Packaging design: 30 inspirational examples

With so many products out there, packaging design is as important as ever. Take a look at these examples of packaging design to witness the best work on offer.

Think packaging design is boring? Think again.

Packaging is something we’re bombarded by. So creating an eye catching packaging design that can be reproduced for years is a real challenge, especially with many companies now wanting to create biodegradable or renewable packaging.

Now more than ever, packaging design matters. The designs below show the direction in which many different industries are focusing their packaging design for years to come.

01. Face Cups

Packaging design
Packaging design: We love these cups – scary but satisfying!

Jess Giambroni created these illustrated cups during afternoon meetings for German design studio Deutsch Design Work. Their quirky style has put them in high demand amongst friends and contacts, and Jess is looking to produce these for a coffee chain. This packaging design proves that doodling can lead to some amazing ideas.

02. Smirnoff Caipiroska peelable bottle

Packaging design: make it interactive and customers will love you

Many alcohol companies incorporate the idea fruit into their packaging design; however few do it as effectively as Smirnoff with this peelable bottle by J Walter Thompson. The packaging tells the consumer exactly what flavour it is and imparts the idea that the packaging was made with natural materials rather than being mass produced.

03.  H&M gift package

Packaging design: subtle touches add style

This concept by Linn Gustafson is similar to many gift packages being created currently but it bucks the trend by using bolder colours and the small touch of the H&M tag to make it more eye catching and realistic.

04. Origami Tea bags

Packaging design: two Japanese traditions combined

Designed by Nathalia Ponomareva, this packaging design adds a touch of beauty to making tea as well as combining two Japanese traditions: tea and origami. Although currently only a concept, we could easily see this design being mass produced as it requires very little extra money to make.

05. Point G Macaroons

Packaging design: beautiful, purposeful and provocative

Created by French design agency Chez Valois, this packaging was always going to provoke reaction with a name like Point G (‘the G spot’ in French). But this simple and clear illustration on top of a solid box which unfolds easily makes it both beautiful and purposeful. This packaging may not be innovative but its form does follow its function which is the first rule of good design.

6. Movie-inspired drinks

Packaging design: pun-tastic designs for a fictional drinks company

Created by Woody Harrington for fictional drinks company Pulp Friction this fantastic series of movie-inspired carbonated drinks – with titles  such as ‘Dial M for Mango’ and ‘Silence of the Limes’ – is sure to win over the most hardened movie critic. But the fun and games don’t end there, with nifty movie trivia to add to the enjoyment.

7. Flower Garden

Packaging design: these bags help the environment

Many garden centres give you a plastic bag, which makes little sense as gardening is meant to help not harm the environment. It also usually ends with half the plant’s soil having fallen out. This clever packaging by Milena Włodarczyk is made from a single strip of cardboard allows the viewer to check regularly on their new plant and is biodegradable, making the whole purchase carbon-neutral.

8. Milk

Have you ever seen a milk carton this cool? Bot only did design agency Visual Advice create a working model, it also managed to make it the same dimensions as a normal two-litre carton. In a wider context this could also help children learn English if it were to be rolled out across other cartons!

9. Juice Skins

Packaging design: bringing the fruit into the heart of the packaging

This innovative fruit packaging by Naoto Fukasawa (currently only available in Japan) is the next step in creating that tangible link between fruit and fruit juice. So far it’s been developed into three flavours – Kiwi, Strawberry and Banana.

10. Scanwood: When wood is good

Packaging design: clever conveying sustainability

Being Denmark’s leading manufacturer of wooden cutlery, Scanwood is constantly looking for new ways to sell its products. Scanwood’s process of creating products from sustainable natural materials is explored visually, with the grass and roots bringing it all to life and visually synopsizing the whole story the company wishes to put across.

11. WFP Paints

Packaging design: speaking loudly to the consumer

This design by Reynolds and Reyner for a small Finnish company takes the ‘does what it says on the tin’ concept to its logical conclusion. This effect is useful for the consumer because ultimately it makes it easier to know what material to use the paint for and with the bright and memorable colours it is sure to sell by the tin.

12. Sports Line

Packaging design: colour coding makes things simple

Santi Shiue has created a colour coding system to help the consumer understand what to buy depending on their skill level in the activity. Again the use of environmentally friendly materials is another key selling point in its packaging, and the shape makes it stand out with its vibrant hues and form.

13. NYC Spaghetti

Packaging design: a towering achievement

This award winning design from student Alex Creamer takes the simple idea of line creating form in a whole new direction. The bottom of the container contains a replication of the design stemming from the top, which in turn causes the spaghetti lines to be pushed into the shape seen above.

14.  Headphone packaging

Packaging design: small changes make a big difference

These headphones created by Corrine Pant show how a small modification to packaging design can make a big difference. By using the form of a quaver to alter the packaging the consumer instantly becomes engaged. The choice of black and white aids this, as it makes it bold and therefore more likely to sell.

15.  Görtz 17: Shoelace Box

Packaging design: reinventing the shopping bag

100% biodegradable and the first recyclable shoe bag, this bag from design agency thjink screams ideas. This Görtz bag changes the idea of the shopping bag by getting rid of the awkward plastic handle, introducing tough and stylish shoelaces and replicating the colours of Görtz 17 converse shoes. Best of all, you get a pair of free laces. Neat!

16. Scratch

Packaging Design
Packaging design: Scratch is the new revolution in ready meals

Scratch foods was set up by Phil Pinnell, with an idea of reinventing the ready meal without the stigma. Pairing up with his mate Alex and the Princes Trust and the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, Scratch Meals launched at farmers’ markets. This stunning packaging design was crafted by Stephen Brennan.

