Graphic Design 2010

Safeway’s Eating Right products use colored icons to communicate particular product attributes.

SABMiller plc uses “The Mark” to help establish global brand positioning for its Grolsch beer.

Simplicity, sustainability, and globalization are just some 
of the trends impacting graphic design for packaging.

Graphic design for packaging is by its nature a creative process. It is always evolving and changing with the times or with what new technologies have to offer.

Several recent trends identified by Anthem Worldwide (, the strategic design company of Schawk, Inc. (, will continue to impact the design environment well into this decade, says Michael Coleman, managing director for Anthem. These trends include simplicity, sustainability, globalization, rebirth, and showcasing. packagePRINTING recently asked Coleman to expand on each of these areas as they relate to package printing.

pP: What are some graphic design techniques that contribute to a simple, yet appealing look?

Coleman—A good, general approach is to eliminate clutter. There are two key practices that can help accomplish this. First, understand clearly the idea or message that you are trying to convey, and then eliminate anything that doesn’t contribute to this message. You need to show good discipline—evaluate every element in the design and eliminate anything that’s not pulling its weight.

Second, avoid using trendy visual techniques. In the ’80s, it was pinstripes; the ’90s saw the use of gradients; later in the 90s it was holographic. Sometimes, the use of new technology developments can be too tempting to pass up. I once asked a young graphic designer why he was using a particular design technique. His response was, “Because I can.” Avoid this trap; get rid of embellishments that don’t convey the brand message.

pP: Does the concept of simplicity also extend to flexibility for the cost-effective incorporation of line extensions and/or future marketing campaigns?

Coleman—This is a good question and the answer ties back to the first point—getting rid of clutter. The simpler and clearer a basic design is, the easier it is to add a new message that consumers can pick up. Many times, an area is reserved in the design for potential future use, such as promotional messages. The graphic system is designed to efficiently accommodate this.

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