When it comes to packaging design trends, do you ever feel like you’re back in high school? Every year there are new, hip, and edgy ways to make a statement, and it’s up to you to either keep up or get out of the way!
Don’t worry; we won’t let you go another year in your bell-bottoms and Jelly Sandals. Here are the five latest packaging design trends to help your product stand out on the shelves.
Sustainable Packaging Materials
According to National Geographic, 18 billion pounds of plastic enters the ocean every year, and there’s a floating plastic patch in the Pacific Ocean that’s roughly the size of Texas. Sustainability isn’t just a packaging design trend; it’s a global trend. More and more people are becoming environmentally aware, opting to reduce our carbon footprints in hopes of creating a more sustainable future.
This shift toward sustainability has created a massive anti-plastic movement that’s taken hold around the world. Using plastic packaging isn’t cool anymore. It makes businesses seem out of touch and even anti-environmental (and how could anyone be against the Earth!?).
Many brands are swapping out their harmful, anti-sea turtle plastic packaging for more environmentally friendly materials that are either biodegradable, recyclable, or reusable:
Sustainability is quickly surpassing a packaging design trend and becoming a packaging design expectation. People don’t want to see plastic on the shelves. Swap to more sustainable packaging materials to keep up with the times and save yourself some PR points.
Natural, Earthy Colors
Along with eliminating environment-harming plastics, many brands are taking the eco-trend even farther by using natural, earthy colors.
Earth tones have been popular in niche industries like organic foods and cosmetics for a while. But lately, brands outside the organic market have started to use natural colors to capitalize on the sustainability movement.
Because organic products have been using that color palette for years, it’s become synonymous with “healthy” and “natural.” Use colors like low-saturated browns, blues, and greens to show off your sustainable product packaging and your brand’s dedication to the Earth.
Clean and Simple Minimalism
Minimalism is nothing new. It’s been around in art since the 1950s and used by brands like Apple and Nike for as long as they’ve been around. The minimalism trend has come and gone several times. It’s been going strong for a few years now, and it’s still trending in 2020.
Minimalist packaging designs create a direct, no-frills experience with a product. When customers look at your packaging, they’re not overwhelmed by crazy designs or patterns. Everything is straight to the point. It shows cleanliness, neatness, organization, and clarity—all things that make consumers feel warm and fuzzy.
The difficulty with minimalist designs comes with differentiating your brand from the pack. If you’re using a plain, white layout with a black serif font, how will you stand out from the next product over with a plain, white layout and black serif font?
Many brands are incorporating color into their minimalist designs to help them break away from the pack. Some brands like Denada Sugar-Free Ice Cream use alternating natural earth tones (double design trend!) to help them stand out, while others like Maker Oats take a brighter approach by adding a splash of exuberant color to their minimalist designs so they stand out on the shelves.
Maximalism – Everything in Excess
Some brands have decided that minimalism is so 2018 and have gone in the complete opposite direction.
Maximalism is a more recent trend in the product design industry that has to do with everything in excess. These packaging designs have more frills, colors, flourishes, and clashing patterns to give consumers a feast for the eyes. Since minimalism has been a popular design trend for a few years now, the maximalist designs make products seem exceptional in comparison.
Brands that embrace the idea of maximalism, like Star Union Spirits, fill as much packaging space as possible with patterns, letters, and colors. It’s a bold move, but sometimes, bold moves are the ones people remember.
Things aren’t always great in the modern-day. That’s why many brands are leaning on retro designs that bring out feelings of nostalgia. The old-timey trends remind people of a simpler time, before cell phones and laptops ruled their lives, when the world was a better place.
Retro styling makes products seem steady and enduring, like they’ve stood the test of time. It gives consumers a sense of security and invokes feelings of the good old days.
Brands with long histories can especially capitalize on retro styling by taking cues from their old packaging designs, although a long history isn’t a requirement. Many contemporary companies are using retro designs to sell products, like Sonoma Brothers Distilling. Although their website and packaging look retro, the company was founded in 2012.
Keep Up with the Latest Packaging Design Trends
Packaging design trends seem to change with the seasons. One year, bold geometric designs and clashing colors are in, and the next, it’s all earth tones and minimalism. If you want your packaging to stay relevant in 2020, it’s all about sustainability, earth tones, minimalism, maximalism, and retro styling.
Since some of the 2020 trends do seem to clash (looking at you, minimalism and maximalism), make sure you learn what speaks to your customers. If you’re a health brand looking to show how clean and organic you are, a maximalist trend probably isn’t the best bet. Learn what your customers like, then use the latest trends to influence the rest of your decisions.