In 2020, the importance of ecommerce grew, with direct-to-consumer becoming vital for many food and drink businesses. This had an interesting knock-on effect on packaging design.
With ‘at-home’ now the main opportunity for a physical touchpoint between customer and brand, how a product is presented has taken on new significance.
As we head into 2021, we are seeing trends in food and drink packaging design that are increasingly moving away from plain or commercial.
The packages of tomorrow now feel and look a lot more like art as brands seek to create a memorable brand moment right on customers’ doorsteps.
Packaging that tells a story
Storytelling is a key part of any effective brand. It’s an opportunity to share and communicate a business’s values and purpose and create meaningful connections with customers. In 2021 we will see plenty of food and drink businesses extending through intricate illustration work in their packaging design.
There will be more brands using story-driven designs featuring quirky characters living out graphic novel-like scenes across packaging, as on the memorable range of bears found on the labels of Tiny Bear Gin.
For others, technical and anatomical ink drawings that feel like they were pulled right out of an engineering blueprint take centre stage and, like the label on Extraordinary Food’s Pure Kale Chips, hint at the product within.
Playful uses of colour and typography
In contrast, designers will also embrace simplicity in 2021, and the use of solid all over colours is tipped to gain significant traction. Instead of using illustrations or patterns, packaging like Actual Vodka Seltzer lets the colour do the hard work in catching the buyer’s eye and drawing their attention directly to the copy.
Similarly, placing product names front and centre is becoming increasingly popular in packaging design. Using strong and creative typography, these designs leave no doubt about what’s inside: at a glance, you know exactly what’s in each of Forbidden Foods’ range of innovative rice products for example.
While this trend might look simple at first, it’s an incredibly impactful way for brands to leave a lasting impression.
Design that engages all the senses
Creating a memorable brand experience isn’t just about how packaging looks – it’s also about how it feels. In 2021, designers will move beyond retro-inspired logos and labels to encompass more than just visual design.
Historically inspired textures, bottle shapes, materials, outer packaging and imagery all help to create authentically vintage unboxing experiences that could fool anyone into thinking they’ve stepped back in time.
The Gospel Whiskey range of rye whiskeys and bottled cocktails is a great example of this, using simple visual design paired with vintage bottle and label textures to give the feel of prohibition-era moonshine.
These are just a handful of the trends set to shape packaging design in the new year, and if they are anything to go by – we’re set to have a whole range of beautiful parcels arriving at our doors.
Shayne Tilley is the head of marketing at 99designs, the global creative platform for designers and clients to work together to create designs they love.