Design Trends in Packaging

Packaging is following several trends. Here are some thoughts on today's hot trends that are influencing packaged goods.


Swirls and baroque twists and flourishes are all the rage. The restraint of the Modernist movement has given way to a need for expression with detail - little touches that make things personal and add the warmth we crave.  Sometimes patterns cover simple forms, sometimes it's just a flourish trailing off the edge.

Type as design

Pictures are pictures and words are words, right? Wrong. Words are increasingly used as design elements. This trend is not new, but is cropping up more lately.


Saks Fifth Avenue used their logo as a design element that was mixed and matched to create a pattern. (Pentagram)

Craft and recycle

Crafting has gained momentum alongside sustainability. You can call it 'craftcycling'.  Handmade is the new luxury - rough edges, pasted together and repurposed materials rule. Non-handmade goods are now mimicking the crafted/recycled look.

Continue Reading Below...

Scrapbooking culture

The newest hobby, scrapbooking, has

(gasp!) influenced design at large. Traditional, sweetly colored,

patterned paper and trimmings come together quilt-work style for a look

all its own. The nostalgic patterns are sometimes country-like,

feminine or age-worn all in one. A contradiction of elements are

familiar and likable as the scent of your grandmother's perfume.

Faded beauty

An offshoot of grunge, faded beauty is the

distressed feminine elements meshed with subtle touches of the '70's.

Lilies, butterflies, botanical shapes join hands with criss-crossing

quilted lines, grungy finishes and distressed borders. Hints of

Venetian lace aligns with Asian forms - the sky is the limit in this

dream world.

Forest love

Taking our cue from nature, elements like

birds, deers, bugs, mushrooms and leaves are appearing everywhere. The

juxtaposition of these earthy visuals mesh with hip styling. Although

this trend has been derided as a fad, it still holds strong with more

subtle references.

'70's reinvented

Retro is back, but think a little!

Recycling the old as new just won't work anymore. A fun, hip vibe takes

front seat with the future-is-now iPod scene. Cross an X-Box with a VW

Beetle and add some flower power to boost! Have fun making something

old into new again by mixing the past and the imagined future.

Green glory

Sustainability is the biggest world-changing

concept since the Internet. Turning life-draining wastefulness into

green gold is the new holy grail. Don't ignore its siren call. It will

matter to every package designer on this planet very soon. Even now.

Hand drawn and illustrated

Long ago, illustrations once

ruled in packaging. With the advent of advanced color photography and

computer manipulation, photos rapidly replaced drawings on packaged

goods. But, once again, the beauty of hand-drawn illustrations grace

packaging in every category - giving warmth and character to packaged