7 Packaging Design Trends You Should Know for 2014

7 Packaging Design Trends You Should Know for 2014

No matter how much people rely on social media and emails to communicate, the one thing that they’ll never stop needing is packaging. Packaging is just as important as the product itself, and it goes a long way toward convincing customers that they want what’s inside.

Most people don’t think about the packaging on the products they purchase or the boxes that those products are mailed in. But it has a tremendous impact, and just like any industry, the packaging industry is subject to trends and developments. Here are some of the exciting new developments to watch for in 2014.

Environmentally Friendly

The green movement is continuing to gather strength, and environmentally friendly packages are a great way to make inroads with concerned customers. As a result, many businesses are looking toward investing in packages that are environmentally friendly either because they are biodegradable or made from recycled products. It makes for a great selling point and reduces consumer guilt about buying products in packages.

environmentally friendly packaging

Image Credit: http://www.trendhunter.com/slideshow/ecofriendly-branding#8

Multi Use

Sometimes people buy products just as much for the bonuses as they do for the actual product. Packages that serve multiple uses are going to be even more popular in 2014. Even if the packaging itself isn’t environmentally friendly, a product that has a package with multiple uses will still be seen as superior to one that only contains the product. The packaging design needs to make the multiple uses clear, though, or else this trend won’t succeed.

Functional Forms

In line with the environmentally friendly and multi-use trend is the functional form. Functionality goes beyond multiple uses, though. It’s about packages that help solve problems for the seller as well as the consumer. Packages that are easier to stack,  that can be interlocked, or that provide greater storage capacity are likely to increase in popularity as well. This, in turn, makes it easier for customers to stock up on the products. They can make the most of their own limited space while still getting as much as they need or want.

functional packaging

Image Credit: http://e-fairbank1013-dc3.blogspot.com/2012/11/dieline-functional-food-packaging.html

Mascot Incorporation

When it comes to cartoon characters, creative packaging can turn a boring product package into an exciting must-have option. McDonald’s realized this long ago with their Happy Meals designed to look like little houses, complete with cutout doors for the Cabbage Patch dolls. But for quite some time, those creative packaging options relied primarily on simple box shaped designs.

With breakthroughs in the printing industry including 3D printing, such limitations won’t be as big of an issue in 2014. This means that businesses that want to explore more creative options for mascot incorporation will be able to do it.

Product Variation

According to Packaging Trends: Key Macro Trends Affecting Packaging Design, one of the bigger changes that is likely to develop is technology that causes the product to change if it spoils or passes its expiration date. This may not be critical for many non-perishable product developers, but food, drink, and other perishable products will benefit significantly from this trend. It’s not clear yet how these packages will work, but they’re generating a lot of excitement, particularly since they will increase consumer awareness and reduce the risk of selling contaminated or expired products.

product variation

Image Credit: http://www.looks.gd/design/21-examples-creative-packaging-design

The Matte Finish

From Glamour magazine to the pamphlet “Projected Business Trends in Indiana for 2014,” the matte finish looks to be one of the more common design elements in packaging. It isn’t as sleek or as stylish as a polished finish, but it isn’t tacky either. Visually, it stands out. Bright colors can be used, but they aren’t as overpowering because the matte subdues them.

matte packaging design

Image Credit: http://minimalio.tumblr.com/page/7

Minimalist Design

The minimalist design movement has made some of the biggest waves in the web design community, particularly on mobile websites and iOS platforms. Simple black-and-white photography and flatted UIs have created a whole new palette. For businesses with products to sell from their websites, matching the packaging design with the web design can be a great step. An added benefit is that the minimalist design tends to be less expensive to print, which also makes it popular.

minimalist packaging

Image Credit: http://www.thedieline.com/blog/2011/3/2/sullivan-street-bakery.html

Packaging isn’t going to go away any time soon, but it is going to keep developing. 2014 looks to be an exciting time with new trends. Packages that are environmentally friendly while also having multiple uses will likely develop. The functional form that benefits the seller as much as the consumer will also probably make its showing and increase in popularity, particularly as it resolves common problems for shop owners. Of course, packaging trends for 2014 will also extend to safety measures along with product variation changes to indicate expiration or tampering. And design changes will likely move toward the matte finish as well as the minimalist design. Look for packaging to be more exciting than ever.

Amy is Vice President of Finn Industries Inc., a folding carton and set-up box manufacturer located in Southern California. Her primary focus is on sales development, creating marketing strategies and customer service management. Prior to working at Finn, she spent eight years in the recruiting industry and running for-profit educational centers where she cultivated her communication, business development and leadership skills. She believes a positive customer experience is crucial to the success of the company. In her free time, Amy enjoys yoga, cooking and gardening.  She holds a bachelor’s degree from Drew University in Behavioral Science.

Featured Image Credit: Jeffery Rauli

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(18) responses

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Alex Morris

January 3, 2014

Great to see the environmental movement continuing its momentum. Still, the sheer volume of consumer created rubbish annually is deeply disturbing. We can only hope those too obstinate to catch on actually start recycling stuff sometime in 2014. The sooner the better!

One thing you missed (although it’s not traditional design) is downloadable content: films, TV shows, video games. You can buy and download them online now, which will cut back a vast amount of wasted plastic eventually. So, fancy designs online could be the way forward.


Adam Carman

January 6, 2014

Excellent pieces of design. I’d love to actually use one to see how practical they are though.
Inspirational for a fellow designer though, good post, keep it up!



January 7, 2014

Pretty sure environmentalism is more than a design trend.


    Wes McDowell

    January 7, 2014

    Indeed it is. But the fact that more packaging is increasingly being designed with the environment in mind would mean it is trending toward that direction.


MI Dynamics

January 12, 2014

The designs are a definate WOW! Love the minimalism.


Caitlin @ Front Porch Art

January 17, 2014

Would love to hear a podcast all about packaging soon :)



January 19, 2014

Love, love, love the matte finish. It is so simple, yet so effective! Thanks for a great article.


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Damon @PhotoTape

January 25, 2014

Great article about product packaging!! Matte finish seems to be a big trend.


Volume Designs

January 30, 2014

Really great post with nice photos! The matte finish is particularly sexy IMO.

Thanks for sharing,



February 3, 2014

The matte and simplistic designs are finally catching on. There was a time when glossy and cluttered where in fashion big time, but now, when you go to stores and see a matte packaging among a bunch of glossy stuff, it really grabs your eye



    February 4, 2014

    @ Wes Mcdowell… It is very Important for packaging industries to take up the go green initiative as well.

    @shyama: Nowadays People do prefer simple things than filling up the packaage with every possible detail on earth


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