Packaging has always been a staple of marketing for brands, but recently packaging is even more important than ever with customers ordering more online, making packaging the first direct connection with the brand. What’s popular this year in packaging design trends? This blog will cover some features to watch this year in packaging that you can employ for your brand.
The Importance of Product Packaging
Packaging is what helps one product stand out from another. Most products need packaging to be easily handled, sold, and sent to customers. Whether your product is sitting on a shelf or being shipped to the customer, the outer container helps keep things together in one neat little package. When a customer wants to know ingredients, use, or brand, the package offers a quick source of information.
Packaging is many times the first impression of value that helps connect the customer to your brand. The quality and style of the packaging needs to be in line with the product value. Great packaging design can even increase the spread of brand awareness when it is posted on social media because of shareability factors.
Top Trends in Packaging Design for 2021
There are some clear trends we see emerging for 2021 in product packaging. If you want your product to stand out, you will want to check out these options for modern packaging.
Recyclable & Sustainable
The growing concern for the environment is something that has had a major impact on packaging design. Brands are looking for solutions that are more eco-friendly to reduce their impact on the environment and align with customer expectations. Materials that can be easily recycled, are biodegradable, or have been made with recycled paper or plastic products are examples of how brands can choose sustainable packaging options.
Another responsible packaging practice is to reduce the overall amount of packaging, or “rightsizing” to fit the product with a custom design. This also means reducing the amount of plastic and Styrofoam, typically replacing it with paper filler, cardboard spacers, or reusable fabric bags in many cases. Not only does the smaller packaging reduce the environmental strain of sourcing packaging materials and handling waste, but it also creates lighter, smaller packaging designs that will reduce shipping costs.
Interactive packaging can increase the odds of having your product shared on social media. Some brands are developing apps that have special features unlocked when you scan the labels of their products. Other brands focus on a unique unboxing experience so people are more likely to record the process for their followers.
Bright and cheery is in for 2021, so the trending color palettes are bright and exciting. Pantone felt split about the decision and chose two colors of the year for the first time in 2021: Ultimate Gray for fortitude and Illuminating (a vibrant yellow) for positivity.
We are seeing an uptick in color choices that are bold and unapologetic. Younger audiences, in particular, are drawn to the confidence and uplifting colors of bright coral, lime, magenta, and violet. Even the natural color trends are getting a refresher course for 2021, with softer, warmer, and more comforting hues in bold colors to replace the duller choices.
Bright, feel-good colors are taking center stage—sometimes used as an all-over color for packaging. Designs are often filled with flat illustrations, geometric shapes, or color blocking that highlight the color palettes chosen for the packaging design.
The use of color can also be contrasted with negative spaces that use the packaging material itself as a color. Choosing Kraft or white packaging will affect the colors and how they look after printing. Using spaces strategically can add design elements to the packaging in resourceful ways that help the design look cohesive with the package.
One thing we are seeing a lot of: brands using packaging to tell their brand story. From characters and anatomical ink drawings to authentic vintage styles and illustrated patterns—we are watching brands use their packaging to give the customer a better idea of who they are as a brand. Brands with long histories are leaning heavily on their graphic heritage with throwbacks or “newstalgia” that brings back past trends.
The packaging offers more than just a vehicle for the product—it becomes a canvas where a brand can display elements of their brand characteristics to help form a deeper connection with the consumer. This can also include artwork, front-and-center oversized logos, and color-blocking designs. To successfully share their story, brands have to know who they are and who they are trying to attract through their packaging.
Ready to take your packaging to the next level with these trends? Let’s connect on how we can help you with designing unique, story-driven packaging experiences.