Like any good design, packaging tells a story. It communicates what a product is, who it’s for, and it helps to communicate a brand’s value proposition. But in an increasingly saturated consumer landscape where countless new products are brought to market every week, standing out amongst the competition is tougher than ever before.
This has prompted brands in recent years to experiment with many innovative and fresh approaches to packaging design, both aesthetically and functionally, and 2019 will pick up right where 2018 left off. Below are the hottest trends that designers anticipate impacting this year’s product packaging design.
Minimalism is a trend that isn’t going anywhere—and for good reason. When it comes to compelling packaging design, less is definitely more. More companies are embracing transparency and honesty as a non-negotiable element of their brand identity, and this often influences their packaging choices. Minimalistic designs strip away the noise, instead exposing the essential substance of the product and allowing elements such as typography and color to take center stage.
Cutting packaging back to this core essence is an art, and while it can be challenging to master the level of simplicity needed, the rewards are significant. When the simple shapes, color and function of the design successfully communicate their essential message, the product is guaranteed to stand out and appeal to consumers.
Gradients allow packaging designers and brands to create unique, fresh effects by blending colors and creating new combinations. They also look great in both digital and physical formats, so it’s no surprise that gradients will remain an essential design element in 2019, bringing new dimensions and depth to packaging across industries and markets. However, this year we expect to see gradients come to the fore as a central focus in packaging design, moving away from just being a background detail.
Anticipate bold, luminous gradients jumping out from shelves near you throughout 2019.
BLACK AND WHITE
Another rising trend is stripping the color palette to just two elements: black and white. While it might appear restrictive initially, it is entirely possible to create some really beautiful and interesting dialogue within grayscale packaging. For example, black and white can be used to separate and simplify the relationship between different elements of a product design or alternatively create complexity and depth through shading and more intricate illustration styles.
Simplification is one of the biggest influencers in packaging design trends in 2019, and a black-and-white design can really pack a punch when it comes to standing out from the crowd.
Finally, going plastic free is a trend that we should all embrace more. Last year saw some fantastic advances in the science behind renewable, compostable packaging materials, and more and more brands are acknowledging the need to do more to reduce packaging waste.
From algae-based plastics to styrofoam made out of mushrooms, alternative materials are being created every day that should lead to a more sustainable and efficient packaging industry.
2018 saw some great early adoption of this trend, for example the brilliantly conceived From Peel to Peel project by Emma Sicher. Another successful example is the Seed Phytonutrients collaboration between L’Oreal and Ecologic Brands, which centers on a recycled, compostable paper pump bottle that can even be used in the shower. As consumers start to feel genuinely empowered in their choice between plastic and plastic-free options, we expect to see many more innovations in this field throughout 2019.
This year, expect designers and brands to push existing styles to their extremes as they explore new and clever ways to ensure their products stand out and be noticed. With upcoming trends encompassing everything from stripped back modern designs, vibrant color gradients, monochromatic contrasts, nostalgic nods to the past and forward looking innovation, 2019 will be an exciting year for packaging design where anything and everything is possible.
BrandPackaging’s Two Trends to Watch in 2019
The calm yet impactful appeal of pastels will be seen across all categories throughout 2019. From beverages to premium candy, pastels add a dose of luxury to everyday items. This year, expect to see these powerful pastels combined with various patterns.
VINTAGE INSPIRED ILLUSTRATIONS
Whether traditional or tongue-in-cheek, vintage inspired design appeals to consumers of all ages. In 2019 illustrations will continue to center on animals and fictional brand characters.