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Initial feedback from the 2013 Pentawards

Gérard Caron, president of the 2013 Pentawards Jury, gives his feedback on the global packaging trends which emerged at this year's competition

Gérard Caron Pentawards

More than 1400 new packaging creations from 49 countries including some newcomers such as Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Ukraine, Ecuador and even Iran – in my many years as President of the Pentawards Jury, I have never seen this.

I consider it a great privilege to discover the very best in packaging design from around the world.

The members of the jury from ten countries having accomplished their mission, the 2013 winners were selected on June 28th and will be officially announced on September 21st in the unique setting of the W Hotel in Barcelona.

Without disclosing the names of the winners, I can share some of the global trends which have emerged in this 7th edition.

Here they are in a nutshell:

"Rustic Vintage" : there is an incredible number of products refering to the 50's and 60's but in the style of their native land.

"RCT" : "Refined Cultural Tradition" which runs across all categories : heraldry, outstanding calligraphy, pure classic ... I will naturally be able to share more, with supporting examples, after Barcelona.

China enters the luxury sector : another remarkable fact, the Chinese have gained confidence in their traditions and no longer try to copy the West. They are developing designs which draw from their cultural roots, creating a style with global potential.

Japan and South Korea are still present and abandon the minimalist "zen" style, which was their distinctive feature, and move towards much more "decorative" designs.

The USA remains faithful to its reputation for rigorous and mature creations.

British creations, true to form, display humour, fineness and expertise in typography.

France associated with luxury but... Although France remains the leader in this sector, we see that China is set on showing the world (of luxury) that it is capable of raising standards in the market.

A significant use of high quality materials and sophisticated workmanship can be seen, as well as limited editions with very few copies (sometimes a few dozen) sold at astronomical prices. However, it is also noted that brands take fewer risks and tend to play it safe.

Handmade : Strictly from a graphics perspective, one very big trend is the return to the fifties and another to the use of purely handwritten fonts, similar to "street art". While thousands of typography styles are readily available, designers prefer to show their creativity by using "handmade" letters, perhaps in order to express the yearning for authenticity, nature, return to beginnings, reassurance... which burn inside contemporary man.

Created in 2007, Pentawards is a worldwide competition exclusively devoted to packaging design in all its forms.

28 June 2013