17 Examples of Inspiring Packaging Designs
Up until recently, packaging design was usually seen as nothing more than a means to better sell design is now more than just a factor that affects users’ buying decisions and encourages them to products. But the role of packaging has grown beyond just that. Brands now communicate with their customers in more ways than one, often completely permeating their lives. And packaging design is now more than just a factor that affects users’ buying decisions and encourages them to shop. People connect with brands on an emotional level and they believe that packaging mirrors a brand’s image and the character of its products.
Whether we’re talking about industrial and technical products, food, clothing, or handmade items, packaging generally represents the perfect canvas for a brand’s manifesto. It embodies the values of a business, no matter the niche.
Besides offering information about a product, packaging can also be observed as a standalone element with its own unique aesthetic value. Brands often use it to send messages related to important social issues. It can even be designed in a way that allows consumers to re-use it, giving it a new creative life with a fresh purpose and an unlimited expiration date.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to beautiful examples of inspiring packaging designs that demonstrate different approaches, functions, and purposes of packaging. The brands we’ll talk about include:
We’ll start off with Ombú, a small brand that makes natural, handmade soaps. The packaging design is minimalistic. It consists of a decorated white piece of cardboard wrapped around each product. The graphic ornaments on it look fresh and simple, matching the brand’s visual identity. The visual impression of these soaps is further increased by their unique appearance. Their beautiful textures, vivid color combinations, and interesting contours wonderfully complement the simple packaging and create a captivating visual symbiosis between all elements. The author of this design is Irene Arteaga.
There are many examples of a packaging design where typography is used as the primary visual element. The letters can appear simple, abstract, or elegant, sometimes even emanating several characteristics at the same time. Great Jones is a kitchenware brand and their packaging design was developed by the world-renowned Pentagram studio from New York. They’ve opted for vintage colors, rich illustrations that adorn the interior box packaging, and a visual language that unites the spirit of old days with modern graphic styles through the joy of cooking.
Who Gives a Crap is an Australian company that makes environmentally-friendly toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues. They use natural and recyclable materials to make their products, which comes as no surprise considering the way they conduct business – they donate a lot of money to charity and 50% of their profits to build toilets for people in need. The Play Edition is a special edition of their premium bamboo toilet paper created for the global market. The project was developed by Garbett studio from Sydney and designed in a way that engages both the young and the old in play. The packaging is adorned with geometric illustrations and interesting totemic characters, and is colored in lovely hues. Since these products are made of paper, they are safe to play with and pose no risk to kids’ safety.
Illustrations are one of the most attractive and effective ways of building a brand’s visual identity. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that a large number of brands decide to use them on their packaging. Granell, the coffee manufacturer from Valencia, is one of those brands. Even though these designs were created several years ago, they still look fresh and modern. The packaging is the result of a collaboration between the Spanish studio Firma and two illustrators, Charlotte Molas and Pol Montserrat. Through a series of everyday-life scenes, they’ve managed to depict the Mediterranean spirit, warmth, and joie de vivre in a vibrant and somewhat melancholic way.
Vermut de Luna is an example of a conceptual design in liquor packaging made by the Mucho studio. The bottle features elegant, subtle lettering, simple artistic elements, and elegantly displayed information about the product. All of these elements were imprinted directly onto the glass using the screen printing technique. The use of this method combined with all the golden and white hues make the packaging look sophisticated.
The gentle, pastel color palette ensures the packaging design for ROCCA Pâtisserie’s Gift Box looks refined, delicate, and eye-pleasing. However, there is more to this design than just warm hues. The featured elements look subtle and fit together nicely, without overpowering each other. Still, the design is rich in details on several levels. Notice the illustrations, the packaging shape, the quality of the materials, and the way in which the packaging interacts with the surrounding space and the products it holds. The gorgeous texture of luxurious paper, the wooden detailing, the shiny foils used for lettering, the colors, the shapes of cookies and the shadows their texture makes are all prominent, but not overpoweringly so. The author of this design packaging is the WWAWE Design Studio.
Packaging is essentially a type of spatial design, which means the ways in which a product can interact with its surroundings and other products are virtually limitless. Oftentimes, packaging design supports the principle of continuation, meaning you can see the whole picture only when you place several packages of one product next to one another. Other times, each package can be observed individually regardless of the other products. A perfect example of such designs is Vera Zvereva’s subtle, unpretentious work for Depot Milgrad’s milk packaging. There’s a simple illustration of a blue cat on each carton. You can observe every drawing individually or as a part of a sensical, cohesive unit made up of several amusing drawings.
