9 Label and packaging trends in 2021

When it comes to trend forecasting, there’s no doubt that the ongoing pandemic has severely impacted how consumers react to brands, and how they prioritise purchases. In terms of label and packaging trends, we’re seeing an overriding desire for bold statements that say it like it is. We’re past the stage of being manipulated and want to align ourselves with brands we can trust, whose beliefs echo our own.

9 Label and packaging trends in 2021

Here is a look at some of the dominant trends we’ll see coming out in labels and packages this New Year.

1. Connecting through a screen

Social distancing will continue to be required going into 2021 and online shopping will most certainly remain a dominant feature beyond the pandemic. This means companies need to use labels and packaging that can translate digitally, as well as including sufficient information to create a sense of trust – ingredients, brand story, user information and the like.

2. Storytelling

The best way to market any product is by telling a story, and the package and label trends going into 2021 will see more humanising of brands. Visual scenes and developed brand characters will be used to clearly express what the brand is all about, as a way to get the consumer involved. Say goodbye to the one-dimensional brand mascots, people want to know and understand the companies behind the image.

3. Reduced packaging

More than just a 2021 trend, the reduction of packaging across every sector is a big drive in the ongoing fight against climate change. This means companies are able to focus on quality rather than quantity when it comes to packaging choices.

4. Eco-friendly materials

Coupled with a reduction in packaging is the use of environmentally-conscious label and packaging materials which can be clearly displayed. People are genuinely concerned about the excess waste and harmful toxicity of artificial product packaging, so going the eco-conscious route can make all the difference. You can also use the eco-labelling to highlight any other responsible practices adopted by your organisation.

5. Textured materials

While social distancing and online purchases will dominate, there is still a need for the tactile experience in terms of product packaging and labels. This could be incorporating embossed or debossed product labels, corrugated packaging, velvety Hi Rise or Soft Touch paperboard, folded ridges or glossy coating. Many customers still make a decision based on touch, and a tactile experience is intuitively associated with a premium product.

6. Artistic illustrations

While product packaging and labels might be crisp and simple, they are in no way ‘simplistic’. In 2021, we can expect to see illustrations that are crafted by artists, either being integrated into the design or as a standalone focal point. The beauty of the product is connected directly with the beauty of the packaging, making every purchase a piece of fine art.

7. Bold product labels

The product name or logo itself is now becoming the central focus of the label or packaging, creating really impactful brand recognition. The aforementioned artistry allows for the product name to be both a thing of beauty, as well as focal point of the purchase.

8. Solid colour

Subtlety is out and solid colours are on trend in 2021, with geometric shapes and bold tones dominating labels and packaging. We’re saying goodbye to clean, white spaces and replacing them with bold colours that communicate the product message.

9. Transparent labels

In line with the need for honesty, customers are looking for transparency – both in terms of full product descriptions, as well as transparent labels themselves. Ensure valuable product information is included on the product label, customers don’t want any hidden messaging. And the transparent label material means that the bold colours, artistic design and tactile packaging stand out even more.

Companies will not incorporate every trend in their 2021 package and label design, but it’s important to realise that these are trending for a reason – it’s what consumers are responding to. Make sure you partner with a reputable label and packaging manufacturer that can point you in the right direction when it comes to design trends.




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