Our Predictions for Packaging Design Trends in 2020

Our Predictions for Packaging Design Trends in 2020


Trend forecasting can be a fickle beast. In a world seemingly entwined, a number of factors impact how trends are predicted and mapped. Here are some of our predictions for emerging design trends in the packaging sphere, and how we mapped them. 

Here are some factors that impact and drive packaging design trends: 

  1. Pantone, Pantone, Pantone! Pantone is the leading (if not only) name in the world of colour. Every December since 2000, Pantone has named a ‘colour of the year’ to be used as a conceptual trend guide for designers. 
  2. Don’t overlook what’s happening on the runways. Fashion is a major driver of trends, and it’s impact is not solely seen on fabric. Packaging, digital media, marketing, branding, can all take from what is happening both on High Street and in the indie world. 
  3. Current, global, and major events. What is happening in the world is a major driver of how the physical world around us is conceptualized and designed. It drives human emotion; how we think and feel. For example: in 1999, amidst Y2K hysteria, Pantone released their first colour of the year. Cerulean Blue was the official colour of the year 2000. Meant to incite feelings of calmness and serenity, Cerulean Blue was a concept incepted by Pantone to represent peace in a turbulent world.   
  4. #instagrammable #doitforthegram. What we mean by this is that social media does not only have a role to play in how trends are created, it spreads the word, quickly. What is your market? What hashtags are currently trending? What are leaders in the field doing, and how is this information passed from person to person via networking? Social media is here to stay and it is a big big deal in the world of marketing and trends. 

So where does that leave us? What do we think will be #trending in the 2020 world of packaging design? 

  1. Drumroll please… the 2020 Pantone colour of the year is Classic Blue! What does that mean for packaging, marketing, and ecommerce? It means that you are going to start seeing blue. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon Classic Blue will be permeating your screens. Remember Millennial Pink AKA Rose Quartz of 2016? Of course you do! It was (and still is) everywhere. Guess who named it? That’s right, Pantone did. Is it any coincidence that shortly after Apple began to make phones, computers, and iPads in this chirpy rose? It’s not. So strap in because here comes blue to a screen near you. 
  2. Minimalist fashion. Maybe you don’t pay immediate heed to what is coming down the runways, but trust me when I say that you have likely stumbled across an influencer or ad strutting in garb characterized by neutral tones, classic cuts, and natural fibres have been dominating the indie scene. However, interestingly enough, the past decade has seen a huge resurgence of 90’s/00’s inspired looks. What does this mean for packaging? Think simple, sans serif fonts, craft paper labels, natural, corrugated cardboard boxes. As for 90’s/00’s? Bolder, retro looks. Fonts which are minimalistic and futuristic “retro-futurism” at the same time. Think holographic backgrounds, and transparent packaging. 
  3. As for social media and current events? A person’s social media presence tells a story about one self; commonly, it is used to portray one’s likes/dislikes, style, interests, and social location. Packaging can also be used to tell a story or convey a message. In fact, it should be telling a message. Packaging design which embodies the characteristics of your brand is what this is all about. The design is focused on conveying #lifestylegoal and should be deeply personal. Think about your target market; what would make them feel nostalgic, emotional, what images would conjure up feelings connection?     
  4. One of the biggest events of this year was the march for climate change. Of course, a major trend in 2019, and moving into 2020 is sustainability. How can we genuinely continue to create while minimizing our ecological footprint. We have talked extensively about ways to (and not to) achieve this. However, at the heart of this movement is one of integrity. Research into sustainable packaging practices must be taken seriously, and done thoroughly. It is an oxymoron to say that all packaging is ‘sustainable’ because to keep producing means that it is inherently not. So how then can you commit to reducing your ecological footprint? 

About The Author

Kirsten Crisostomo is a freelance copy and content writer based in Vancouver, BC.

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