Five packaging design trends for 2023 every ...
Whatever area of creativity you work in, packaging design offers an instant window into the world of modern visual culture.
You only have to go as far as your nearest supermarket or specialist food store to see hundreds of brands using inventive aesthetics to grab attention in a crowded marketplace. And that can give you valuable insights into where the creative industries are right now.
To bring you the biggest trends in packaging design for 2023, we've teamed up with people who really know what they're talking about: 99designs by Vista, a leading on-demand design marketplace.
With professional freelance designers in over 150 countries, the creative community at 99designs by Vista has a unique view of what's trending globally, especially with small business clients.
Bird's eye view
Before we get into specific trends, though, let's start with a bird's-eye view.
Given the chaotic social environment, we're in right now – from rising inflation to the war in Ukraine and the ongoing climate crisis – it's not surprising that we're currently experiencing an eclectic mix of trends in visual branding overall. But when it comes to 2023 packaging design trends, there are some identifiable themes that can tie them all together.
Above all, there's a distinct sense of optimism, vibrancy and fun as a necessary counterweight to the melancholy of this unique moment in modern history. A youthful nostalgia and sense of escapism is also a common thread, capturing the comfort of familiarity and the playfulness intended to inspire little moments of everyday joy.
Read on as we explore five trends in packaging design for 2023. Meanwhile, you can check out the full list of 10 packaging design trends on the 99designs by Vista blog.
1. Ecstatic colours
Bold, bright colours will help you stand out on supermarket shelves. But if everyone's doing it, you may need to go a step further. Hence the trend for 'ecstatic colours': highly saturated, punchy neons that are equal parts playful, confident and fearless.
We're seeing this trend becoming particularly prevalent in drink packaging at the moment. As Justin Hamra, art director at 99designs by Vista, puts it: "With our visual attention more valuable than ever, being bold, bright and ecstatic is taking over."
Can design by BenTō
Examples of the trend in action can be seen in the can design by BenTō, shown above, and the Mix Drinks packaging by JustOneShyHuman (below).
Strategic design studio Human also put the ecstatic colours trend to good use in their designs for Casa Centinela, one of the most important tequila distilleries in Mexico. These can designs for the brand's RTD cocktails take inspiration from a bold vintage layout that represents the brand's heritage but with a twist in the colour palette representing Mexico's folklore and the vibrancy of the cocktail scene.
Can designs for Casa Centinela by Human
Designs for Greene King by Design Bridge
Mix Drinks packaging designed by JustOneShyHuman
Another great example is Greene King's new range of craft beer, featuring English folklore and eye-catching, saturated neon hues. These designs were created by Design Bridge, who helped the brand stand out in a super-crowded marketplace by turning up colour vibrancy to the max.
2. Typographic scrawl
Typography has always been crucial to packaging, but there's been a distinctive trend lately for hand lettering with a casual, scrawled feel. This creates a down-to-earth, DIY feeling that stands in stark contrast to the more polished, not-a-hair-out-of-place brands we know so well.
But in a world that's swiftly moving away from the slick, anodyne perfectionism of Instagram and towards the more anarchic and day-to-day vibe of TikTok and BeReal, it's right on time. As Imogen Hill, senior art Director at 99designs by Vista, explains: "This is an easy design trick to immediately make a product have soul, appear homemade and feel down to earth."
Two great examples of typographic scrawl on packaging include the Lite Pack design by Luz Viera Studio, shown above, and the can concept design by Nadya Nadya shown below.
Lite Pack design by Luz Viera Studio
Wine label design by Stolpman Vineyards
Often the beauty of this technique lies in its simplicity. Another demonstration of this can be seen in Stolpman Vineyards' wine label designs across their Sangiovese range. In the example shown below, Stolpman rebranded Carbonic Sangiovese as 'Love You Bunches' to emphasise the loving treatment they give the whole grape bunches to keep the grapes intact through fermentation. This simple, whimsical label, which shows off the penmanship of vineyard manager Ruben Solorzano, is the perfect fit for this fun, happy wine.
