• Packaging design trends 2021


    What is packaging design and why does it matter?


    Packaging plays more than just a functional to protect a product. Packaging design is a powerful marketing tool and enables customers to distinguish your brand from other brands. It’s the first thing that a customer will see when interacting with the product. Well-designed packaging can improve sales and raise brand awareness. This is particularly the case when customers who are impressed by the packaging design post pictures on their social media.

    With the rise of ecommerce, packaging design becomes even more important because customers lose the opportunity to walk through a store and experience a curated brand ambience. So packaging designers and business owners have to compensate for this to the greatest extent possible and deliver a brand experience right to the customer’s doors.


    Here are some packaging trends for 2021, some of which you will certainly recognise.

    1. Sustainability

    2. Vintage

    3. Minimalism

    4. Flat illustrations

    5. Transparent

    6. Tech

    7. Storytelling


    1. Sustainability


    The role that businesses play in combatting the climate crisis has become increasingly important. One way to reflect this commitment is through packaging. Brands are creating recyclable, biodegradable and reusable packaging. For example, Knorr’s packaging by Unilever can be recycled by removing the cardboard sleeve and recycling the plastic and paper components separately. The packaging can also be reused since it is resealable.

    Knorrs - Sustainability

    Click here to find out more about why more companies are prioritising sustainable packaging as part of their marketing strategy.



    2. Vintage packaging


    Packaging that resembles products from the past aren’t going anywhere this year. Everything from the materials used, to the colours and manuscript lettering are designed to give an authentic vintage experience. Retro packaging evokes a sense of nostalgia and longevity. It implies that the brand has been around for a long time and develops a sense of trust. Evoking a sense of familiarity is important during times when people seek reassurance.

    3. Minimalism


    Now more than ever, customers want brands that are trustworthy and honest. This is this idea is communicated in packaging design through simple patterns and natural colour palettes.

    Botanik - Minimalism

    4. Flat illustrations


    Linked to minimalism is the flat graphic style. This style become popular around 7 years ago and continues to be the go-to style for many brands, from multinationals to start-ups.   The style is characterised by simplified shapes and forms and easy-to-read writing which emphasises usability. The crisp, clean lines give a sense of honesty as well as a modern feel.

    5. Packaging with a transparent window


    Customers are tired of false and misleading advertisements. The incorporation of a revealing window into the packaging gives customers a sense of the size and texture of the product. It gives them confidence to purchase and reduces the risk for the customer.

    Exotic Snacks- Packaging with a transparent window

    6. Tech packaging


    Incorporating tech elements into your packaging such as QR codes or games is a way to get customers to interact with your brand and the other products you have on offer. Techniques such as 3D printing and using fibre-based materials are becoming more common.

    ?Feel - Tech Packaging

    7. Story telling


    Packaging can tell a story, and that’s exactly what many brands are trying to do at the moment. Images can be used to convey the brand story and connect the customer with the product. The interaction between the customer and the story makes the product experience more memorable and gives the customer an experience beyond the benefits of the product alone.

    Summing up…


    Overall, there appear to be efforts to show customers that brands are trustworthy and open.

    When applied appropriately, these trends grant the opportunity to create a unique customer touch point. Done well, the unboxing experience can create a memorable moment for customers and increase affinity with the brand.

    Have you been able to spot any of these trends on the packaging of some of your favourite products?

    Why not take a look at our work and see if we have incorporated some of these trends into our client branding?


    Article written by ClearBrand, January 2021. 
    To get in contact about working with ClearBrand on a packaging project,
    please call +44 (0)118 959 9284 or email info@clearbrand.co.uk.

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