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6 Packaging Trends Tipped to Shape 2021

Packaging Trends 2021
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As the world shifted rapidly online during the pandemic, packaging design took on a whole new layer of significance as it became one of the only physical touchpoints between many brands and their customers.

While e-commerce creates a raft of opportunities, you lose the experience of walking through a store. As a result, designers and business owners around the world have upped the ante when it comes to delivering a high-quality and immersive brand experience right to consumers’ front doors.

As 2020 draws to a close, creators in the 99designs community have mapped out their predictions for a few of the new packaging design trends that will shape 2021:

01 Packaging dressed in fine art

This trend has been gaining momentum among high-end products, but designers predict that it will filter into the mainstream in 2021. Drawing inspiration from paintings and textures inspired by brushstrokes, the goal here is to blur the line between packaging design and fine art to create something truly beautiful and unique.

Packaging Trends 2021
Design by LucaToni
Packaging Trends 2021
Design by Ostecx Creative via Behance
Design by _Ossobuko_

02 Hyper-simplistic geometry

Designers expect to see a lot of packaging that makes use of extremely simplistic, bold geometric concepts in 2021. With neat lines, sharp edges and angles, and expressive use of colour, this trend hints at the product inside, but in an abstract manner that makes a lasting – and intriguing – impression.

Design by exsenz
Packaging Trends 2021
Design by Senchy
Design by monostudio

03 Technical and anatomical ink drawings

While minimalism has reigned supreme in packaging for many years, prepare to see many more designs that look and feel as if they’ve been sketched and hand-drawn for scientific publications in 2021. Alongside bold geometry and tactile textures, designers predict that packaging that looks like it’s been pulled right out of an anatomical or botanical textbook will become increasingly popular.

Design by Emir Alcic
Design by Footstep
Packaging Trends 2021
Design by G@rry

04 Organically shaped colour blocking

What separates 2021 from previous colour blocking trends are the textures, the natural colour combinations, and their variance in shape and weight. There are no clean lines or grids here – instead, expect uneven layers, dappled collages, and a sense of realness that feels truly organic.

Packaging Trends 2021
Design by monostudio
Design by Eva Hilla
Design by Jelena M.

05 Irreverent and fun characters

Storytelling is a key part of any brand, and in 2021, designers and businesses will extend storytelling through to their packaging design. Using characters that move far beyond mascots, these friendly faces bring brands’ stories to life by treating labels, cans and boxes like a graphic novel that draws you in and demands attention.

Packaging Trends 2021
Design by drawziart
Design by monkey-mother
Packaging Trends 2021
Design by St. Pelmeni
Packaging Trends 2021
Design by Wintrygrey

06 Solid all-over colours

Right alongside bold packaging that reads like a comic book, brands will also present products in solid colours. Even though this trend works within a limited palette and pared-down aesthetic, the effect is truly striking, and in 2021 many packaging designers will let the colour do all the talking.

Packaging Trends 2021
Design by yand.
Packaging Trends 2021
Design by Archangelo
Packaging Trends 2021
Packaging design via Feel

Whether through fine art infusions or modern colour washes and organic blocks, these are just a few of the ways brands are looking to meet consumers where they are in 2021 by creating new and more immersive brand experiences through packaging design.

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Shayne is Head of Marketing at 99designs, the global creative platform that makes it easy for designers and clients to work together to create designs they love. He is a wrangler of collaboration, diversity, and creativity who helps bring more opportunities to people all around the world.