3. Sticker book aesthetics
Every child loves collecting stickers. And this latest packaging design trend borrows from that impulse to appeal to our inner child, especially those nostalgic for the '90s. By marrying sticker book aesthetics with dynamic use of colour, this floating style of composition crackles with irreverent energy. With its focus on bright hues, cute icons, doodles and the like, the vibe is also popular among Gen Z consumers.
"I'm in love with the use of stickers in packaging and branding," says Heloisa Helena, aka TikaDesign. "It gives identity and curiosity to the packaging. And anyone who looks at the packaging will be very interested to see what's inside. Stickers have the ability to make people laugh, and they are just magically fun!"
Two superb examples of sticker book aesthetics in packaging include the bakery branding by goopanic, shown above, and the designs for women's fashion retailer Sense of Shelf by mcrrno, shown below.
Bakery branding by goopanic
4. Mascot variations
Brand mascots have always been a popular way of tying everything together, particularly on packaging when you only have fractions of a second to engage shoppers. But recently, we've seen designers respond to the increasing sophistication of consumers and move away from portraying mascots in the same rigid and inflexible style everywhere they appear.
Instead, we're loosening up, being more flexible, and allowing mascots to be tweaked depending on the context, with fresh variations on clothes, movements or attitudes for different product types and flavours. Examples include this packaging for gin brand Tiny Bear Distillery by Mila Katagarova. The idea here is to represent the central bear character in different costumes for each gin flavour.
You might even look upon the packaging behind Noble Otter, a soap brand that called upon the talents of Moxie Mason to come up with its charming mascot. In this case, quite literally, a noble otter – complete with a pirate hat, parrot and flamboyant clothing.
Packaging for Tiny Bear Distillery by Mila Katagarova
Noble Otter, designed by Moxie Mason
5. Cartoon charm
There's something immediately comforting and inviting about cartoons, and it's not all about childhood nostalgia. While there are huge variations in cartoon styles, at its heart, the discipline is about minimalist lines, which effortlessly summon up the underlying essence of a product and the mood around it. Plus, they're generally silly and a bit goofy, showing that a brand is approachable and doesn't take itself too seriously.
So, where have we seen great examples of this? Byron Burgers recently approached Taxi Studio to rejuvenate its positioning and identity system, creating a simple yet expressive brand that taps into Byron's "eclecticism, eccentricity, and verve". To conquer this, Taxi introduced a mascot pickle called George that's full of character and splashed across all of the burger joint's packaging. George also formed the basis of a new tone of voice that "channels the essence of the highly controversial English poet Lord Byron" along with a supporting cast that brings the brand and menu to life with wit and mischief.
Or there's the packaging Surabhi Pitti created for Castleton Coffee Company. Central to its design is a simple line drawing of a coffee connoisseur raising a coffee cup to the drinker and sharing an appreciation of everyone's favourite hot drink.
George The Pickle for Byron Burgers by Taxi Studio
Packaging Surabhi Pitti created for Castleton Coffee Company
Five more 2023 trends
In many ways, as we move from 2022 to 2023, the future has never seemed so uncertain. One thing remains clear, though: in a world where shoppers have to focus more on spending their pennies wisely, packaging design will only rise in importance.
And even if you don't work in that discipline, checking out the best examples is a great way to get inspiration and ideas for your own creative projects. Discover more 2023 packaging design trends from the 99designs by Vista community at 99designs.com.
Packaging Design Trends 2023 : 6 Ideas To Revamp Your Packaging
Product packaging is one of the most exciting pieces of marketing design a brand can create. First, it functions as a visual hook that convinces audiences to stop and look at your product. Then it goes on to imprint your brand identity on your audience’s minds. Finally, when they sit down to unwrap it, the packaging design ensures that they have a smooth and memorable experience. Since packaging design has so many roles to play, it’s important to know what customers are looking for. It’s important to know what’s trending and which of these trends are most suitable for your brand. So, let’s discuss packaging design trends today.
