We’re always on the lookout for great packaging design, the kind that pushes the boundaries of design while maintaining functionality. This article explores some of the trends we think you’ll see gaining popularity throughout the design industry this year.

Overall, we think that 2021 will be marked by a drastic change in shopping habits from consumers due to the pandemic and environmental issues.

1. Less is More

With the constant craziness that was 2020, all areas of life could use just a little… less. This goes for packaging design in 2021. A shift in the direction of minimalistic design and packaging materials is something that we’ll be seeing this year for brands of all sizes.

“Less” doesn’t have to mean boring, however. By using bold and intentional color combinations for the packaging materials, many brands will be able to make a statement without actually saying much at all.

2. Illustrated Patterns

We’re seeing more and more product packaging with abstract or simple illustrations. These graphics often give you a peek at what’s inside or illustrate a driving concept behind the brand.

This is a fun trend to embrace in 2021! Depending on how you execute it, your packaging can evoke a whimsical feel, a modern minimalist vibe, or natural elegance.

4. Organic Shapes

Probably one of the most sought-after design trends moving into 2021 is the use of color + organic shapes. This isn’t your old-school color blocking – it’s splatters, spirals, swoops, and blobs.

Unlike the neat and tidy straight edges of the past, these natural looking shapes incorporate a variety of widths, weights, and textures. Make it even more fun and visually interesting by veering away from organic or neutral color palettes. Bold hues + nature-inspired motifs? How 2021!

4. All Matte Everything

Matte finishes, varnishes, and laminations provide a sleek, natural tactile experience for your clientele. This approach is ideal for businesses who want to tap into the “organics” realm, whether that be in the food industry or cosmetics.

5. Color Flooding

Solid panels of color on packaging make a big statement. They give the product a modern feel, and they quickly evoke emotion associated with your brand’s color. We like to combine this trend with other trends on this list by creating one or two solid-color panels on the inside of larger packages – this continues to engage your customer up until the very moment when they lift your product out of the box.

6. Focus on Sustainability

This trend is back on the list from last year and we anticipate that it won’t be going away any time soon. With sustainable production methods becoming more and more important to consumers, a push for recyclable materials and/or recycled materials will only continue to grow.

Major retailers such as Amazon are starting to require sustainable packaging from their clients, so we should anticipate that this “trend” will become mainstream before we know it.

7. The Unboxing Experience

This year we’ll see many brands make the switch from packaging that acts only as a means to an end to packaging that plays an exciting role in the memorable experience a customer has with a product. Creative shapes and folds, and exciting reveals of color, images, or patterns are some of the ways that we’ll see brands capitalize on the underused unboxing experience.

Which design trends resonate most with your brand? Are there any of these trends you plan to implement into your packaging design this year? Our team at Deal Design can’t wait to partner with our clients to design new packaging for their products.