Packaging has always been a means of communicating a brand’s value proposition — who your product is for and why it’s better and different than anything else on the market today. But in today’s increasingly competitive consumer product landscape, the critical need to stand out is inspiring marketers to push the boundaries of design in new and unexpected ways. Based on what we’re seeing from design projects on our global platform, here are five new trends that will dominate packaging design in 2020 and beyond.
Retro-futurism may seem like a counter-intuitive notion. However, retro and futuristic design can work really well together, invoking both feelings of nostalgia (retro) and anticipation (futurism). The next 12 months will see designers using the current gradient trend as a jumping-off point for creating packaging that pairs both futuristic and retro design elements to create remarkable designs that will appeal to a wide variety of consumers. Expect plenty of neon colors, bold gradients and retro design touches (like minimalist logos and retro-inspired typography) to come together in unique, unexpected and on-trend ways.
2) Detailed Maximalism
With many experts forecasting an economic downturn in 2020, it’s anticipated that consumers will seek out an aspirational sense of opulence, luxury and extravagance in their products — which is why we predict that maximalism in packaging design will be all the rage in the upcoming year. Expect to see an emergence of attention-grabbing, intensely rich colors and heavier designs filled with details and intricate, patterned graphics, as the desire for beauty and higher-end experiences strengthens in the face of hard times.
3) Neatly Structured Layouts
More neatly structured, ordered layouts are becoming a major trend in the packaging world. This structurally satisfying packaging trend is all about the typography. Text, which is typically comprised of a variety of unique and interesting font combinations, is separated by clear lines that divide the space into neat and balanced spaces, making for easy readability and a sense of structure that appeals to consumers — and allows designers to take a more minimalistic approach to the rest of the design. While these typography-heavy packaging designs are already all over shelves, expect this trend to really hit its stride in 2020.
4) Storytelling Packaging
In 2020, brands will need to take their packaging to the next level, using it as a tool to communicate its brand story. While it is important for all brands to leverage storytelling, it’s particularly important for the packaging of products that are sold online. Because online brands don’t have the luxury of getting their products into the hands of consumers before purchase, their design has to work harder than brands with products in brick and mortar stores. 2020 will see brands taking a more comprehensive approach to their packaging design than ever before — and using the opportunity to tell their brand story, communicate their key messaging and build a deeper connection with their customers.
5) Transparent Packaging
Using transparent packaging that shows off a product’s color is already popular amongst beverage and skincare brands, and in 2020 we expect to see a surge of other sectors incorporate the color of products within its packaging design. Layering design elements of transparent materials and using the product’s color as a design feature allows designers to add contrast and make those elements pop once the brand’s product is poured into it. This trend is a win-win: It allows brands to take a more minimal approach to the design process, but also places the product itself front and center of the customer experience without compromising on visual impact.