Packages and closures for packaging

Closure unification? Why yes? Why not?

Summer holiday trips around Poland make even not-so-vigilant observers aware of the fact that any place can be a vehicle for advertising. We have loads of billboards, posters and illuminated ads.  In large cities, advertisers begin to resign from a big amount of stimuli and focus on classical simplicity. What has surprised passers-by for years is Piotrkowska Street in Łódź, where store or restaurant signboards are toned down and match the character of the tenement houses.
And what does it look like in the world of cosmetics?
Does every element need to distinctly emphasize the brand, or is it worth unifying the packaging and, sticking to minimalism, focus on the identification expressed by the printed inscription on the label?

There are various opinions, and no answer is universal.
Some brands use the entire packaging as a uniform, strong message: what almost immediately comes to mind here is a perfume bottle in the shape of the Carolina Herrera high heel shoe. Other schools use only the closure as a very strong feature, as is the case with the classic Daisies from Marc Jacobs, where the bottle remains minimalist. Calvin Klein’s One is a perfect example of minimalism, being the manifestation of the brand in itself.
We can distinguish two fronts also In white cosmetology - characteristic colors of closures and bottles combined with a distinctive label, which catch the consumer’s eye,  or simple shapes, subdued colors and limited decorations.
Often, what the customer buys, especially when it comes to kids and teenagers, is the fancy packaging. On the basis of this principle, each cosmetic line must have a strong and unique identification. it should be instantly recognized by clients thanks to its shapes and colors. The distinctive packaging elements are mentioned even in conversations about cosmetics whose name has been forgotten. If all products are packaged in the same or very similar way, the only thing we can refer to is the fragrance.

Why  yes?

Packaging unification within one company can involve plenty of benefits. This option is worth considering for both mass and workshop production. What’s the main advantage of using identical packaging and closures is a fast reaction to changes on the consumer market. Several bottle capacities, closures with a fitting thread - lotion pumps, mist sprayers and disc-tops - that's our entire 'capsule', and you just need the medium and labels to complete it. Having a stock or reliable suppliers, you can juggle between cosmetic lines with just labels, capacities. A sudden increase in demand for e.g. a particular body lotion requires rapid production of the medium and the printing of the appropriate labels, because the rest is always ready.
Production and packaging lines are also ideally calibrated to known and recurring parameters. It, therefore, saves time and workload when setting up machines for new packaging and closure dimensions.
Certainly, manufacturers who use unification can calmly recall the time of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. As we remember well, almost all processing capacity was diverted to production of disinfectants. The uncertain packaging availability affected everyone except for those who were stocked with multi-purpose packaging that they could use for a product that was in high demand at that time.
If we smoothly move on to the packaging delivery aspect, there are a few points worth mentioning.
Unification is also a huge advantage when packaging elements are ordered. Mistakes in the color are out of question here, as it is always the same, or, possibly, two color shades recur. Closure types are defined and always the same. The situation is similar with bottles, which may vary in the capacity but never in the thread size.
If we compare it with the process of selecting a 'characteristic' closure model for a product which has just been launched on the market, the time savings are enormous!

Choking smell of violet

Using unified packaging or just closures, we will not end up with a full warehouse of, e. g. violet mist sprayers.
Developing a new product, its formulations, operation and examining the market needs, nobody assumes it will fail. Ordering packaging for a product with potential, nobody thinks they will be left with empty bottles, because the product didn’t catch on. What may be particularly troublesome is those with characteristic colors, for which finding a new use is difficult, and, first of all, which clash with visual assumptions of other cosmetics.
Ending up with a few hundred of, e.g. violet closures, when it turned out that the “fanciful violets” line did not become the hit of the season may be problematic. It may also affect planning of further manufacturing activities aimed at using up the remaining violet, rather than surprising consumers in an innovative way with something they are waiting for. Motivations to create new products should have positive associations, and be free from forced guidelines that our concepts should be adapted to.
Unification should be taken into account by young businessmen who launch small batches of cosmetics on the market. Even the most professional consumer research may prove incorrect after verification by genuine trade. The error may manifest itself by two extremes. Both underestimation or overestimation of the product's potential are problematic situations.
If a new product turns out to be a hit, and it’s necessary to quickly manufacture an extra amount of the cosmetic, simple and easily accessible packaging will prevent delays in production.
Sometimes the flash of popularity lasts for a split second, and we have to react at that speed and feed the market. If, however, the product were to fail, the packaging that the young business shark might end up with can be efficiently used for implementing further ideas for the beauty industry.

Why not?

Unification may, however, be disastrous, when one realizes that the product has to stand out online. Among the millions of different products, ads, information, memes, and pictures of friends, we have exactly 0.3 seconds to attract attention of the person scrolling the page.  Fancy shapes, bold colors and even inspirations from other industries, as the famous Fructis yogurt bottles, are a method of drawing attention to the product.
Another important medium for advertising of our product is word-of-mouth marketing. Female customers recommending products to each other is still the most powerful weapon, no matter whether it takes place online or offline. The characteristic packaging is a starting point for conversations or a reason to make them longer. Descriptions of colors, shapes and functional closures consolidate a positive image of our product in each person participating in the conversation.
Cosmetics have been a decorative element since they became popular. Once a boudoir, today at least a shelf in the bathroom, thanks to decorative packaging, vials and trinkets, they become the female owner's oasis. Manufacturers strive to make their cosmetics functional, but the whole background connected with the celebration of using and owning them does play a huge role. Being part of the cosmetics industry, we should be aware of all nuances behind it. And, first and foremost, it’s worth knowing the consumer’s needs which have to be satisfied.

Priorities not to be missed
The above-mentioned packaging functionality is something we need to think about independently of the visual design. After all, the handiness of packaging, the straightforward manner of handling it, have to be of the overriding importance. Nobody wants to devote time and energy to trifles which are expected to give joy or simply work.
Fanciful lotion pumps and mist sprayers the consumer doesn’t know what to do with, and doesn't start using them until finding an instruction for use online become irritating. At no time should our product cause frustration, because even if it’s a cosmetic which perfectly fulfills its role, it will leave a bad aftertaste which may potentially affect subsequent purchasing decisions.
During a brainstorm session in teams working on a new product, there is always one person who torpedoes all ideas, motivating the rest to thinking and defending the theses put forward. This “prophet of doom” may, therefore, at the same time criticize unification and individual solutions.
Which of the above-mentioned arguments will convince him?
We don’t always have to obsessively stick to the path chosen. Minor or major fanciful features can be a breath of fresh air and prevent the product from losing its appeal.
No matter whether minimalism or baroque decorations are an everyday thing, it’s worth remembering that there is a huge room for maneuver between those opposites. Shape unification,  color frenzy, a crazy bottle form and a simple closure?
Sometimes we don’t need much to achieve the “wow” effect most of us are fighting for.