Expert's Opinion

The Renewal Trend

By Cheryl Swanson, Toniq | January 10, 2011

Cheryl Swanson on the promise of a cleanier, healthier tomorrow.

This month, I am shifting my attention from the macrotrend of Authenticity to that of Renewal. As the next incarnation of the green movement, Renewal responds directly to the recession, promising a cleaner and healthier tomorrow.
The advent of civic re-purposing is tied to the Renewal trend with the popularity of such new urban refuges as the HighLine, in New York, or in the desire for Detroit to replace roughly a quarter of the city’s abandoned blocks with semi-rural farmlands and parks.
Our human thirst to return to the land is clear in the continual growth of locally grown seasonal food and farm-to-table dining. Even interior design has been inundated with interior nature styling that brings the outside in via wall plantings and new organic forms.
So, how does this trend translate into HBA packaging design?

For food companies, the visual language is there for the picking. But HBA companies have to work harder, especially if their product is not organic or composed of natural ingredients, which both go a long way in satisfying the Renewal Consumer. Stella McCartney, for example, launched Care, a line of certified organic skin care inspired by her vegetarian principles and environmental commitment. If your product’s ingredient list is not 100% natural, then the packaging will have to work double time to tell a Renewal story and resonate with consumers.
Two ideas that are gaining traction today are transparency and biodegradable packaging. Using transparent cues is a great way to communicate honesty and trust, implying that your product has nothing to hide.
Consumers appreciate being spoken to directly, it makes them feel like they are making smart choices and are in control of what they put in their shopping cart and on their bodies. Many don’t enjoy superfluous packaging that comes with products today, from toys to dry-cleaning, and HBA products are no exception.
Pangea Organics started this trend with their packaging, which is made using 100% post-consumer compostable paper and organic seeds like basil and amaranth. With the consumer literally planting the packaging, a natural 3D ritual is added to the beauty experience, resulting in other sensorial benefits such as smell and taste. Even Dell now uses bamboo for the packaging for their computers and tablets.
The future is renewable!

About the Author
Cheryl Swanson founded Toniq ( after leading several design firms to world-class status with her emotions-based, visual approach to brand strategy development. At Toniq, she continues to evolve her strategic expertise by seeking new ways to connect with consumers.

Swanson’s years of trend tracking, design management and research have coalesced in a theory of Brand Effervescence™ an innovative approach to brand building. This image-based approach is a synthesis of cultural anthropology, consumer trends research, marketing and design, and a study of the psychology of symbolism and color.

Toniq has used this process successfully for leading consumer packaged goods product development, retail and on-line brands, including: Target, Unilever, Lycos, Kraft Foods, Gillette, Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue, Pepsi, Con Agra, and Nestle Purina to create or redefine brand personalities and visual positioning recommendations for new products and established brands.

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