Year after year we see changes in terms of the material, shapes and the type of packaging customers prefer. Usability, aesthetics, and now even the sustainability aspect of the chosen packaging influence the way customers look at your brand, your product. And good marketing is about giving customers what they are looking for, right? So, aren’t you curious to find out what customers are looking for, what the trends are, in packaging design? Let’s dive in.
Reasons why packaging design is critical in branding
About 72% of Americans say that packaging design influences their purchase decision. So, even the best products might not sell if the packaging design is bad. That’s the reason why brands spend a lot of time and money designing their packaging graphics.
When you see something creative, you talk about it to your friends, right? And now social media has made it possible to share experiences with people around the world. Good packaging means a good experience. 40% of consumers talk about creative packaging design they come across, on social media. So, if you have a unique packaging design, it might help create more traction for your brand on social media. And this means more new leads and better brand visibility.
In addition to the fact that packaging design has such a huge role to play in branding, you should also know that nearly 30% of businesses see improvements in their revenue when improvements are made to their packaging design. So, if you think your packaging design could use a few upgrades, packaging design trends of the year will be a good place to look at.
Packaging design trends – should you follow them?
Timeless packaging designs definitely have their perks. In the long run, with consistent interactions, a strong bond develops between your customers and your branding designs like packaging design. So, when should you change your packaging?
- If you are making a drastic move, like switching to eco-friendly packaging materials, then redesigned graphics work.
- When your old packaging design is being criticized for usability and other aspects, you need to address your customers’ concerns on time.
- If your brand has pivoted and your branding strategies and branding assets have changed, redesigning your packaging is your only option.
If nothing else, you can always give your product packaging a fresh makeover every few years just to keep up with the color trends and design trends. Moreover, you would want to keep up with your competitors too!
But all that said, we’d also like to reiterate the fact that changing your packaging design drastically can sometimes backfire. Tropicana’s failed attempt at a packaging redesign in 2009 is a perfect example. The packaging was unrecognizable and did not receive a good response from its customers. The brand’s sales dropped by 20%.
To avoid such branding disasters, ensure that when you adopt packaging design trends you still retain some of the most recognizable elements in your original design. Add your brand’s flair to it. Every aspect of the new design should convey your brand message and should resonate with your brand personality perfectly.
Having said all that, let’s now talk about those 2023 packaging design trends you have been waiting to hear about.
6 Packaging design trends to look out for in 2023
1. Textures to add more depth to the design
We are not talking about just textured backgrounds and textures in the graphics but actual tactile textures. When customers hold your product in their hands for the first time, they feel the texture, the ups, and downs. That instantly makes a connection with them. Such first impressions are valuable in branding.
Brands are using embossing, die-cut details, and other ideas to create textures in packaging. So, this is a trend to keep an eye on. With the right texture, you can also add a touch of sophistication to your product.
Moreover, textures come as a surprise element when your customer picks up the product from a shelf. This leaves an impression on them and helps in better brand recall too.
Kimp Tip: Even the most expensive textured packaging materials will not make the intended impact if your design does not complement the texture. For example, a simply grainy texture on the label sheet might not be immediately recognizable if the label has a solid white background. So, let your designer know that you will be using textured labels and packaging boxes and they will be able to recommend the right design to make these textures stand out.
2. Get creative with your typography
Saying that typography has a big role in packaging graphics will be an understatement. Starting with the product name itself – it should be catchy enough to cut through the noise and get people to notice the product. But at the same time, it cannot be fancy at the cost of legibility.
Keeping that in mind, one of the packaging design trends to explore in the coming years will be typography experiments. Statement fonts, warped fonts filling creative shapes, there are many creative versions to try.
Moreover, statement fonts with unique personalities can be used to capture the authenticity of your brand without complicating the design. So, that’s definitely a trend to add to your list in case you plan to work on new packaging design this year.
Here’s an example – the bubbly font on the Nuud Gum packaging is hard to ignore.
Or you can always opt for scrawly fonts that look more casual and personalized to fit your brand. Handwritten fonts have been quite the trend in marketing after all.Packaging design by Kimp
Kimp Tip: As we mentioned a while ago, irrespective of the font you choose and the style you adopt for your design, ensure that the core message is not lost in the process. For the more critical information like the ingredient label, you should still stick with a more legible font. Like a clean sans-serif font, for example.
