Thinking differently about luxury packaging

When we think luxury packaging, we all remember that one scene in Richard Curtis’s Christmas RomCom, Love Actually. Harry, played by the late Alan Rickman, is buying an expensive necklace for his office fling while his wife is busy browsing nearby. He approaches the overzealous department store assistant, played by the infallible Rowan Atkinson, who asks whether Harry would like the present ‘gift wrapped’. He accepts, regrettably, and the hilarity ensues.

But not all luxury packaging has to involve scoops of potpourri, cinnamon sticks and looking over shoulders.

Corporate packaging, such as gift wrapping, is evolving to meet the needs of clients and to resonate better with customers.

Sometimes packaging is improved simply to improve usability. Other times it is stripped back to its core in the name of saving the environment.

Meanwhile, some packaging has stood the test of time and become idyllic in people’s minds. Think Tiffany’s blue box, which has been around almost as long as the brand itself.

Whatever you buy, sell or share, packaging is an important part of that experience. And this even applies to the no-thrills carrier bag. As Atty Hussein, operations director at designer department store Liberty, said: “Every online customer gets a carrier bag and we stick a ribbon on the top with the assumption it is going to be a gift. Even if the customer keeps it for themselves, that is elevation for us in terms of giving every customer – whether they visit the store, go online or come into contact with a Liberty employee – a sense of pleasure.”

Packaging can also create a sense of identity for the customer. Nowadays, almost every electronic device can be customised (either officially or unofficially), paving the way for new commercial opportunities. Red, blue, orange, or diamond encrusted (looking at you, Apple), custom packaging enables a customer to truly fall in love with your product.

So next time you consider luxury packaging, forget the cinnamon sticks and put style, design, utility and customisation at the forefront.

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