It’s not just what’s inside that counts. Like every other industry, packaging has become a foundational component of the toy sector, not only informing parents and children of the product it contains, but as an integral element of the toy itself.
A big theme for 2018 toy packaging trends includes inventive packaging that becomes part of the total play experience of the toy or game inside. Other key trends of the year include packaging that is customizable, sustainable, minimalistic, and packaging that helps keep toys organized. NICI, a German toy company, presents their stuffed animal line, “My Nici Pets”, in dog house-shaped packaging that can also be painted on, allowing for a completely personalized experience. This is an excellent example of almost all of the 2018 trending elements combined into one packaging style — it’s simple, customizable, and sustainable, in that it isn’t thrown away and is used as an added component to the toy itself as a place to store the product. The fact that a child can paint and draw on it also contributes to the overall experience of the toy and its package.
Packaging that hides the toy in order to create surprise is also a big trend seen this year, as companies continue to look for innovative ways for a toy to be revealed, and creating new ways to make the unpacking processes as much of a piece of the enjoyment of the toy as the toy itself.
A significant 2018 packaging trend across all sectors is gender-neutrality — color palettes, messaging, and imagery moving away from the binary marketing of years past. This has certainly trickled into the toy industry, as parents continue to eschew gender roles, thus impacting their toy purchases. There’s even a campaign in the UK to Let Toys Be Toys, “asking the toy and publishing industries to stop limiting children’s interests by promoting some toys and books as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys.”
Packaging trends shift as the market does, so don’t get caught being left behind!