Crawford Blog • The Evolution of Modern Packaging

Years ago, producers did not worry about packaging products for sale and transport. However, over time we have developed strategies and tactics to successfully package our consumer goods.  In today’s modern times, packaging has even become crucial for a business’s success.

The Industrial Revolution’s Impact on Packaging

While packaging invited printers to brand products on any material, the Industrial Revolution inspired designers to personalize the brands. Packaging progressed as people settled into lives on farms and then migrated to large cities. The Industrial Revolution introduced mass production and distribution of merchandise. With the industrial revolution came material shortages and the need for faster, cheaper packaging. The Industrial Revolution created the need for several markets:

  • Food packaging material
  • Product packaging materials
  • Bins for storage and transportation
  • New packaging designs for store displays

Following the mass migration to large cities, more people began to work in large factories. Packaging needs shifted from bulk loads to smaller packaging for individuals. Glass jars and paper-based packaging dominated the industry, but something new would fill the growing needs of city dwellers and manufacturers. Along with these industrial changes came an expansion in advertising. As the importance of branding became more widely recognized, packaging became used as a platform to spread company logos.

Cellulose plastic became the packaging of choice in the early 1900s. The flexible cellulose made it possible to package different shapes and sizes cheaply and it also sealed more effectively than old paper-based containers.

Cellulose plastic remained on top until the 1960s and the discovery of polyethylene plastic. This plastic took over as the leading packaging material and remains heavily used today. These plastics can mold to any shapes or sizes to match a logo or slogan. There are many other types of plastics and packaging materials that now exist as well. Other types of materials have been designed to keep produce fresh longer, secure expensive electronics so they do not break during shipping, and green packaging made from renewable sources.

Packaging Designs

Industries began changing logos or brand names to fit pop culture or cultural changes. Today, the concern about the ecosystem and global warning prompt labels and ingredients to “go green.” Not only the ingredients and branding follow this new trend, the packaging must change with it also.

Biodegradable products have become the new rage. Not only does it look good for companies to help the environment and use recycled materials for product packaging, but the materials needed can also prove to be cheap and effective. Consumers always tend to favor businesses that have a Green Policy in place, as well.

Packaging for the Future

Packaging trends are forever changing to fit consumer and production needs. One of the major future trends expected to take off is the complete dominance of plastic pallets and materials in the product packaging process. Wood has become somewhat outdated and cannot seem to always surpass the benefits of plastics.

Ultimately, the packaging industry continues its evolution into the future with more products on the horizon. The industrial revolution may have passed, but the need for innovative packaging will never end.

Of course, we will keep you updated with major packaging trends in the future!

Be sure to check out some of our products page to get a feel for how we’ve adapted to the changing trends of the packaging industry!