Packaging Design Winners and Losers Leap Out in February 2020

What makes a good or bad packaging design? Today’s winners might reflect the retro-futurism trend or tap into the current interest in reusable packaging. The losers might ignore the ever-important easy-open function or forget product-safety features.

Last month, Packaging Digest’s global audience was most interested in articles about packaging design and new design trends. You, too, can learn from these victors and victims.

Based on page views, here are the top five best-read articles on in February 2020:



5. Valentine’s Day Packaging We Love

February may be the shortest month of the year — even in a Leap Year like 2020 — but it’s one of the longest when you’re waiting for winter to end. As we got closer to one of the month’s happier holidays, we decided to celebrate and share the love with a gallery of 16 packages designed to pull at the heart strings — even for Darth Vader fans (wha?!).

Which one is your favorite??? Are hearts an overdone visual or an absolute necessity?



4. 5 Sustainable Packaging Trends to Look Out for in 2020

When it comes to packaging and sustainability, Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) senior manager Tristanne Davis predicts 2020 will be a year of action and reaction, building on the fast-growing trends seen in the last two years, as subject matter expert Nina Goodrich laid out in her recent article.

Here are five sustainable packaging actions/reactions to keep an eye on moving forward:

1. More companies announce sustainable packaging goals and create action plans.

2. Companies innovate to boost end markets for recycled plastics. 

3. Brands replace substrates to meet recovery goals. 

4. Companies start taking reusable packaging more seriously.

5. Material health becomes more important in packaging.

How many of these are on your sustainability checklist for the year?



3. 6 Food and Beverage Packaging Trends that will Dominate 2020

Another “predictions” article, posted in mid-January, is doing quite well with page views this year. It was the second best-read article from January 2020; and still appears in the top five articles from February 2020.

Here are six packaging design strategies author and expert Pamela Webber thinks brands need to know:

Metamorphoses — This is where one design element goes through a transformation into another, creating an optical illusion that adds visual interest and draws consumers in to view the more intricate details of the packaging.

Maximalism and rich, heavily detailed packaging — More consumers are seeking a sense of opulence, luxury, and extravagance in their products. That’s why maximalism in packaging design is poised to be all the rage in the upcoming year.

Retro-futurism — The combination of design elements evoking nostalgia (retro) and positive anticipation (futurism) can actually work very well together. Packaging designers will create packaging that pairs both futuristic and retro design elements to create remarkable designs that will appeal to a variety of consumers.

Ecologically-aware packaging — Marketers are increasingly driven to seek out more ecological, plastic-free packaging alternatives to current packaging materials.

Transparent packaging — Packaging that shows off a product’s color is already popular within the beauty and skincare sector, and in 2020, Webber expects to see a surge of this trend in food and beverage packaging as well.

Neatly structured layouts — Within the broader package design, selected typography makes for easy readability and a sense of structure that appeals to consumers and allows designers to take a more minimalistic approach to the rest of the design.



2. Most Food Cans No Longer Use BPA in Their Linings

This two-year old article continues to generate high page views. Last month, it held the number three spot in our Top 5 list of best-read articles in January 2020.

This Q&A with Can Manufacturer’s Institute president Robert Budway reveals that at least 90% of today’s food cans have replaced linings that previously contained the controversial chemical bisphenol-A (BPA).

Packaging material safety will continue to matter to companies because health-conscious consumers care — deeply. You may recall that material health was one of the top trends in “5 Sustainable Packaging Trends to Look Out for in 2020.”



1. A Dozen Packaging Designs that Missed the Mark

It’s human nature to be fascinated by failures…as long as they aren’t yours. Several packages that we’ve written about have received negative comments from our global audience. The idea in sharing them is so others will learn from these “mistakes.”

Here are 12 brands that might want to take these criticisms seriously since they come from other packaging professionals:

Lipton tea bag box
Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise squeeze bottle
Tropicana multi-serve PET bottle
SeaPak shrimp bag
Conagra’s Healthy Choice Café Steamers
Quaker Overnight Oats
Orbit gum package structure
Hill’s Science Diet
Benadryl topical gel bottle
Walmart compliance pack
Coty/Clairol Nice’n Easy redesign
Old Spice PET bottles

If you would like to defend these or other packages you see on our website, speak up! Packaging designers work hard and could use a pat on the back now and then.

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