thumbnailby Nissa Hanna

Last month, while browsing the booths at the International Home and Housewares Show, I noticed a strong theme: simplicity.

Spotted on the showroom floor: Sagafrom’s minimalist self-watering plant container; Simple Human’s shower dispensers, which edit the visual clutter of personal care products (and their packaging); and tabletop trends kickin’ it earthenware-style with rustic and raw designs.

In this economy, is it any surprise that consumers are craving a redirect to simplicity? A recent survey by Euro RSCG found that shopper mindsets in the U.S., U.K. and France are shifting to a desire for “voluntary simplicity” (Financial Times 4.8.09). Whether personal bank accounts are affected or not, there’s a sense that the accumulation of stuff is part of what got us into this mess.

Luckily, simplicity is a value that can be telegraphed to multiple marketing opportunities, whether product design, packaging or positioning. To start, offer the consumer an escape — mentally, emotionally, physically, visually — from the disorder of the economic downturn.

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