Marketers are fond of saying “What’s old is new again.” These marketers are referring to wistful consumers who associate retro brand packaging with a sense of nostalgia—a recalling of simpler, less complicated times. With all due respect, there’s more at play here. Of course, consumers who see classic product packaging generally make positive associations with the brand. There’s an element of authenticity and trust because of the long life of a brand that’s still going strong. But recognition doesn’t necessarily create an impulse to buy. Strong emotions do.
The opportunity exists when repackaging a classic brand, or licensing one, to leverage those unique and desirable elements about it to a brand-saturated culture. When contemporizing packaging, it’s important to maintain relevance with a modern audience while preserving the key visual equities that make consumers recall not only the heritage associated with the brand, but the emotive aspects of it that have moved them to purchase in the past. That leaves designers with a choice: put a modern twist on classic packaging or jettison it altogether. However, there are two other factors to consider.