The Dieline, one of the foremost authorities on modern product packaging design, has proclaimed in a recent article by Grant Wenzlau that "essentialism" has become a prominent, new packaging design trend of 2016. But what is essentialism and what does it mean for consumers who are now regularly encountering it on store shelves and online shopping hubs?

"Enough is Enough"

According to The Dieline, essentialism is not quite what minimalism is. As Wenzlau writes, while minimalism means "less is more," essentialism means "enough is enough." While both styles work with sparsity, essentialism is truly committed to only displaying elements that are essential for the packaging design to function for consumers.

You can see how essentialism works in several of the examples spotlighted in the article: Tylenol Care+, Triden Xtra Care, and—perhaps most compelling—Basic Products. Basic Products clearly embraced essentialism enthusiastically and boiled down their design to the barest of necessities. While some may find these designs frigid or uninviting, others have found the clarity and honesty of Basic Product designs compelling and refreshing.

Take a closer look at Basic Products at The Dieline site here.

Why Essentialism?

Where did essentialism come from? According to The Dieline, essentialism is a response to not only the "busyness" of other packaging design trends, but also the unprecedented variety of options consumers are constantly bombarded by.

The message expressed again and again in this year's packaging is that consumers are overwhelmed," Wenzlau writes. "We have everything at our fingertips and the ability to be instantly connected to millions of people. This has many benefits—but the flip-side is that it is harder than ever to find what we want... We want simple, clear, digestible messages—because that is all we have time for and all we can handle.

Is essentialism right for every product? For every audience? No—no single design approach ever is. But if you're looking to appeal to those customers who are seeking something that immediately sets its self apart from competitors that shout in their faces, the quieter, arresting aesthetic of essentialism may be the right choice.

You can read all of "Emerging Packaging Trends of 2016" at The Dieline Site here.

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