Packaging design trends to avoid in 2023

A mishmash from the packaging design gurus of the Internet

Consumers want packaging that offers a sense of calm and, in some cases, even nostalgia for a time when things didn’t feel so chaotic. Photo Unsplash

We quickly looked at several packaging design-related websites and it is clear that packaging designers are mostly making wild guesses based on what most of the packaging industry has been talking about in past years. And also to some extent on what they and their clients have been doing recently. Also thrown in are a few profundities of what retro look is coming back and some fashion references.

In short, most packaging designers will continue the trend to do what they have to do or what the client demands and continue to keep their own lives interesting by producing backstories, trends, and myths that connect their work with the cosmos and sometimes even ordinary needs. The sites and forecasts we looked at and quoted and misquoted below are – Creative Boom, RanPak, and 99 Designs. Go and try to read this stuff! Our only advice is to eat what is locally grown and in its own season.

  1. Holy cow, like everything else, packaging evolves at light speed. Now that small players can compete with the big guys’ thanks to digital printing, standing out from the crowd is a must.
  2. Consumers want packaging trends that offers a sense of calm and, in some cases, even nostalgia for a time when things didn’t feel so chaotic. Shopping should not be a stressful process; there’s enough of that everywhere else. Some of us duck into a supermarket to get out of the traffic chaos.
  1. Using typography as the centrepiece of the design is back in a big way in the design industry. Some designers have been toying with deceptive depth, which champions producing 3-dimensional graphics on two-dimensional surfaces. Other designers forecast a year of typographic scrawl and cartoon charm.
  2. Another packaging design idea will be minimalism. For years, the packaging had to be bold, using big colors like orange or electric blue. Really.
  3. Words matter. One of the most critical aspects of Google’s new algorithm is that it pushes quality content over a paragraph stuffed with keywords. Really!! People are tired of seeing buzzwords repeatedly, and packaging is catching on. I don’t believe it. Instead of using many catchy phrases and words that don’t mean anything, packaging is moving toward getting to the point and building trust through a quality product rather than big promises. Let’s hope this is really a new thought and that it comes true.
  4. Everything is a QR code away. The usage of the QR code became mainstream during the pandemic once iPhones could scan them, but now, the QR is on everything. And by using the QR, brands can stick it on the back of the packaging, letting the consumer enter their world, whether it be how to use the product effectively or their social media channels.
  5. Continual options are coming for eco-friendly packaging, and that’s only a good thing as laws are passed worldwide to battle climate change. 
  6. Luxury packaging design seems to be full of isms. One trend that is forecast is maximalism. As we continue to emerge post-pandemic and to some, it is surprisingly making waves in all its glorious madness. A burst of color, pattern, and things that don’t quite go together but somehow work, this is a joyful response to the lockdowns and gloom of recent years. An explosion of energy, it has found itself seeping into the luxury category more than ever. Perhaps not far from anarchism, see below.
  7. Informatism is about the design revealing all the lab details, providing every bit of data, numbers, and diagrams. Often text-heavy and informative, these designs describe the experiments and spell out the hypothesis. See wordism above or words matter.
  8. Anarchism. How does any designer abandon the norm and create original packaging for luxury brands? One possible approach is to throw out the rulebook entirely. Also see maximalism, above.
  9. Virtualism. How could the huge advancement in AI and VR not inspire luxury packaging design next year? We’ve seen so much progression over the last 12 months that designers would have to be living in a cave not to appreciate their dominance. Actually, AI and VR work best in caves.

Best wishes for the new year! Naresh Khanna

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– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

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Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy. Elected vice-president of the International Packaging Press Organization in May 2023.


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