17. Two Hoots

Packaging Design
Packaging design: This design aims at a young audience

Perth based designer Maegen Brown created this packaging design for wine label Two Hoots. Her brief was ‘a new wine collection targeting a young, fun and carefree audience (20-35)’. Each owl character has been designed to match the characteristics of the wine, with their textures and colours lifted from a variety of different trees.

18. Topography of America State Magnets

Packaging Design
Packaging Design: This design was inspired by a jigsaw

This stunning example of packaging design was created through a collaboration between Mette Hornung of Bureau of Betterment and Greg Jones Fifty-Four Forty. The packaging design was inspired by the jigsaw used to assemble each state, with a piece of charcoal coloured chipboard sandwiched between layers of thick cardboard.

To highlight each state’s unique attributes, a small pamphlet with state facts was created with images and notable geographic landmarks.

19. Fox & Rabbit

Packaging Design
Packaging Design: We love Ting Sia’s bold use of colour

Graduate Ting Sia is responsible for this cute and quirky example of packaging design. Marketed for young professional couples and their sophisticated get-togethers, the inspiration behind the brand focuses on the relationship between the mischievous and cunning fox and the innocent and lively rabbit. We love the bold colour choice!

20. Pasta La Vista

Packaging Design
Packaging Design: Brighten up your cooking chores with these pasta packets

Created by Andrew Gorkovenko, this packaging design was created for a batch of homemade pastas represented by various illustrators. We love the illustrated chefs as well as the clever opening, showcasing the pasta as hair. Definitely a fun way to brighten up any cooking day.

21. Poilu paintbrushes

Packaging Design
Packaging Design: Some paintbrushes have been dyed for the beard!

This excellent example of packaging design comes from Poilu and offers the function of assembling two paintbrushes together with only one cardboard piece which is printed on both sides.

The natural hairs of some paintbrush have been dyed to give the illusion of the moustache and beard combos. Not only do we love that but check out the awesome font at the top of the handle!

22. Minus The Bear: Steel and Blood

Packaging Design
Packaging Design: This packaging was machine cut then handscored, folded, and assembled

ACDSleeve are known on the indie music circuit as one of the best packaging design agencies out there. From CDs to vinyl, these guys cater to each band with impeccable design feats that’ll have you buying the record even if you don’t like the band.

This first cut cover 7in vinyl sleeve for Minus The Bear was made using thicker card than the cut cover CD Slipcase, with the cut cover sleeve designed around a printed inner sleeve from DMS. It was machine cut then handscored, folded, and assembled.

23. Flash Fiction Matchbooks

Packaging Design
Packaging Design: Each matchbook represents a certain short story

This series of matches packaging design was crafted by graphic designer Woody Harrington. For this project, he was asked to design a publishing piece for a series of flash fiction stories. Woody selected nine stories from Lou Beach’s ‘420 Characters’ series, and turned them into tiny matchbooks. Each matchbook’s title, copywriting, colour palette, and illustrations refer to specific details in each particular story.

24. TeaPee

Packaging Design
Packaging Design: Tear away the pattern to reveal your teabag

Canadian design student, Sophie Pépin, drew inspiration from the roots of the Native American nomadic lifestyle for this tea packaging design she calls North American Teapee. The Native American patterns that are placed around the packaging are cleverly torn away to reveal the teabags themselves.

25. Parmesan Pencils

Packaging Design
Packaging Design: Kolle Rebbe won themselves a silver Epica award with this design

Take the Parmesan Pencil, sharpen it using the enclosed sharpener, and you have delicious, fresh Parmesan cheese on your meal. Designed by German based agency Kolle Rebbe, the company pride themselves on supporting small manufacturers of delicacies with lovely packaging design ideas. It won the silver Epica award last year too!

26. Portfolio package

Packaging Design
Packaging Design: Make your portfolio stand out from the crowd

Wallpaper Mag* receives hundreds of portfolios every week; filling up the teams inbox’s and often going unread. So, Greg Straight and THINK Packaging came up with this incredible packaging design with a aim to catch their receiver’s attention. We think it works wonders – who wouldn’t want to open this?!

27. Mighty Nuts

Packaging Design
Packaging Design: Maija focused on user experience and function

This incredible pistachio packaging design was created by student Maija Rozenfelde, who is still completing her degree in packaging design at Pratt Institute. We think she’s certainly heading in the right direction with this offering!

She says of the design: “A crucial part of the thought process was to focus on user experience and second function of the package. The main intention was to create graphics that depict the crunchiness of pistachios, that’s where the hand-made type treatment comes in.”

28. Safari Friends Collection

Packaging Design
Packaging Design: If only our food looked this good!

When Fischer Price wanted to released a series of baby food containers, they spared no talent with this gorgeous packaging design. Crafted by American designer Dave Pickett, the simple graphics and materials showcase the products sustainability. We also love the simple colour tones and cute selection of animal types.

29. Nuts.com

Packaging Design
Packaging Design: Nuts.com’s redesign makes their products look better than ever

Nuts.com is exactly what it sounds like: an online retailer of every kind of nut, from peanuts, pistachios, pecans and pine nuts, to cashews, almonds and filberts, in salted, unsalted and organic varieties. The company finally secured the nuts.com URL and asked Pentagram’s Michael Bierut to create a new identity and packaging design that would help establish Nuts.com as a distinctive brand.

30. Fruita Blanch

Packaging Design
Packaging Design: Atipus showcases Fruita Blanch’s traditional ethos with this design

We love it when packaging design goes back to its roots; sometimes less is more and that’s definitely the case with Spain’s Fruita Blanch. Design agency Atipus developed a versatile set of multi-sized labels to fit every jar, with each label designed to reveal as much of the jar product as well as to emphasise its artisanal nature.

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