The term luxury packaging seems to get thrown around more and more in conversations about where the packaging market is moving. This should come as no surprise as more  brands have started using luxury packaging as a vessel to further solidify the brands position in their respected market. The largest industries investing in luxury packaging are cosmetics and the wine/spirits industry. It might seem obvious that non commodity items can afford to have luxury packaging due to their high price points, but the reasons why it there is a demand for luxury packaging is far more complex than that. The value of luxury packaging within these industry is so important it actually can protect the identity of the brand through the packaging alone, being that luxury packaging is so expensive it makes it hard to replicate.


So what sets luxury packaging apart for other packaging aside from the price. As a consumer you might be already attune to these differentiations, but formally verbalizing the luxury efforts can be a little trickier. 

As packaging and design firm, calling out and implementing luxury design techniques is merely second nature to us. Some of them are more obvious than others but it each have their own benefits and strong points.


There a quite a few indications of luxury that can be derived just from the outside appearance of the packaging.  Finishes are some of the most notable of these indications. They can range from subtle all the way to stark and attention grabbing. Different types of finishes commonly compliment each other on the packaging. For example a matte finish is often paired with a gloss  design embellishment. This provides subtle but engaging effect referred to as spot uv. Other times the designs are more stand out , a common example of this is foil stamping which is seen in a large majority of wine and spirits.

Beyond just the visually identity of the packaging there are other less obvious sensory indications of quality. This is how the packaging sounds and smells actually. It might seem kinda odd at first to consider sound and smell of packaging at first thought, but it's usually the absence of these sensory aspects that make packaging luxurious. For most of us, the thought of noisy packaging is underlying pet peeve that we didn't know we hated until it is present. Think of shopping bags and plastic blister packs, then contrast that with a weighted soft touch bag where the pitch of noises that come from the bag during use are much more muffled and tolerable.


Olfaction is the other less obvious sensory indication. The smell of packaging, if repulsive can drastically decrease its shelf appeal and possibly even the product appeal. This is not to say that all packaging must  smell desirable but it certainly doesn't help to have a bad odor. Some cheaper packaging solutions use super strong glues that smell very toxic. Other issues can arise if the packaging is not stored in dehumidified areas where mold can easily grow. Sometimes this can be so obvious that the packaging can actually smell moldy.

The reverse can be said about pleasant smelling packaging, that can evict strong positive emotions. Not many brands are doing this at the moment but there is an emerging market for scent marketing.


Probably the most obvious indication of luxury is how the packaging physically feels. The haptic feedback that packaging provides the user with is extremely important , this is how the packaging interacts with itself and how easy it is to open and the types of closures the packaging implements. Tactility refers to how the texture of the packaging. Textures are powerful stylistic embellishment that can be a powerful messaging tool and most textures serve very specific purposes in messaging.


Eco Friendliness is also becoming a rising indication of luxury. The increasing expectation to use recyclable materials is forcing brands to use higher quality materials that have less of an impact on the environment.

 

The last powerful indication of luxury packaging is the anticipation built with a well designed unboxing experience. Prolonged unboxings can create a perception of value and reduce buyers remorse and returns if it is done correctly. Unboxing's are highly valued among the packaging industry, and it continues to be a primary focus for packaging. A well designed unboxing will slow down the reveal of the product through vacuum sealed lids smooth hinges and multiple layers of material.