Opinion Series: Visual Sincerity

"As the digital era disconnects people with the products they consume, it’s resulted in a growing rejection of faceless, corporate design and a need for Visual Sincerity – a design direction focused on an uncomplicated, raw and sketchy style."

Ben Sillence, Director of Strategy & Innovation from Path, has recently wrote an opinion series contribution on Visual Sincerity, where brands are reengaging with consumers with honest, handcrafted expressions and packaging.

 

As the digital era disconnects people with the products they consume, it’s resulted in a growing rejection of faceless, corporate design and a need for Visual Sincerity – a design direction focused on an uncomplicated, raw and sketchy style.

As food and drink brands increasingly look to reconnect themselves with consumers by showcasing the craft and skill in the production process, branded packaging has become the canvas on which authenticity is being projected.

Greek designer Zafeiriadis Christos has looked to recreate the connection between maker and consumer with his packaging design for a limited edition wine. Printed with a silk-screen printing method on paper, illustrations depict the process of creating wine from the harvest to the bottling. 

The beautifully crafted illustrations give connotations of care and attention, and a feeling that each bottle of wine was loving made, from the planting of the seed to the bottling process. 

A limited edition packaging for the juice brand Rich also seeks to reconnect the consumer with the life of the product, using a sketchy script style with hand-drawn elements of illustration. Contrasting sharply with the glossy, mass-manufactured styles usually found in the chilled juice aisle, Rich has an attention-grabbing level of detail, yet uses a very limited palette of colours.

This raw style is now being found globally, as consumers across the world look for sincerity and authenticity in what they are buying and consuming. 

Santa Cruz is a quick service Mexican BBQ restaurant located in Santa Catarina, a municipality of the greater Monterrey area in northeast Mexico. It’s branding projects honesty, simplicity and wholesomeness, with chalkboard looking typography and a strong emphasis on the product and not the brand – the use of simple type screen printed onto jars and bottles accentuates this. 

With an aim to be franchised in the future, the authentic and handcrafted look of Santa Cruz will be distinctive amongst the synthetic fast food chain restaurants.

Large brands have also started to identify the consumer need for more uncomplicated and raw produce, and have sought to communicate it through the packaging. The high-end, UK supermarket brand Waitrose has gone for a Visual Sincerity style on its Good To Go range – it features hand-drawn illustrations and a script-like style of typography. 

The Waitrose design shows that the trend for raw, sketchy graphics has now progressed beyond small artisan brands and is now being gradually embraced by the mainstream.

Visual Sincerity is a visual manifestation of the consumer need to be reconnected with the makers of the products they consume – whether it’s beer, wine, bread or fruit juice. 

Projecting an honest, uncomplicated and crafted appearance through branding and packaging is allowing brands to reach out to consumers, educating them in the production process or providing reassurance of authenticity and quality. 

Key Take-outs

  1. People are feeling increasingly disconnected to the production process of what they consume. Can your brand reintroduce that connection, and empower the consumer with a ‘behind the scenes’ approach to the production of their product?
  2. Projecting an honest, simple and wholesome brand through the packaging graphics is key to the product being perceived as authentic and of high quality.
  3. Strip down graphics and visual communication for transparent – make your product, and its quality, the hero.  

About Ben Sillence

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Ben Sillence is a creative strategist with a background in product and packaging design, and joined Path as their Strategy and Innovation Manager in 2012.

With a belief that strategic innovation works best with creative thinking, he has helped grow some of the worlds largest brands, such as JTI, SABMiller, P&G, Dell, PepsiCo and Kraft. Ben also acts as author and editor of Mapº, a monthly trends briefing piece from Path that seeks to inform brand leaders through trend analysis, and inspire fresh thinking.