4 Packaging Design Trends to Watch in 2016


Every branding expert knows how important it is to follow packaging designs and use that knowledge to create work that stands out on the shelf, establishes customer loyalty, and masters brand storytelling.

With this thought in mind, marketing and branding professionals are on an endless mission to wrap their products with packaging that’s relevant, modern, and fresh.

But since packaging design trends are always changing and evolving to match consumer desires, trying to keep up with trends can make it seem like you’re always one step behind. If you’re ready to get ahead and beat out your competitors with the best packaging designs, have no fear – you’ve found the right blog!

From vintage-inspired beer labels to authentic watercolor illustrations, this post explains 4 packaging design trends to watch in 2016.

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1. Geometric Patterns

Before the craft beer market became immensely popular, packaging design for the sudsy drink was largely an afterthought.

With such fierce competition in the industry, brewers are now using whimsical, outlandish packaging to stand out from other breweries in the aisle. With this trend in full force, we predict that 2016 will be full of the most eclectic beer and wine packaging designs to date.


We’re obsessed with the imaginative graphic designs drafted up by Evil Twin Brewing. This Brooklyn-based brewery has creative beer names like “Citra Sunshine Slacker” and “Bikini Beer” to inspire their avant-garde label designs.


Evil Twin’s co-founder and label designer, Martin Justesen, explained his strategy and intention for creating these dynamic designs.

“I like for the labels to work on two levels, the first to grab your attention by standing out, and the second by containing details you later discover when you sit down and look at it close up.”

Every label is made up of triangular shapes, which helps create a strong sense of brand identity across each one.

2. Authentic Design Aesthetics

From an increased interest in handmade goods to the rise in popularity of sites like Etsy, consumers value authenticity and quality more than ever. And in a world where seemingly artisan, handmade goods are flying off the shelves, people don’t want something that looks like it’s mass produced (even if it is).


According to Andrew Gibbs, founder of The Dieline, “Consumers’ appetites are shifting towards more authentic, real, quality, honest products. Products that are uncomplicated, yet crafted, even vintage inspired.”

Gibbs predicted this rejection of corporate branding in early 2015, and we think this trend is on its way to gain even more momentum next year.


Cacao Barry, a B2B brand that sells high-quality chocolate to restaurants and bakeries, is a great example of authenticity in packaging design. The chocolate company worked with Design Bridge to create packaging that would celebrate the brand’s commitment to quality and tell the story behind each product.

To establish an authentic appearance for every flavor, the international design agency created a periodic table of flavor profiles complete with botanical paintings and etched illustrations of plants unique to that region.


3. Abstract Art

Package designers will do everything they can to make a product catch consumers’ eyes: giant lettering, neon colors, even extreme minimalism. We’ll continue to see this type of packaging in 2016, but we predict that many brands will begin trading out these loud design elements for more elegant, art-focused designs.


We love the new design adorning the bottles of Rojalet, a popular Spanish wine brand. Atipus, the Barcelona-based design agency responsible for the line art design, explained the inspiration for the wine’s unique look.


“For the label design, we were inspired by the name of the product itself (Rojalet sounds similar to red in catalan) and the unique red strata of the soil where the grapes are grown.”

By covering their bottles in an abstract line art design, Rojalet proves that your product really can serve as a canvas. While each bottle assumes different colors and styles, the lines all mesh cohesively when the bottles are placed next to one another. This helps create an important, nuanced consistency across each design.


4. Packaging Inspired by History

From hipster fashion trends to 90’s comeback brands, it seems like everyone is determined to relive their glory days. This trend is also appearing in packaging design, and we’re expecting to see a lot of it in 2016.

Similar to the way that brands attempt to evoke a handmade feel, many brands are also attempting to mock a historic, vintage look. We’re seeing brands of all ages leverage this idea of heritage to create loyalty with customers. Some brands are actually reverting back to their historic packaging designs from years gone past.


This before and after photo from Genesee Brewing proves that no matter how old your brand is, you can still fit in with trends and establish a modern brand presence.

The 125 year old brewery revamped their packaging to look just like it did in the 1960’s, when Genesee beer was at its peak. While this design was popular decades ago, it uses a minimalist packaging design style to appear relevant and new.

We expect that 2016 will be full of packaging designs adorned with geometric patterns, authentic aesthetics, abstract art and historic inspiration. For more packaging design inspiration, check out 5 coffee brands with perfect packaging or Heritage Branding: The Hidden Value of Nostalgia.

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