August 20, 2018

Package Design Trends for 2018

Nothing stays the same – not the lines on your face nor the leaves in the fall, neither Coke bottles nor Starbucks coffee cups. Time marches on. Woe is the consumer.

Try to keep up.

In spite of how aversive consumers are to change, packaging trends evolve. There’s always something new on the horizon, so we compiled a list of packaging trends for 2018.


Minimalism as an American design trend dates back to the 1970s. Like most artistic movements, minimalism was a reaction to the audacious clutter in fashion, design, and advertising that preceded minimalism. One of the most prominent examples of minimalism in both modern packaging and product design that began with Apple’s earliest iterations of the iPod.

Big Text

Building upon the same momentum of reduced clutter, walls of text in tiny writing are also out in lieu of bold statements with large text. The reality is that our attention spans are short and getting shorter. If you have something to say on your packaging, say it loud and clear.

Sustainable Packaging

Sustainable business practices have been in the spotlight for decades now. Nowhere is this more apparent than in packaging. If you can implement sustainable packaging for your product line, you’re going to win some hearts and minds.

Brand Collaboration

From Red Bull and GoPro to Luis Vuitton and Supreme, brand collaboration has been on the rise. It can be a way to reach across the aisle between target markets or to establish a stronger hold of the same niche. With the gargantuan reach of social media, brand collaboration has taken on a new face with influencer sponsorship.

Experimental E-Commerce Packaging

The internet is a strange place. In a lot of ways, it’s really – if you would – an experiment. No?

The point is that e-commerce empowers entrepreneurs and small businesses to take more risks by eliminating the barrier that brick and mortar models presented. This is reflected in modern packaging trends among others.


Chalk it up to nostalgia or the delayed onset of adulthood common in millenials and gen z. Whatever the case, doodles are hot right now in packaging – so hot. Even Kit Kat is doing it.

That covers some of the major trends in packaging designs as of 2018. However, keep in mind that trends move in different directions. Doodles and minimalism are diametrically opposed, but they’re both seeing increased usage. The reality is that you should focus on design statements that are true to your brand and not obsess over what’s hot right now. Still, keeping an eye out for what is hot can’t hurt.


by Kevin Smith
Managing partner at SmashBrand. We're a group of experienced brand owners, thinkers and world-class designers united by an obsession for creating category disrupting brand experiences.

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