HP SmartStream D4D Illustrates That The Future Of Packaging is Personalization
by Shawn Binder on 10/03/2019 | 4 Minute Read
In today’s world of social media and instant gratification, everyone wants to feel like a VIP; everything they do is unique to them as an individual.
As a result, companies have begun to explore how to adapt to their consumer base and their wanting to feel like the individual snowflakes they are. The need to make everyone feel special is an intriguing problem facing brands today; how can you mass produce, yet feel like you’re talking to a person one-on-one?
The solution may lie in a new piece of technology recently announced by HP and Adobe.
HP SmartStream D4D is a plug-in for Adobe Illustrator that allows creators to randomize pieces of art, meaning that no two packages generated for a product will be the same. What's more, it was built with designers in mind (the D4D literally stands for “Designer for Designers”).
The printing juggernaut and creative platform developers partnered to provide creatives a chance to bring individuality to their designs and evolve in a market where it is almost always a challenge to stand out on a shelf. The Illustrator plug-in puts the tech behind the design revolution of creating unlimited customized designs into the designer’s hands for the first time. Now you can explore how to manipulate print-ready design files, playing and innovating with a game-changing way to automatically make each design uniquely creative.
One of the more valuable features of the SmartStream D4D is its ability to produce mosaic images. From one image file, you can create millions of variations. The technology allows users to randomize the elements they’re pulling from an intricate design to ensure that no two images are ever the same. While all this customization might seem excessive, it is HP and Adobe’s response to a shifting consumer desire — to feel like a brand is talking directly to you.
The idea for SmartStream D4D began with Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign. They first asked if there a way so that no two coke cans looked the same, and from there, the race to invent the technology began. In a brilliant move, Coca-Cola utilized the top 150 male and female names for specific areas their products sold; the randomization of making the labels allowed the brand to speak directly to their regional customer base.
Although Coca-Cola’s mantra is that it is for everyone, the company has a more individualized approach to Diet Coke. As a result of this race, Coca-Cola revealed a can design that ensured that no two cans of Diet Coke were the same. Shortly after, other brands began to follow suit. Nutella utilized the mosaic technique for "Nutella Unica," which were jars created using an algorithm combining dozens of patterns and colors to create millions of combinations.
By customizing your product, you’re re-invigorating a younger market that wants brands to be in conversation with them. When you’re rolling out one product for an entire market, the conversation ends up being very one-sided, but when your items are designed differently from one another, they subconsciously draw a consumer to choose yours.
The psychology behind this is fascinating. The reason we get drawn to things that are “different” is, ironically, that we live in a time of information and sensory overload. You see so many products, colors, and signage that you have subconsciously trained your brain to ‘tune out’ the same thing, virtually blinding us to products in a unique way that allows us to process the world around us.
By making each item different, our brain registers them and allows us to focus clearly on what is in front of us. When items are customized to our name or are specific to us individually, our brain has the space to frame how we perceive a product. We’re forced to pay attention when we notice slight changes, and the differentiation is critical to making sure consumers choose your product over another.
The future of designing is customization, and with the free download plug-in app, for both Mac and PC platforms, on Adobe Exchange. Using this technology, designers can begin to build close relationships with their clients by giving them a solution to the issue of connecting with their audiences. Additionally, the SmartStream D4D is giving brands a chance to connect with their audience and respond in real-time.
With this free-plug in, the conversation between designers, brands, and consumers is just starting to heat up.