It’s not uncommon to associate the word ‘packaging’ with the protection of a product. But these days, packaging design takes many forms. While many actually go down the functional route of keeping products safe, others use packaging to entertain and help brands stand out in the eyes of the customers.
From clean, muted colors to whimsical details that lighten the mood, the designs that customers gravitate towards these days hint at the importance of creative packaging.
Here’s why good packaging design matters, and a whole host of packaging ideas to get your creative juices flowing!
Why good packaging design matters
It helps sell your product
With online sales soaring, packaging becomes an integral part of the buying experience. In fact, 40 percent of customers say they would purchase a product only if it comes in a gift-like, premium packaging.
Next to functionality, creative packaging helps sell products. It turns the curious into buyers and transforms the one-time adopters into regular customers. It helps fill in the gap that a physical shopping experience has left, and keeps customers connected to brands.
It keeps it top of mind
Great packaging design can create a positive experience for your customers. The unwrapping experience has become part of the product experience. So it comes as no surprise that the more memorable the packaging design is, the more likely customers will keep your brand in mind.
It’s an extension of your brand
Your packaging is an effective way to showcase your brand. Keeping your design cohesive across logo, packaging and website (among others) is a sure-fire way to make your customer recognize your brand, values and purpose. Creative packaging design will help your product be recognized well beyond your location, and win over new customers you couldn’t otherwise reach physically.
Creative packaging ideas to rave about
Whether it’s to retain loyal customers or win over new fans, these 40+ packaging ideas will help make it a memorable unboxing experience:
Clever and comical
Play on words and comical treatment of your product combine to lift your packaging design’s game, and make it all the more memorable. See these clever examples of using common idioms and strategic placement of illustrations that elevate the products:
Whimsical and child-like
Illustrations of a child-like imagination that keeps your branding playful is another creative packaging design idea. See these whimsical examples that are guaranteed to put a smile on a customer’s face, and make them seriously think about buying the product.
Take a hint
Giving a hint of your product is always a great idea, especially since it can help influence the buying decision of your customers. Adding clear paneling and cut-out details serve both as functional and creative elements of packaging, as these designs showcase.
Bright and organic
Organic silhouettes have been around for a while, but this time around it gets an update by way of softer, curved edges—think blobs, waves and circular shapes—and relaxed aesthetics like coloring outside the lines.
Multitasking isn’t just reserved for human beings. Some creative packaging ideas apply the same logic and delight us all with clever and innovative designs that not only protect but also help customers interact better with the product or serve a second purpose.
Flip the script and present your product in surprising, unthinkable ways!
Whether it’d be designing unusual packaging shapes or some fun touches like test tubes for teas, these unconventional packaging ideas capture the customer’s attention, add to the customer experience and keep your brand top of mind. Plus these creative packaging ideas are sure to thrill.
Old-school doesn’t have to mean predictable. Geometric shapes call back to retro-style designs of the 60s and 70s that offer comfort of the familiar for customers. But this time, these shapes get taken to the next level by mixing in detailed illustrations, like Mad pepper’s design for Rawr!, or adding patterns within the shapes, like monostudio’s CBD candy packaging design.
In this chaotic new world where we deal with a lot on a daily basis, sometimes all we need is a reprieve. It’s no surprise then that brands opt for gentler, muted shades and clean lines for their packaging designs because they inspire soothing, feel-good moments in customers.
Some of these creative packaging examples choose pastel colors over their brighter, neon counterparts. Others restrict themselves to using no more than 2 colors in their packaging so as not to overstimulate the eyes. And some employ smooth, flowy lines instead of jagged edges in their illustrations to convey calm and softness.
This trend calls back to the Y2K nostalgia we’ve seen in the last couple of years. But forget the holographic and chrome. Instead think of softer color combinations like pink, blues and purple. The effects are eye-catching blended color combinations that have a fluid look and feel.
With accessibility becoming more and more of an integral part of the design process, it makes sense that we see an increase in using textures in packaging material. Think embossed detail, cutouts and adding extra materials to an otherwise smooth surface of the packaging.
Where to from here?
As more and more people crave an exciting, visceral interaction with their products that rivals a memorable physical shopping experience, creative packaging design is definitely something that more brands are investing in. And that naturally opens up more opportunities for innovation and originality in packaging designs today and into the future.
If that’s a difficult thought to wrap your head around, look to our amazing list of packaging designers to help you out today.
This article was originally written by Samual Lundquist and published in 2016. It has been updated with new examples and information.