What’s on the packaging design agenda for 2021?

03 Mar 2021

The consumer sits at the heart of packaging. As their purchase behaviours change, so too must the packaging of products. For many brands, the rapid shift to omnichannel retailing, alongside the changing demands of the consumer, have brought new trends in design and manufacture to the forefront.


So, what lies in store for packaging and label design in 2021?


Mindful design

Set to be an important design philosophy for the coming year, mindful design is packaging intended to soothe and calm consumers. The idea behind this is that, as consumers, we see packaging almost 24/7 on our screens and in store. Whether we are conscious of it or not, packaging is consistently part of our day-to-day lives. Because we see it every day, it is thought that the design of packaging could be used to subliminally influence our mood.


Mindful design has a lot in common with minimalism that has been on the increase in recent years. Commonly associated with greater perceived quality and products in the therapeutic or cosmetic categories, mindful design tends to favour fewer colours; often pastels and more muted tones. Typefaces are usually clean, sharp and simple.


A fresh look as premium finishes

While the consumer budget might not always stretch to luxury goods, premiumisation of many packs in recent years has sought to put a feeling of quality and value front and centre, even for low and mid-range brands. As a result, packaging designers are putting new focus on premium finishes. Premium coatings and finishes will likely see strong upward momentum continue through the coming year.


For packaging and label printers, premium tactile finishes such as combinations of matte and gloss coatings, integration of hot and cold foiling or clever use of spot varnishes are proving a real hit. Shoppers are continuing to use purchases as an experience, and it’s clear that the retail potential of premiumisation will remain on the upswing.


Vibrancy is back

Two distinct design styles are moving to the forefront for 2021. While minimalism and mindful design are on the rise, there is regrowth in vibrancy, bright colours and thicker borders that catch the eye. This tends to be the favoured by brands that want to convey a rebellious, counter-culture or artisanal brand image, as well as those aiming to appear diverse and global.


Graphically, designs are moving towards the flat block 2D style that the industry moved away from; but is very much back in style. With effective reprographics, brands are able to harness strong colour blocking and vibrant tones to capture attention on crowded store shelves.


A fresh look at Sustainability

Eco-friendly products are back at the top of the consumer agenda, which means it’s once again in top of the list for pack developers. Shoppers are often associating sustainable products and packaging with higher quality and performance, which means that for brand owners, sustainable packaging design has significant bottom-line benefits.


Often missed by brands, ensuring sustainable prepress processes, alongside sustainable packaging design, can make a significant contribution to the overall environmental performance of the pack. At Creation Reprographics, we operate a completely solvent-free prepress service, as well as use a digital workflow to minimise errors and waste, all contributing to a lower carbon footprint for the end pack.


A reintroduction to smart labels

For brands and printers alike, greater use of smart labelling technology is on the agenda for 2021. As safety and security measures have made QR labels more common, consumers are seeing how convenient the format can be.


For the shopper, it’s a more engaging way to find out more information and take part in promotions and competitions. For the brand, it’s another opportunity to capture data, learn more about the consumer and be able to make informed decisions.


After a slow start initially, we are expecting to see smart labelling methods such as QR codes, NFC tags and ‘scan-to-shop’ image recognition take on a much more prominent role in packaging design throughout 2021. From a design perspective, this means that artwork must account for this from the outset. As smart labelling continues accelerating, it may also follow that packaging and label designs are built around the technology instead of just accommodating it.


It’s clear that for packaging designers, brands and printers, there is plenty of opportunity to connect and engage the consumer. Behaviours and demands are still shifting and evolving, which means that outstanding reprographics can make all the difference in capturing attention and those important sales.


Looking to connect with a dedicated repro partner to underpin your performance?


Speak to our team today to find out more about effective prepress, design and colour management with Creation.

Contact us on +44 (0) 1327 312444  or info@creation-repro.com
and we’ll be happy to help