5 COVID-19 Consumer Trends Impacting Packaging…for Good

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the way shoppers live, work, and play. Experts say many of those changes are permanent when it comes to packaging. COVID-19 has reshaped consumers’ shopping habits, and because many of these habits have longer-term benefits, these changes are going to stick around.


What are these changes, and how do they affect you?


According to Steven Williams, CEO of PepsiCo Foods, speaking at the 2022 National Retail Federation Big Show, here are the changes you should know:


1. Shopping local. “People are falling in love with their local stores again,” notes Williams. Consider increasing (or adding) targeted, segmented packaging to engage with niche and local audiences.


2. Food e-commerce is here to stay. People who started food shopping online during the pandemic have made it part of their norm, and more and more people are joining them. In terms of design, maximize the appearance and utility of your packaging for the screen. If you are using QR Codes to engage audiences with nutrition information, how-to’s, and recipes, consider making those codes visible on the front so they can be scanned from a computer screen, as well as in-store.


3. In-home meals are on the rise. Consider launching an at-home meal or food prep line if you haven’t already. Or add QR Codes leading to easy recipes to spark shoppers’ creativity and tap into this trend.


4. Value, value, value. With inflation making it harder to stretch a budget, value packaging and pricing are more important than ever. If you haven’t been mailing printed coupons, this might be a great time to start.


5. Growth in multipacks. Okay, they aren’t environmentally friendly, but consumers love them. According to Williams, consumers choose multipacks for ease of carrying, health and safety, and portion control.


Need some packaging design changes? We’ve got ideas. Let’s talk ! or Let’s Chat  713.956.8555

Circular Design

Circular Design Makes Sense: Create an Impact with Earth Friendly and Budget Conscious Design

Circular Design Makes Sense


Make an Impact with Earth Friendly Design And Save Money Too!


If you are concerned about protecting the environment, you’ll love circular design. “Circular design” is based on the larger concept of the circular economy, which tackles global challenges like climate change, waste, and pollution by transitioning from a linear economy (make, use, dispose/waste) to a circular one (recycle, reuse, repurpose). This allows businesses and consumers to make the most of our natural resources and tackle these challenges together.


Love the idea? We do, too! Here are five elements to circular design as they relate to marketing and packaging materials:




Are your paper, paperboard, or signage substrates ethically sourced? If you are using paper-based substrates, where does the fiber come from? How was it harvested? If the substrates are made from petroleum, are there other, more earth-friendly alternatives? For example, did you know there are paper-based options even for outdoor signage that will still meet criteria for durability and weather-resistance?




What type of press is being used to print your jobs? Digital presses eliminate on press chemistry and reduce environmental impact, but there are sustainable solutions for offset, as well. Is your print provider using smart impositions and batching to minimize paper waste? Can you use soft (or online) proofing to eliminate the environmental impact of printing and physically delivering a hard-copy proof?




How are the products being transported? If you are printing packaging, for example, you might want to consider using substrates that are lighter in weight to reduce the amount of fuel used to transport the products. Or “rightsize” your packaging to minimize the use of unnecessary material.




How will the materials be used? The circular design takes into consideration things like bulk packaging over single-use packaging to minimize the amount of product that needs to be recycled or that goes into a landfill.




What will happen to the products once they have been used? Choosing recyclable substrates is one thing, but encouraging and making it easy for consumers to recycle them is another. While many types of plastic signage, such as Coroplast, for example, are recyclable, many people will simply put them in the trash anyway. Consider using paper-based options or adding a recycling logo to make people more likely to recycle them. Some companies encourage their customers not to recycle their packaging and materials, but to compost them.


By taking into consideration these five principles, you can go a long way toward designing marketing and packaging projects that are friendly
to the earth—and because they involve reducing waste, they can often save you money, too.

Online Print

Online Print Portals Help Manage Projects, Inventory, and Save Time and Money

Using an Online Print Portal Can Save You Time And Money


You’ve probably heard about the many benefits of electronic storefronts. Or maybe you’ve heard of them as “e-commerce portals,” “branded portals,” or “Web-To-Print Portals.” Whatever you call them, these useful tools allow you to store, manage, and customize your print projects online.


