Packaging Design Trend Report 2021: What’s in, and what’s going out

Packaging Design Trend Report 2021: What’s in, and what’s going out


We know it, and we are still living through it. A global pandemic which brought the world to its knees and fundamentally changed the ways in which we conduct our everyday lives. As 2020 forced us to shift our priorities, packaging design necessarily changed with it. We have the ability to design our world and our lived environment becomes inextricably linked to design. In our gradual return to “normal” life, our design priorities will begin to shift with them. So how will this impact packaging design trends? Packaging design, forecasters, gurus, and all around industry experts, at the Dieline have broken down some of the packaging trends that are coming and going in 2021. We’ve picked out some that we think you should know about below:  

What’s Going Out: 

  1. Vacation Imagery 

While most of us became intimately connected with our couches in 2020, a return to normal means that we are no longer bound in the confines of our homes. A huge packaging design trend during the thick of the pandemic was vacation imagery; lush tropical jungle-scapes, palm trees, beaches, and the occasional image of a surfer girl. These were meant to transport us to a far away place while allowing us to remain firmly planted on our sofas. However, the fantasy of escape is quickly becoming a reality again. 

  1. Soft, Muted Tones 

Pastels are so soothing, and they sold huge in 2020. People wanted a calm and chill eye-vacation to mute the noise of bad news. Packaging designers embraced this aesthetic with open arms. Walk into any shop, grocery store, boutique, and you will be guaranteed to find shelves full of beige, pink, and sky blue products. Honestly, they are beautiful, and people love them, but we are also in a place (emotionally), where we are likely to manage more pops of colour and bolder designs. We’re not staying scrap the olives, but don’t be afraid to shake it up a little. 

  1. Sans Serif Fonts 

We’ve actually predicted this one for a while now. While sometimes, there is nothing more aesthetic than a minimal sans serif font, the prominence of sans serifs in packaging design can mean that your product sinks into a background of other competitors who have also embraced a stark white background with a minimal geometric font. While sans serif fonts are wonderfully universal, it doesn’t hurt to find a solid, bold, serif font to make your packaging really pop. 

What’s Here to Stay: 

  1. Bold Patterns and Colours 

Think psychedelic patterns, loud purples, apple greens, and sunshine yellows, checkers, gingham, and stripes. While our personal love for pastels will never subside, we’re not mad at packaging that looks like an absolute party. 

  1. Hyper Realistic Illustrations 

We’re mostly talking about florals and nature here. Monarch butterflies fluttering amongst a field of wildflowers. Packaging design has spent the last few years in a two-dimensional, geometric world. We are seeing more designers use imagery which reflect our natural surroundings when designing a box

  1. Aggressive and Bold Typography 

Packaging design has really embraced minimalism. So much so that you will be hard-pressed NOT to find a white or kraft package with a sans serif font on your local grocery store shelves. We’ve posted about some font trends before, and we’re saying it again: get on this trend because it is about to explode. Large curvaceous serif fonts which over your entire package. Throw a pattern on the lettering. The more confusing it looks the better (and we’re saying this in the best way possible.   

About The Author

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

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