- 28th March 2022
The Devil’s in the Details: The Importance of Luxury Packaging
What does luxury mean today? In a world in which the word is used to describe everything from an exclusive holiday to a packet of chocolate biscuits, it can be hard to know which products will really deliver on their promises.
Equally, true luxury brands are suffering from this swamping of the market, as inferior products are marketed on the premise of being ‘premium’ while driving prices and quality down.
This means that for many consumers, the concept of luxury is changing. As it does so, brands must adapt to maintain their reputations as first-rate providers. In today’s oversaturated market, the meaning of luxury is moving away from the materiality of a product, towards the experience surrounding it and what it represents to the user. This, and a new generation of eco-conscious consumers, have resulted in a desire for luxury brands whose products invoke a sense of timelessness and longevity. In the modern age, luxury is made to last.
And here at GPA Luxury, we believe that when it comes to packaging, the devil is in the details.
What Makes Packaging Luxury?
At GPA Luxury, we have world-renowned expertise in creating high-quality packaging which truly embodies the spirit of luxury. For us, luxury is at the heart of everything we do, from the initial conversations with a client which help us gain a deep understanding of their brand, to the finished product. But what really makes packaging luxury?
We believe that luxury packaging should serve to enhance rather than eclipse the product within and should aim to become part of the consumer experience. Luxury today is all about sleekness and refinement, which might be achieved with an understated design but using materials of exceptional quality. Branding should be equally subtle: true luxury does not need to shout but is imbued in the very essence of a product.
The quality of a packaging’s design also reflects its luxury status; therefore, functionality is a key element to consider. Expertly crafted packaging will speak to the user of its quality in a hundred little ways, from the ease with which it opens, to the perfect tolerance of the internal components to one another. A lid which closes seamlessly, or a box which is neatly crafted to display a product to its best advantage, provide the user with a sense of the time and care which has been poured into its production: a true symbol of luxury. The use of premium and hardwearing materials can provide a comfortable weight, which reassures users of its ability to protect the primary product within. As many may opt to keep the packaging as a keepsake, it is vital that it is both beautiful and long-lasting.
For a real luxury experience, it is important that the packaging consider not only the visual expectations of the consumer but also incorporates other sensory elements. The soft touch of a velvet interior, the smooth unfurling of a ribbon, or the satisfying click of a metal clasp are little touches which go a long way.
It is often said that the true difference between an ordinary and a luxury product is in the tiny details, small additions which a consumer may not even notice, but which work together to provide them with that irreplicable luxury feel. So too with luxury packaging, in which the discovery of such details becomes part of the experience and reassures the user that expert thought and care has been applied to every aspect of the product.
Whether it is in the fine run of stitches which give the pack a handcrafted and personal touch, or in a beautiful badge which subtly promotes the brand, with these small elements, the focus must be on quality.
Metallic elements, such as hinges, clasps, screws, and locks are frequently used in luxury packaging, which may opt for solid wood or MDFs as part of their design when creating a pack with sufficient protection for heavier products. Although these components may not be the most ‘obvious’ parts of the packaging, they play a vital role in ensuring that it functions seamlessly: using substandard elements will inevitably degrade the quality of the pack and ultimately the consumers experience of the product. Premium quality hinges which are designed specifically for that pack rather than purchased as a standard will provide a smoother, subtler experience when opening and closing, adding to that luxury feel. There are many varieties of hinge (piano, quadrant, knife etc.), and so an expert knowledge of which will best complement the design is important.
The metallic elements of a pack will usually require a finish to bring out their gleam, which may be achieved by paint, lacquer, or electroplating. It is at this stage that the importance of using premium quality metals becomes clear: the more impurities the metal contains, the more susceptible it will be to damage such as corrosion. It is therefore vital that a series of quality checks is completed to ensure that the packaging will stand the test of time: a signifier of a true luxury brand.
Another way to create a real sense of luxury is the use of high-quality foils or prints. The added shine of gold or silver across the packaging lends a unique elegance, enhancing the user experience, while a carefully designed print can be used to perfectly complement the product within.
These little details help elevate a product, and can even draw a user into its story, allowing them to engage with the experience on a more personal level. For example, a metallic band carefully placed across the packaging for a whisky bottle might evoke the look and feel of a whisky still, helping the consumer to feel a connection to the product from its very inception.
There is a traditional assumption that luxury and sustainability are at odds with one another. But as customers become ever more eco-conscious, seeking out environmentally friendly brands and minimum waste alternatives, the very meaning of luxury is changing also. In this new, more mindful world, luxury packaging is no longer merely elegant, subtle, or refined: it is also kind.
But what does this mean? For GPA luxury, it means assuming environmental responsibility when sourcing primary materials, and placing sustainability at the heart of everything we do. It means taking measures to minimalize our impact during both the production and delivery stages. Above all, it means ensuring that our packaging is of sufficiently high quality that its longevity and ability to protect the primary product is assured.
One way to maximize the sustainability of a product is to prioritize the use of recyclable or sustainable resources and minimizing or removing the presence of single-use plastics.
GPA Luxury’s exclusive Eco-Logic range showcases how luxury packaging brands can embrace environmentally friendly solutions, without sacrificing on style. This sustainable range consists of three designs geared towards the cosmetics industry, each of which is crafted entirely from biodegradable and eco-friendly materials, including moulded pulp, FSC paper, recyclable foils, and soy-based inks. The expert knowledge of the team at GPA has resulted in advanced capabilities when using these materials, meaning we are able to create a wide range of innovative and elegant packaging, while remaining true to our environmental principles.
As luxury becomes increasingly associated with the experience of a product above and beyond its material use, it is clear that sustainability plays a vital role in that experience, and with it, the sense of timelessness that true luxury brands should make it their priority to invoke.