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Trends in packaging design 2021

Year 2020 is finally ended. This year was difficult and the whole world is now frozen in expectation and hope for a better future. However, the graphic design did not pause, did not become less in demand, but quite the opposite.

During a global pandemic, companies had to rebuild on-the-fly, launch new actual products and set completely new brands. Over the past year, we have helped companies to update their products, we’ve studied the markets and gathered a big background with varied strategic conclusions. Now we want to share with you our predictions about what trends in packaging design you should focus on this year.

1 / Natural textures and illustrations.

Global eco-trends are pushing companies towards certain decisions. They refuse to use plastic, switch to renewable energy sources, go on with ecological farming and 100% recycling of everything. “No colorants and preservatives”, “Gluten-free”, “100% natural product”, “BIO”, “ECO”, “Vegan” — packages are full of these icons in every product category, from milk to coffee, from snacks to alcohol. The pure ingredient became the basis clue: manufacturer says that there is nothing to hide, the product is unadorned and without any deception. Natural and craft materials, natural colors and illustrations, well-chosen fonts, moderate minimalism — combine those elements and the product will be natural not only inside, but also outside.

Date of publication:

January 13, 2021

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Another category is products that are made with natural materials: bamboo toothbrushes, wooden cutlery, pressed paper utensils, cork boxes, office cases. In the Eastern Europe and Russia those trends is treated with a great deal of skepticism, but in the Western Europe, USA and Canada markets such kind of production are well known and popular.

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2 / Pastel color palette

We are constantly busy with something: home, family, friends, work. In the cycle of affairs, worries and events you want a little rest and tranquility. Even an extrovert person sometimes wants to stop and escape from a world full of vivid colors. The trend for pastels is still relevant in design. Pastel colors soothe, put thoughts in order. The trend for pastel colors in packaging has reached its peak in the West but is still gaining momentum in the Eastern countries. To a greater extent, it is presented in the categories of cosmetics and perfumes, snacks and some alcoholic beverages. It is more common in the products category where women are the main consumers. Despite this, there are successful examples of packaging from the categories of dairy products, animal feed, and even household appliances. We consider that most important thing in packaging design is meaningful message, that could be performed regardless of color. If pastel color is suitable for this, then we will use it.

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3 / Vivid colors

It would be strange if in opposition to pastel calmness something more live and brighter would not appear. Although it would correct to say that Vivid colors trend has always existed and has become just more active again. Bright colors attract attention, cheer up, and prompt action. This is the semantics of bright colors.

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4 / Tasty design

How often do we buy a product just because it looks very appetizing? Yogurt, a chocolate bar, healthy granola, or vegetable chips — if this is a delicious image, then we just want to throw everything in the shopping cart. Color, photographic image or realistic illustration — what causes the consumer to salivate profusely, such is the “Pavlov’s dog effect”. Tasty appearance can be deceiving, because the real product may look completely different from the packaging. Let’s leave this on the conscience of the manufacturer, but as the design producers we can be proud of ourselves — the first purchase is made precisely because people judge book by the cover.

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5 / Tables

Many manufacturers want to tell as much as possible about their product. If there is a lot of information that you want to deliver to the consumer, then you need to structure this data array. The tablesheet layout, based on the style of old pharmacy recipes, is firmly rooted in the modern packaging design. This technique is suitable for almost all categories of goods: from food and alcohol to cosmetics and clothing packaging.

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6 / Retro

Everything new is just well forgetten old. The history of styles in design moves in a spiral and sooner or later we return to what was fashionable before. Oversized clothes, boyfriend jeans, belt bags, hats and accessories, as if they were taken from the far corner of grandmother’s wardrobe. Neon signs, prints onT-shirts, music, colors, fonts and all other typical attributes of those years. It’s nice to see how the aesthetics of the past transforms now and lives in the present days. We wonder which of 2020 trends will be relevant by the end of the century? We hope it won’t be a glitter dust and damn self-isolation.

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7 / Fancy fonts

Seems that it is one of the most frequent trends, making its comeback from year to year. We are using different fonts in any kind of packaging, in any product category. For a long time, fonts had just a technically informative function, now the font comes to the fore. One letter can be a whole and splendid design, one word carries many meanings, one copy text will touch something in the soul and will make a call for a purchase. Sans serifs, serifs, calligraphy and lettering, numbers and punctuation marks — all could be the foundation of design in 2021.

The fonts can be completely different.

 

Minimalistic:

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Aesthetical:

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Natural:

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Playful:

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Large and heavy:

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If you’re still thinking about using font-based design — don’t hesitate.

Ask your designer to play with the fonts.

 

8 / Illustration

The illustration as a trend is described more detailed in the article, but it is worth noting that the personalization trend has grown rapidly over the past couple of years. This can be described with the words “our product is just for you”. More and more often illustrations of people in different situations began to appear on packages. We can see ourselves in these situations. These packaging talk to the customer, invite them to become a part of this get-together theme or meet the same cool yoga-runner-athletes that you see on the package and become part of this culture. “Find yourself” — this is what the consumer is trying to do and our task is to help them.

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The second trend— usage of illustrations in categories for which this was completely uncharacteristic before. Everyone is accustomed to fields and cows with milk, cats and dogs on pet food, juicy fruits on juice. But the design of such a traditional product can be completely different. But it still can! More and more manufacturers are starting to use illustrations for their brands to stand out on the shelf from similar competitors.

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9 / Covid-21

In 2020, people had to adapt to the conditions that Covid-19 dictated. We’ve reduced face-to-face meetings, we have become more attentive to our health, we began to think a little broader, think and act more globally. Many brands have expanded their product portfolios with products that are suddenly become in demand among consumers: masks, gloves, antiseptics, soaps, and even special alcohol. Despite the vaccine and quarantine measures, viruses are with us for a long time and one of the trends of 2021 will definitely be Covid, no matter how much we do not want it.

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The world is changing companies, products, brands and people are changing. Trends are also changing, but gradually. In the USA and Europe, design trends are inseparable from the social component: the fight against racism, environmental problems, the rights of sexual minorities, gender diversity. In Eastern Europe, Russia and Middle East everything is more conservative. These markets is less progressive and the design shows the most neutral, basic product trends. Nevertheless, every year more non-trivial, atypical solutions in packaging design are growing. Purity and minimalism follow the dairy industry, naturalness follows snacks, ice cream, alcohol. Illustrations fall into those categories in which they practically did not exist before. Work with fonts is carried out in a better and more thoughtful manner. The trends we have cited are just the basis of what the high-quality and relevant design will be based on in 2021. I hope together we will continue to change the world and the lessons of 2020 will lead us to a better world and better design.

Date of publication:

January 13, 2021

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