In this article, we’ll examine the packaging trends that you can expect to see on the shelves throughout 2020. Maybe they’ll give you inspiration for your next packaging project.

Packaging affects the perception of your product. It’s key to your brand identity. It’s the first touchpoint between you and your customers. Tapping into creative packaging trends can mean the difference between your product being chosen, or being literally left on the shelf.

That being said, let’s take a look at some of the top creative packaging trends that will be popular in 2020. Hopefully something here will provide the insight you need to give your packaging a lift.

1. ECO-FRIENDLY

Explore the creative packaging trends for 2020

We’ve said it every year but it bears repeating; sustainability will be one of the biggest packaging trends for 2020. 

Climate change has (finally) been recognised as a major global crisis and, as such, brands will be punished by consumers for failing to meet their environmental responsibilities.

One of the main aspects of the packaging trend this year will be ensuring that packaging is made from 100% recyclable materials. Finding ecological alternatives to plastic will be key, and ensuring that customers know how to properly dispose of the packaging is a must.

You can expect to see more brands experimenting with interesting designs laid out on packaging material that is clearly biodegradable or recyclable.

Also, to meet with waste reduction requirements, brands need to start thinking outside of the box – literally! Does the product ‘need’ a box? Could the packaging be designed in such a way that it could be reused? Could the amount of packaging be reduced if key messages and information were made available via augmented reality (AR) or cloud labelling? Packaging designers will be faced with the challenge to answer these eco-friendly questions, and more.

2. BRAND NARRATIVE

The ecommerce market in the UK represents a whopping 17.8% of all retail sales. Of that, one of the fastest growing areas is subscription boxes. Around 27% of UK consumers currently subscribe to at least one of the thousands of available subscription box services. The latest stats from Royal Mail suggest that the subscription box market is expected to be worth over £1 billion by 2022 – a 77% increase from 2017 figures (£583 million).

So, when your business model primarily involves sending people other brands’ products, what can you do with your own brand? The answer, of course, lies with your packaging.

In order to connect with the customer, the packaging for subscription boxes, and other ecommerce purchases, needs to tell the story of the brand that’s doing the selling.

Brand storytelling simply refers to sharing your company story to engage your audience. It is the story of how your company or brand came into being. It’s a commentary on your company’s aspirations, vision and mission.

Through 2020 and beyond, expect to see more packaging that tells you a story as you unbox the products within. Special unboxing experiences are extremely shareable on social channels; adopting this particular creative packaging trend for your own ecommerce brand could pay dividends in exposure from social reach.

3. RETROFUTURISM AND DECOPUNK

Explore the creative packaging trends for 2020

As we enter the 20s (again), creative design will hark back to the bygone era of the Roaring Twenties – but with a futuristic twist. Think Art Deco meets Mad Max!

Drawing from the sleek, contoured aesthetic of the Art Deco and Streamline Moderne art styles, Decopunk takes the glitz and glamour of the Roaring 20s and combines it with sci-fi elements.

Retro and futuristic design work really well together. Clean lines, shapes, and perspectives mixed with neon colours, metallics, and bold gradients add a vibe to packaging that sparks anticipation and nostalgia in equal measures.

4. LUXURY AND DETAIL

It may seem counterintuitive, but in times of economic downturn, consumers actually look for a more high end experience with their products. Experts suggest that they are treating themselves to overcome feelings of loss associated with not being able to afford luxury items such as holidays.

Even though minimalism will still have its own place in packaging trends for 2020, expect to see more ‘maximalism’ making an appearance as well. Designs that are heavy on detail and rich in colour will be used to portray a sense of opulence and extravagance.

Intricate patterns that use deep, intense colour palettes and lavish print finishes grab the attention of the consumer and demand to be investigated. Add into the mix a choice of packaging material that feels sumptuous to the touch, and you can reassure the customer that the product inside offers fantastic value for money.

5. USE OF BLUE

Explore the creative packaging trends for 2020

Unless you’ve been living under a rock during the latter part of 2019, you likely know that the UK is leaving the EU on 31st January 2020. Whatever your personal feelings about Brexit may be, there can be no doubt that such a consequential event will lead to significant change.

When choosing the colour of the year for 2020, Pantone took this into consideration.

The Pantone Colour Institute offered this description for their choice of Classic Blue: ‘Instilling calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.’

Expect to see the use of blue on packaging increase as companies seek to reassure consumers that they are a solid, dependable, trustworthy brand that will be with them through good times, as well as bad.

6. TRANSPARENCY

In both the literal and figurative senses of the word, transparency will play a big role in creative packaging trends in 2020.

Transparent packaging, or specific sections of packaging, will be incorporated to allow brands to showcase the product within. In the jewellery and accessories industry, this will be particularly important when the particular product is colourful and eye-catching, and can capture attention without the help of the packaging.

Transparency will also be used to allow companies to address the growing consumer demand for honesty and openness about ethics. Allowing customers to learn where the products were made (and by whom), the materials used, and the carbon footprint will increase the chance of them recognising you as a brand that shares their values.

7. EARTHY TONES

The ecological packaging trend will extend beyond the materials used in 2020. The colours that companies choose for their eco-friendly packaging will continue their earth-friendly message.

Earthy tones have long been the go-to staple palette for organic products; however, the demand for shopping ‘green’ will give rise to more use of the colour green, as well as natural browns, greys, and blues, across more traditional brands.

Also expect to see low saturation and grainy finishes to the chosen colours to give a subtle and more organic feel.

Creative packaging trends in 2020

With every new year comes a new opportunity to use the latest creative packaging trends to elevate your brand. When you consider the impression your packaging presents of your company, is it the impression you’re aiming for? Does it showcase your ethical values? Does it mirror the quality of the product within? Would it be worth sharing on Instagram? Does it tell the story of your brand?

Packaging design should incorporate the perfect combination of packaging material, innovation and finishing techniques. A deep understanding of your brand identity, as well as your target market’s needs and triggers, should be at the heart of your packaging strategy.

Our team of packaging design experts and manufacturing specialists will be happy to discuss the latest packaging trends and how they can fit with your brand’s packaging strategy. Let us guide you from initial concept all the way through to distribution.

Get in touch to find out how we can help.

James Rowland

James Rowland is the Managing Director of Tagit Ltd, which he co-founded in 1996. His passion for all things related to design and packaging came from working in the art department of a packaging firm after leaving school in the late 80s. He taught himself to run the litho printers and die cutting machinery, and built up the production arm of the UK business. James’ entire career has been centred around the innovation, design and production of jewellery and accessory packaging, which is why Tagit attracts and retains clients around the globe. James cares deeply for the environment and has made it his mission to offer the best recyclable and sustainable packaging solutions for his customers, even if it affects the profitability of Tagit. When he’s not focused on CAD and ethical packaging practices, James enjoys cycling, swimming, and drawing.