24 May 2022
Termed ‘blanding‘ after the deluge of minimalist designs of the previous years which have seen a takeover in product packaging. The aim was to: describe the trend of moving away from decorated typefaces, complex colour schemes, and intricate shapes in favour of a simplified, sleek, yet bold look. Unfortunately, where one goes others follow, and blanding has become a word associated with companies in the same sector who all look and sound the same.
Brands that have launched in the last five or so years have gone with a more ‘serene’ look – this was done so with neutral palettes, fonts without fuss, and a very less-is-more take on branding. This meant that those brands stood out when they first launched against the bright, bold and bombarding designs of older, more established brands which had emerged during a time when fuss equalled luxury. The minimal revolution worked. The clean lifestyle trend had just become popular and in the last 5 years 85% of customers have moved towards more sustainable shopping habits which have been intensified by the aesthetics that they saw on the shelves. The issue is that now every brand has simplified, they all look the same – which means that no one stands out.
So having gone for a minimalist look, brands are now redoing their simple, clean aesthetics and injecting something that will catch the eye of their target customers – this move to embrace maximalism has been aided by TikTok. This social media platform has embraced color, goofiness and larger-than-life theatrics. The result is an entire user-base who look for exaggeration in all things; if there’s a box then it has to be eye-catching, if there’s a product it has to be different. The icon of the platform is bright and bold – with iconic neon hues that instantly connect the viewer to the vibe of the social media site. However some parts of the blanding trend have stayed the course, here are some areas:
Simple For Scrolling
Minimalism was made for the screen – simplified logos, blocks of color and bold typography. It’s no wonder that this clean aesthetic is so appealing for Instagram audiences and e-commerce site users. The lack of fuss associated with minimalism is also more helpful for brands. They are more recognisable, more memorable and their graphics are more appropriate for various products and platforms – with a maneuverability that enables fast growth and connection with their customers. So as well as product minimalism, blanding has also had an extreme and lasting impact on corporate branding. Customers want things to be easy, simple and interesting. Recognisable graphics, colors and slogans upgrade a brand.
Neutral palettes have also helped to make way for natural materials. The consumer demand for ethical materials with high sustainable credentials means that brands have had to clean up more than just their act. Certifications and tests are the only way to disprove any greenwashing claims and most companies – not wishing to alienate themselves from a market that is increasingly concerned with it’s impact on the environment – have taken to building as many accreditations in this area as possible.
Strong & Direct Tone
Minimalism also cuts out excess in tone as well as color. Brands direct themselves without fluff to their audiences and – due to an increase in watchdogs and criticism – are watchful that their words match their actions.
The main issues with blanding are that it creates a generic image for sectors where there is no definition between individual companies. If they all look the same then there is no way the consumer will be able to make a decision on new purchases by visuals alone. Considering that most consumers make purchases visually, blanding will have an impact on what is purchased because the product won’t stand out online or in-store. 44% of social media users go on platforms five times a day and one third of online purchase decisions begin on social media.
Make sure that your packaging isn’t blanding; there are lots of ways to create branded packaging which gets the attention of your target audience and stands out from the crowd.