5 Beauty Industry Package Design Experts Discuss the Balance of Beautiful, Sustainable & Achievable
Design plays many roles in Cosmetics, including educating consumers.
Jamie Matusow, Editor-in-Chief, Beauty Packaging05.16.22
Packaging design is a complex task to begin with, and starts with the product creation itself. With the increasing move toward sustainability , projects are even more complicated as consumers, brands and retailers weigh in—the latter looking for the right balance to promote on-shelf and online. Here, we speak with a selection of design experts and their greatest challenges going forward. For more, please see “Ramping Up the Sustainability Conversation” at BeautyPackaging.com
Marc Rosen, President, Marc Rosen Associates:
The most important factor for packaging designers is to not lose sight of our primary obligation to our client and to the consumer. Designing beautiful, impactful and appropriate containers for fragrance, skincare and cosmetics that underscores the brand and product within, while at the same time being as sustainable as possible. The goal may be sustainable packaging, but brands beware, there is a fine line between achieving beautiful and creating sustainable. We must balance both to satisfy our mission.
Stephen Corsi, Vice President Packaging Development, Roberts Beauty:
Even though we already have some great sustainability solutions in place, there is still much to do before we completely offset the long-standing problems caused by fossil fuel derived resins, lifecycle energy inefficiencies and end-of-life reclaim/waste management. The biggest challenge is to match solutions to consumer expectations and brand messaging at an acceptable price. Education will continue to be extremely important, particularly between brands and their consumers. Potential U.S. state level Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulation and retailer mandates have added extra pressure on brands to find authentic sustainable solutions. By working together and keeping an open dialogue, we can collectively meet these challenges and bring our industry to a better place.
Shayne Tilley, Head of Marketing at 99designs by Vista:
It’s important for brands to keep in mind the role design plays, not only to stand out, but also to educate consumers on their sustainability promises. Transparency is essential for building trust, and design is pivotal to communicating your brand values.
For brands, finding the right packaging and ways to use less material without compromising on quality or aesthetics is an ongoing challenge. Yet this also creates opportunities to discover even better solutions. For consumers, it’s all about accessibility. As more brands produce environmentally conscious products that look good and do good, making greener choices becomes easier and more appealing.
Genevieve Lawrence, Director of Sustainability and Impact, Sustainable Global Design Firm MaCher:
There is a lot of learning and unlearning to do, you need to be prepared to shift gears and move away from a solution if new research is showing that it is not as viable as you first thought. As we invest more in understanding the processes of recovery, recycling, material science and refillables, we will also need to be adaptable to what the research is telling us. If the holistic impact is not positive, we need to improve it or seek out a different alternative. Educating consumers along the way with what we are learning will improve our progress. If consumers understand how to responsibly handle packaging, it makes it far easier to recover materials and input back into the supply chain.
Michela Graci, Strategy Partner and Sustainability Champion at Coley Porter Bell:
At a time when consumers find recycling to be confusing, brands need clear messaging and action. It’s no longer enough for brands to say they ‘do good’, they must prove it or risk disengagement. Consumers are more powerful, knowledgeable and opinionated than ever and they want to see companies reflect their social practice throughout their brand experience, not just the packaging. Historically, the conversation around sustainability focused on the environment, but it’s now broader and embracing aspects of economic development and social equity.
It’s estimated that 70% of carbon emissions associated with the beauty industry could be eliminated by swapping to refillable containers. Brands need to step up – start with improving reuse and extending their sustainable efforts beyond the shelves and looking for cross-industry synergies in technology, supply chain logistics and open sources to ensure sustainable initiatives don’t come at a cost for consumers and rapidly become mainstream.