10 Packaging Design Trends
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10 Packaging Design Trends

Recent studies and experimental research both confirm that packaging has become more important than ever to consumers for their buying decisions and their overall product satisfaction. As today’s retail store shelves are more dense and filled with numerous choices, packaging designers focus on creating products that would differentiate effectively and boost engagement with the busy consumers. Here are the top 10 emerging packaging design trends that optimize brand shelf presence and that are expected to grow in 2018.


Many brands have picked up on the longing of simpler times in our present day and decide to take their customers to a journey back to the idealized past, creating packs with vintage look that evoke nostalgic feelings. Using old-fashioned calligraphy, graphics and colors is back in fashion, as nostalgia can generate positive emotions and enhance consumer satisfaction effectively. This trend appears repeatedly in food and beverage brands which understand that retro design is linked in the consumers’ minds to greater value, while it satisfies the curiosity of younger generations eager to explore the past.


Kraft Paper is emerging as an increasingly popular packaging material choice, thanks to its handmade look and feel. Nowadays, advanced paper-touch varnishes combined with high-resolution printing technology can imitate the haptic and visual effect of kraft paper and are highly trending in flexible packaging design, especially for organic and healthy foods products. This flexible alternative provides significant weight reduction benefits and film efficiency at the packaging process compared to paper-based laminates, while still giving off the natural, "sustainable" vibe of paper.


Transparent packaging is part of the brand owners’ trending approach of being absolutely clear with their customers. Clear films and pack windows, often combined with ingenious sneak-peek die-cuts, provide the unique advantage of letting the product speak for itself, showing to the consumers exactly what they are buying. Evidently consumers value seeing a product with their own eyes more than reading a description of it. Recently developed transparent films of excellent oxygen-, water vapor- and UV light barrier performance are trending to replace non-transparent, alu or metal-based flexible packaging structures, which were traditionally used for a variety of sensitive products including coffee, dehydrated foods, baby food, dry nuts etc..


Simple and clean-cut designs provide clear communication and they manage to stand out as they are easily identified and selected by the consumers. Minimal packaging is a trend expressing the value and the power of a simple message in today's fuzzy world. Stick to the essentials with text-based, clean space packs that successfully promote the brand as a refreshing, open and trustworthy option, expressing simply what the customer was really searching for. As Antoine de Saint-Exupery put it: “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”.


High-contrasting, geometric-inspired shapes and patterns is a fresh way to immediately capture consumers’ attention creating a memory of your product. Basic shapes, such as circles, squares and hexagons manage to simply communicate the brand values, while preserving a minimal look. You may try adding vivid and bright colors, in order to color-code the different products of your full range. Also high-contrasted patterns in black and white with matt finish in register can give a luxurious look and promote your premium product lines.


Touch is one of the most important senses that drive consumer behavior. Brands are nowadays increasingly focusing more on how their products feel by incorporating elements of tactility on their packaging. Tactile lacquer used in flexible packaging is of growing demand, as it combines tactile feel with matt look, delivering impressive result. The product has an attractive 3D appearance on the shelf and it is rough in its touch. Soft-touch and velvet-touch lacquers are also considerable options for brands that are looking to interact with the consumers’ fifth sense.


Narrative illustrations, animated characters, unique hand-letterings, quirky copy texts and pastel colors that resemble children’s books can make customers feel good about the product before they’ve even used it. Create a brand identity that takes your consumers on a journey back to the phantasy world of their innocent childhood with clever, happy texts and fun visuals that tell a story. The innocence and humor trend, increasingly used by food companies, succeeds in bringing life to a product and creating a unique emotional tie with it.


According to recent findings, the most important features for consumer satisfaction with packaging are safety and product functionality. 60% of US consumers have purchased a product again because of the packaging’s functionality. As the global flexible packaging market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 5.11% from 2016 to 2021, new functionalities are increasingly developed and applied by today’s flexible packaging professionals to meet the consumers’ high expectations. Thus more and more packs are developed to: prevent spilling, leaking or breaking, keep the product safe, fresh and able to be consumed on-the-go, become easier to open, use, carry, reclose or repurposed for decoration, entertainment etc..


Eco-friendly, environmentally friendly, biodegradable, sustainable or simply green packaging is not just a trend that we hope to see growing every year, but also an opportunity. Companies and brands are increasingly adopting a “circular economy mindset”, rethinking their products and using principles based on durability, renewability, reuse, repair, replacement, upgrades, and reduced material use. Consumers are also increasingly doing their part by choosing responsible products and turning to companies who make action of their promises to help the environment. As today’s consumers tend to buy for value and for a purpose, green packaging is a choice that can accelerate society towards a sustainable future.


Adding a personalized message, incorporating a human element, or connecting product packaging with consumers’ digital devices, it’s all part of the new social packaging that strengthens the brand-consumer bond. With a large 82% of smartphone users turning to their devices to help them make a product decision in stores, companies and brands are changing, inventing augmented reality applications and adding smart digital packaging features to increase interest, impress consumers and enhance the customers overall purchasing experience. On the other hand, today’s marketers have the opportunity to get millions of packs ready to connect to the Internet, thus creating an Internet of packaging. Be it a simple unique code for every packaged good printed on the pack’s surface or in reverse, or a smart-connecting incorporated technology, these new features can be activated at any time and used by companies to gather valuable intelligence about their customers as individuals.

Packaging design success is the perfect combination of Material, Color, Typography, Brand, Content and Innovation. Nevertheless, deep understanding of your consumers’ needs and desires should always be at the core of your packaging design strategy. If you would like to discuss your new packaging idea with us our team of packaging design experts and creatives will be happy to guide you all the way from concept to final pack.