Typography for your packaging graphics getting you all wrapped up? Choose a Kimp subscription and stop worrying about packaging design.
3. Let’s not forget the Y2K trend
The idea of nostalgia somehow always clicks in marketing, doesn’t it? The dramatic resurgence of the Y2K trends in design is a good example of this. The Y2K trend is as simple as it sounds – aesthetics from the Y2K era (the late 90s to early 2000). This was the time when major technological revolutions happened and many more were anticipated. So the aesthetics that were trending were mostly futuristic. In other words, incorporating neons and bright colors, silver, and gradients.
If you have a new product to be launched or if you need a fresh new idea for a limited edition product to be released into the market in the coming months, then the Y2K design style is a good one to consider.
BelliWelli, a brand known for its snack bars, has some of the most unique packaging designs. It shows how statement looks like the Y2K styles and others can be made to work even for food brands.
Or if you wish to incorporate this trend without deviating too much from your brand’s tone of messaging, you can always just use the colors as gradients and go with a more minimalistic design like the packaging below.Packaging design by Kimp
4. Illustrations? Yes, please!
Why do we like using emojis in communication? They lighten the mood, they make virtual communication more interactive and expressive. Illustrations can do the same thing to marketing designs. There are many ways to use illustrations in marketing and using them to personalize your packaging design is one.
So, among the packaging design trends anticipated for 2023, the use of illustrations is one. This can be in the form of elaborate illustrated scenes that tell a story or simple illustrations of ingredients in the product.Packaging label design by Kimp
The best thing about illustrations is that there are several styles to explore. So, depending on your brand’s visual style and color palette you can always come up with a style that captures your idea accurately.
Moreover, in a rack filled with products whose packaging and labels contain images of all kinds, creative illustrated packaging graphics will stand out. That’s definitely a good reason to try this trend this year.
5. Minimalism never goes out of style, does it?
Yes, we love colorful packaging designs and fancy fonts. But minimalism has its own charm, don’t you agree? Take a look at the below packaging design and you’ll see what we mean.Packaging design by Kimp
So, one of the packaging design trends that’ll probably be used by brands around the world is minimalistic packaging graphics. Without all the noise, without all the distraction, without all the fuss you are telling your customers that you mean business. That’s what makes minimalistic packaging graphics popular.
Kimp Tip: Once you have drafted the copy and the idea for the design elements on your packaging, go back and zoom out a little. When you look at the big picture, at the response you want from your customers and the purpose of your packaging you will be able to prioritize these elements based on what’s necessary. Stick with the bare minimum, only the essential details and nothing else. You will be surprised to see how a sleek minimalistic packaging design appeals to your customers.
6. Sustainability with a creative twist
Several brands are moving towards the use of eco-friendly materials for packaging. Kellogg, for example, is working towards 100% sustainable packaging by the year 2025.
Giving your packaging graphics a new look when you make such big changes will be welcomed by your audience. They know that the design is different because the approach is different. So, if you have been giving sustainable packaging a thought, now is the time to make a move.
Kimp Tip: Minimalistic designs go well with eco-friendly cardboard and paper packaging. Here’s an example.Packaging design by Kimp
Want to create such minimalistic designs for your eco-friendly packaging idea? The Kimp team can help.
Embrace the packaging design trends with a Kimp subscription
Your packaging design often stands as a visual reminder of your brand. Every time people see your product at a store, the design talks to them, makes a connection. You just want to be sure that every time your packaging talks to your audience, it has good things to tell about your brand. Your packaging graphics need to deliver the intended brand message and build trust. So, pay attention to the little details and your branding gets so much better.
Making changes to branding and marketing designs can be nerve-wracking. We get it. But that changes when you have a professional design team that supports unlimited designs every month. So, choose a Kimp subscription. If you think you are not ready to make a leap, take it one step at a time. We have a risk-free free trial option. Sign up now!