenge the industrial process in order to create a surprise effect and tell a simple yet unique story about the product.

We also needed to work in a holistic way, creating a brand, silhouette, graphic elements, and textures, while being inspired by different categories such as architecture, fashion, art, design, etc.

What is the future of packaging?

DS: Creating and reinventing the codes of luxury while keeping sustainability at heart. As designers, we believe that we can help to find solutions that create a new and more sustainable perception of desirable objects. We need to redefine our approach in packaging design, by showing that recycled and recyclable materials can be an innovative way to create value.

Partisan du Sens, France

Working with the concept of playful fragrance cocktails and taking inspiration from neo-perfume houses, DIY, and “the confluence between two universes: spirits and beauty,” the Parisian agency devised three totemic design elements in shades of garnet, cerulean blue, olive, and copper. The division into three pillars is a nod to the three elements of perfume: top, heart, and base notes. The Totem project is particularly designed with Gen Z in mind; beyond the reusable and variously molded/textured exterior, users can customize the experience with pre-chosen fragrance creations for each totem.

How would you define pushing the boundaries in packaging?

Gerald Galdini, François Takounseun, co-founders:  There is no limit for the packaging, as long as there is a true and meaningful story, and free and positive concepts such as DIY or other new gestures.

What is the future of packaging?

GG, FT: The future of packaging is sustainable. We are convinced that packaging must be not only beautiful, but also useful and, above all, eco-responsible. This involves materials and logistics, but also the second life of the product, whether it is reusable or refillable. For Totem, we thought about designs that can be refilled endlessly but also reused. Consumers can keep their three totemic elements to decorate and color their interior space.


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