Simon Langloi’s project for Swing Microbrewery is another example of typography-centric packaging design. The illustrative font, used for branding purposes, is inspired by the culture, history, and nature of Quebec, which is where the brewery is located. Aside from interesting lettering, this packaging doesn’t contain lots of other decorative features. The work Langlois did on the special edition of Swing Microbrewery’s beer, however, is a different story. The bottle is wrapped in crisscrossed, woody-colored strips, while the label is attached to it using a braided string. The combination of these elements is what gives the special edition bottles a vibe of a hand-crafted, traditional product.
Even though this isn’t a typical example of a commercial product, we couldn’t leave out Mossery’s Gifting Season box from our list. The design draws inspiration from the festive season and is adorned with colorful shapes and patterns. The Mossery’s box demonstrates the immense creativity one can achieve with paper and the playfulness that ensues when graphic elements “come to life” in the real world. Mossery’s colorful packaging is made of high-quality paper. You can assemble the elements together and turn them into decoration pieces or use the characters you’ve made (the so-called Mosslets) to play around with them. Either way, Mossery’s Gifting Season box proves to be a magical example of a vibrant and refreshing packaging design.
Minimalist design doesn’t necessarily have to be elegant. Sometimes, it can carry a completely different vibe. Take the Coconut Milk by Grinning Face packaging design as an example. The project was developed by Leo Burnett Toronto. The big, white typefaces used to display the brand’s name on the bottle are dispersed all over it. They encourage users to shake the milk before use in an interactive way. This is a necessary step, since this milk consists of two ingredients, coconut and water, that naturally separate. The bright, pastel hues are the perfect choice for this packaging as they complement its simplicity and the minimal use of ingredients.
The packaging for Abeeja honey was created by Spanish designer Andrés Guerrero. The design is very simple, clear, and it comes with a fun twist – the label that wraps around the jar of honey has two perforated wings on it. The packaging is designed in yellow and black hues, so when you add the wings into the mix, you get the lovely bee-like jar full of honey.
The materials used in packaging design serve as a canvas on which designers can paint the values, aesthetics, and philosophies of a brand. And this shows on the cans designed for the La Knowlton Co. microbrewery. For every beer type, there is a specific can color – blue, green, ochre, and red. The label that’s wrapped around the cans features an entertaining three-sequence comic that captures the consumers’ attention even before they take the first sip. These humorous and playful retro illustrations make this brand more fun and help it stand out in the crowd.
Tread by Everlane is another example of how packaging can become an element that completely reflects the philosophy, values, and goals of a company. This packaging was designed for the world’s lowest-impact sneakers. The end result looks unique, pleasing on the eye, and is practical at the same time. The materials used to build it include biodegradable foam and recycled cardboard, while all the printing is done using eco-friendly colors.
Minimalist designs can often appear abstract and conceptual, and as such, are used in all areas of design. When it comes to minimalist packaging design, as some of the examples on our list illustrate, they often revolve around typefaces and specific letter choices. The packaging design for the cosmetic brand Midnight 00.00 is as simple as it can be. The typography is very subdued, but it still leaves a lot of room for subtle conceptual details, such as the hours imprinted on each product that serve as a nod to the brand’s name. For instance, there are shower gels marked as 00.001, 00.02, and so on. The typographic details used for the packaging look clean, visually appealing, and they beautifully complement the plant-based products stored inside.
Mosi Mooncake is the result of a remarkable inclusive project. The packaging design was developed in art workshops organized for people with autism. Their illustrations and drawings were used to create three sets of different patterns that make up the visual identity of this product. And since mosi mosi is an inclusive design studio, they share a percentage of their profits with autistic artists to inspire and encourage their community.
Nai 3.3 Olive Oil is another example of minimalist packaging design developed by the Bruketa & Žinić studio. Every element on the packaging is subdued. The bottle itself looks quite simple, save for the elegantly styled olive tree symbol and the brand’s name on it. This olive oil is made on the island of Dugi Otok, which inspired the product’s name – the island sees 3.3 snow days a year on average, and such weather conditions are suitable for olive production.
The packaging design for Saikai’s senbei cookies and green tea is inspired by nature. The graphics and illustration wonderfully complement the main characteristics of this product – its shape and functionality. When you open the box shaped like a mountain top, it will turn into a serving plate upon which the cookies are meticulously arranged. And besides its obvious purpose of storing products, packaging like this one can also be used for play.
When you succeed in designing a striking, fun, and creative packaging, you enhance its importance. You give it a more significant role, which isn’t just to store products and keep them safe. Attractive packaging design has the power to capture everyone’s attention and become a product in its own right. It can turn into a powerful tool that helps boost a brand’s visibility and conveys its values. And as the examples on our list demonstrate, there are no limits in terms of styles, colors, patterns, and typefaces you can combine. Go wild and be as creative as you want, but always make sure your packaging designs are in harmony with your brand philosophy.