Revisiting Packaging Storytelling

Packaging is no longer just about containing a product for consumers to pick up off the shelves, but instead has become a storytelling tool that assists in crafting a variety of narratives for various brands.

Within the past few years in the design world, the term “storytelling” has been thrown around quite a lot. But what does it actually mean for a brand to tell a story? Packaging is, of course, one of the main vessels for companies to provide consumers with additional information that forges an emotional connection to a particular brand, and is crucial to the process of brand development. 

One of the ways in which packaging can tell a story is by transporting a consumer to a specific time and place. Often times, design elements and typography are married in order to create a solution that pays homage to the origin of the actual product. An example of this can be seen with Loch Lomond Brewery, a brewery that takes its name from its location in Loch Lomond, Scotland. Their recently redesigned cans and bottles are composed of beautiful flat graphic illustrations of the Loch. They also have an additional range of offerings that incorporate close-up photography of a variety of lush vegetation from the Loch Lomond area, instantly transporting the consumer to another country and giving them a glimpse of what life might look like in a different environment.

The packaging for Ludlow Blunt, a Brooklyn-based salon is another example of how packaging can tell a story through its use of design elements. With gorgeous typography and lettering that is reminiscent of those utilized in the early 20th century, their personal care product range reinforces their inspiration from Commodore Ludlow & Cornelius Blunt, two entrepreneurial men who formed the first Ludlow Blunt store in 1901 in New York City. The overall design pays tribute to the past and allows the consumer to take part in a piece of history, really laying the foundation for brand development. 

Doyles is an Australian restaurant with branding and packaging that makes direct reference to its genesis as the first seafood restaurant established in the country in 1885. A striking blue and white design along with detailed handcrafted lettering allow for a direct reference to newspaper headlines and designs that would dominate society for much of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This design approach provides an overwhelming sense of nostalgia, while also telling a story of a restaurant with a significant amount of heritage behind its name.

Often times, photography can also be an extremely powerful tool when attempting to paint a narrative within a packaging design solution. Babina Leta Potatoes are a Belarusian brand that incorporate this idea within their packaging in order to connect with consumers in an emotional manner. The design features attention-grabbing black and white photos of authentic Belarusian grandmothers holding and preparing potatoes for consumption. This tells a story in an almost folkloric manner and even invites consumers to reflect on their own narratives and experiences with their families.

Overall, brands are looking to focus on and incorporate design elements within their packaging that not only serve aesthetically pleasing purposes, but also tell stories and narratives that truly capture the spirit of what their brand represents and help to develop the brand identity. 

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