Packaging is an essential component of product design and marketing, and integral to the advertising and distribution of consumer goods. In the beauty industry, packaging is highly important as a function of cosmetic products and the use of products on a regular basis by consumers. Many cosmetic products integrate packaging as a tool for storage and a method for product application. Typically, packaging design is tested through various stages of development to ensure ease of use, attraction to consumers, transportation and distribution reliability, and overall production protection.
In the early 20th century, cosmetics were sold in general use jars or boxes, but competition from firms and manufacturers in Paris led American manufacturers, like Weeks, to reconsider how the products were packaged. Looking to the art world, manufacturers and magazines such as Vogue redesigned and marketed the products according to the new packaging. The new containers eased application and acted as fashion components of the consumers’ appearance and attire.
Since World War II, packaging has emerged as a major component of advertising and branding. Packaging allows manufacturers and advertisers to integrate the product and its brand into the lives of consumers. Advertisers incorporate images of models using the product and images of product use into packaging. These images are designed to demonstrate and educate consumers on product use, as well as to promote the continued use of the product. In cosmetics packaging, the name of the product may be incorporated into the package, but the package primarily operates as a tool for application and storage. Lipstick provides an obvious example as the package functions as both an easy container preserving the product and an application tool for consumers. Many cosmetics products also incorporate mirrors into packaging to further aid application and use.
Cosmetics use packaging in their functional design, and manufacturers use further packaging to sell a product or group of products. Packaging in direct contact with the product in question is considered primary, while packaging designed for easy sale of products is considered secondary. For example, powder compacts incorporate packaging for product use, but consumers purchase the item backed by cardboard and plastic. Secondary packaging denotes the state of the item, typically new or used, mint or not. Further packaging in this form, or bulk packaging of products, is used to ship mass quantities of products to sale from the manufacturer to the retailer. Tertiary packaging is often cardboard boxes or crates that also feature the name of the manufacturer or brand. Crates, boxes, and palettes are used to store products in warehouses, too.
Packaging can take advantage of color schemes to denote different product use or application and manage which product in a brand should be used for what type of feature, and so forth. Makeup foundation may be packaged in various colors to address different skin tones or conditions, indicating the product best suited to consumers with specific needs. The same is true of other products where color packaging denotes the color of the product or its specialized application. Critics have attacked packaging practices for developing these types of techniques and models because they appeal to younger consumers and increase the number of users of products. These critiques of packaging are akin to those leveled against advertising and branding.
Packaging is also used to promote a brand of products that together signify a particular ideology or meaning. Similar packaging between branded products may appeal to consumers because they associate functionality or product maintenance with packaging and associate different product lines by the same manufacturer or under the same brand. Modern practices of product manufacturing and consumption rely on packaging to maintain the product, make it appeal to more consumers, and create useful and easy functionality.