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Drinks packaging trends to look out for in 2021

More fine-art designs, bold block colours and story-telling packaging are among the 2021 drinks packaging trends predicted by Australian agency 99design. 

The design agency's team have put their heads together to analyse the directions that drinks design and packaging took in 2020 and have thrown forward their thoughts for 2021.

Here are the 10 trends 99design expects to see in the market:

  1. Tiny illustrated patterns that reveal what's inside 
    Patterns and illustrations can be more than just embellishment; they can reveal what a product is all about. In 2021, expect to see a lot of intricate patterns and tiny illustrations on packaging. These are often simplified or abstract, giving you a more artistic rendering of what's inside the package.
  2. Authentically vintage unboxing experience
    Vintage-inspired packaging has been a trend for a while now, but what's different about this predicted trend is the fact that the whole unboxing experience looks authentic. In 2021, you're going to see packging with an authentically old-school look and feel that is taking things further by creating a complete immersive experience, including vintage-inspired textures, bottle shapes, materials, outer packaging and imagery.
  3. Hyper-simplistic geometry
    Much like the pattern trend, this trend for simplistic yet bold geometric concepts gives consumers a sneak peek at what a product stands for. But unlike patterns and illustrations that depict what's inside the box, these designs are abstract to the extreme. It may seem simple at first, but it's an impactful way for brands to make a lasting impression.
  4. Packaging dressed in fine art
    In 2021, expect to see lots of packaging designs where the packaging itself is a piece of art. This trend is mostly gaining momentum with high-end products, but you could see it on mid-range products too. Designers are drawing inspiration from paintings and paint textures, either playfully integrating them into their designs or making them the focal point.
  5. Technical and anatomical ink drawings
    Alongside bold geometry and tactile textures, you're also going to see a lot of products packed up in designs that feel like they were pulled right out of an anatomical illustration or engineering blueprint. Maybe it's a response to the years that minimalism reigned supreme in packaging designs.
  6. Organically shaped colour blocking
    What separates 2021's organic colour blocking from previous colour blocking trends are the textures, the unique colour combinations and how much the blocks vary in shape and weight. These aren't clear, straight-edged boxes of colour making clean lines and grids; they're uneven, unbalanced, freckled and dappled collages. 
  7. Product names front and centre
    Instead of making an illustration or logo the packaging's focal point, some designers are instead choosing to make the product's name the star of their designs. These are designs that get creative with lettering, to allow the name to take centre stage, and they rely on strong typography that can carry the brand's whole aesthetic.
  8. Picture-perfect symmetry
    It's not uncommon for a year's top trends to contradict each other. While some packaging designers play with organically imperfect shapes in their designs, others are swinging in the opposite direction and creating pieces with perfect symmetry.
  9. Story-driven packaging featuring quirky characters
    Storytelling is a key part of any effective branding, and in 2021 you're going to see lots of brands extending their storytelling to their packaging. Instead of having to check the brand's website to read their story, or inferring it through the ads they run, you'll have the main character delivered to your door, telling you a story from your buy's packaging. 
  10. Solid all-over colour
    Right alongside bold packaging that reads like a comic book, you'll see products packaged in single colours. Although it's working with a far more limited colour palette, this packaging trend has no less character. Expect to see designs that, for the most part, use bright, bold (and possibly unconventional) colours.

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28 December 2020 -