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Trends 2017, Part 4: Childhood Innocence, Idealised

The generation of millennials currently reaching adulthood is driving the visual design trends of 2017. Their childhood aspirations are beginning to clash with harsh reality and the future appears unfamiliar, uncertain and less friendly to them. This is affecting how they shop and the designing for them.

This is PART 4 of our simplified summary of The Dieline’s 13 Emerging Package Design + Consumer Shopping Trends of 2017, report.  A big report in small bites for busy designers.

Shopping: This uncertainty and complexity, especially of the millennial generation, is driving a desire for design that presents an idealised innocence that is approachable, familiar and not intimidating. Images that are simple, softer and comforting—instead of sharp and digital—and with an element of escapism are what shoppers’ eyes are seeking.

(Above and below) Organic fair-trade coffee designed by Target Creative Team in partnership with Collins brand consultancy. They wanted something bright and bold that draws customers in with TASTE CUES and APPETITE APPEAL and a compelling region and origin STORY. One of these wasn’t enough, it had to have all three elements.

Design: This is leading to designs that are simple and comforting. Illustrations, animated scenes and characters, handwritten lettering, the feel of screen printing, and simple colourful patterns (all undigital elements).  These designs evoke the simplicity, along with the setting and story of a children’s book. 

(Above and below) Eggplant Factory worked with VANT36.5 for rebranding, package and promotional material design. Softnes, simplicity, illustrated innocent figures.

(Below) Do you remember the joy of playing with blocks?  Or destroying something some other kid built with blocks? Something so simple that brought hours of enjoyment. Fort Point Beer Co. worked with Manual to utilise the geometry and simplicity, blocks and the iconic architecture of San Francisco for their new packaging.  The story in the art draws out the child in the thirsty adult.

(Above and Below) Location and story. Maps and the ionic architecture of San Francisco. 

(Above and Below) The simple geometry of blocks has an element of idealised innocence and childhood. 

(Below) We saved the best example of this trend, and indeed all the 2017 trends we have discussed so far, for last in this post.

(Above and below) This brand of novelty chocolate from Fortnum & Mason, combines elements from Part 1 and Part 2 of this trend report -- nature idealised and the past idealised -- with childhood innocence idealised, for their matchbox chocolate. This packaging design aims to "deliver a playful sense of humour and trigger sentimental memories from times gone by."  Designed by Design Bridge

(Above and below). The wildlife children remember from gardens are hand drawn in classic storybook style, in the magic of a matchbox filled with grass.  Many will be drawn back to some childhood time where they kept a little pet in a box with some grass, or hid some some secret keepsake a matchbox. Each box with its character has a story

(Above and below) Each box has layers of story, for example: “When it comes to prince charming, they say you must kiss a good many frogs before you find true bliss, but look! Here are Two! A rare thing to discover! Perhaps keep one, share the other! Either way, it’s a very sweet sight, so leap into love, take big bite.”

(Above) The boxes are inspired by vintage match boxes.  Note the soft texture of the cardboard, and the colour scheme and simple geometry of the side-strike part of the box.

Here is a question that kept coming to mind while putting this post together:  Is giving millennials what they crave necessarily a good thing? Is it helping them by giving comfort that it is truly needed? Is it exploiting a weakness? Is it encouraging escapism and allowing people to stay childish and living in a false reality?  Or is it doing what design has always done, which is reflect a changing reality?  I am interested in what you think. 

Millennials, what do you think of this?  Do these elements truly appeal to you?  Do they make you feel manipulated?  

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