Printing Command Central


• Need 500 copies of a product brochure? Order them on demand without ever speaking to a salesperson.


• Need to regularly update prices, swap out images, or tweak the copy in catalogs and company manuals? Ditch your warehoused inventory, keep products updated in real-time, and print as you go.


• Want to enable store managers to create their own promotions without compromising the brand? Offer online templates for direct mail, signage, and email with all of the branded elements locked down.




The Print-on-Demand benefits of these portals are endless. But there are other benefits, too, such as full visibility into inventory and order, that are less understood and underutilized. With customizable reports, you can gain full visibility into which products are being ordered, when, and by whom. You can select monthly, quarterly, or annual reports, and you can get information in real-time, too.




For example, is there a brochure that is not moving? If so, this knowledge gives you the opportunity to ask why. Is it a new product that you haven’t promoted properly, so it isn’t being used because users do not realize it is there? Is it an old product that isn’t being used because it needs to be updated? Has the brochure become irrelevant? Does it simply need to be removed from the system?




Just because something is slow-moving does not mean it needs to be removed, however. For some slow-moving sellers, you may simply want to move them to print-on-demand to free up warehousing space. Or, conversely, you may find that certain products are now selling like gangbusters, so you want to move them from POD to bulk printings to be picked and packed from the warehouse.




You can also identify opportunities based on user behavior. Say you sell your products through distributors, and sales of several of the distributors are lagging. You check their order history and find that they order fewer marketing materials than other distributors. You set up a training session on how to use these materials, provide incentives for ordering them, and lo and behold! Sales start to increase.




With most online print portals, you can access reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Take advantage! Use the information to optimize your library and get the most out of the marketing materials that you have invested in.

Signature Aspen - Promotional Products

A Closer Look at the Top Promotional Products

Promotional Products

Whether it’s a branded hat, desk calendar, or mug, most consumers own at least one promotional product. But promotional products are more than “feel good” gifts. They increase brand awareness among consumers and motivate purchase behavior. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular branded items today.   

Promotional Product #1: Pens

These are the most commonly owned promotional item. Not only do 89% of consumers own one, but consumers keep branded pens an average of nine months. That’s a lot of impressions. With the very low cost of these products, the cost per impression (CPI) comes out to 1/10th cent.  Even better, 51% of consumers say that they would be more likely to do business with a company that gave them a branded pen. 

Promotional Product #2: T-shirts

These are also highly popular items, and 80% of consumers own one. Branded t-shirts are great for connecting with Millennials, in particular, who report owning five branded t-shirts, on average. Each t-shirt generates 3,400 impressions throughout its lifetime. Since t-shirts are kept for an average of 14 months, this results in a CPI of 2/10th cent. 

Promotional Product #3: Bags

Perhaps more than any other promotional product, bags are walking billboards, and 73% of consumers own one.  (Among Baby Boomers, this rises to 84%.) Bags are kept an average of 11 months and generate 3,300 impressions. At a cost of $5 per bag, this is a CPI of less than 2/10th cent. Plus, 50% of consumers are more likely to do business with an advertiser that gave them a promotional bag. 

Promotional Product #4: Hats

These are also highly popular promotional items, with 69% of consumers owning one. They are great for connecting with male consumers, in particular. One-third of men report wearing a branded hat at least once per week. Hats are kept an average of 10 months and generate 3,400 impressions. At a cost of $10 per hat, this gives hats a CPI of 3/10th cent. 

Promotional Product #5: Calendars

Desk calendars are another great product for connecting with Millennials. Sixty-two percent of consumers own a branded calendar, and 31% of Millennials and GenXers use one on a daily basis. Calendars are great for longevity, too, with 52% being kept one year or more. Each calendar generates 850 impressions. At $3 per calendar, that’s a CPI of only 3/10th cent. 


Promotional products truly are a game changer that people love! At Signature Aspen, we have all of these “top promotional products” as well as many other different types! Be sure to Contact Us or visit our website!


With such low costs and power to motivate purchase behavior, promotional products give us a lot to love. How could you use them in your next campaign?