Portinos Digital Agency
Jan 30 · 10 min read

Just like in the fashion world, packaging design and branding trends come and go. More and more often, packaging needs to show originality, differentiation, and functionality in order to persuade consumers.

Needs change and packaging must adapt to the changes perceived by society. Gisela Villaverde, Creative Director for the brand Tetra Pak at Portinos Agency, shows us 10 expected trends for this year:


For some years now, brands have steered away from just selling their products; rather, they’ve also become a lifestyle for consumers.

And this year, they’re taking it to the next level.

In the era of hyperconnectivity, brands want to connect with their audience; therefore, they look for a different, much more daring and fun way of engaging with it which gives consumers a sense of belonging and a chance for self-expression.

Such is the case of McDonald’s, which partnered with Uber Eats to give away some of their own branded merch, like fry socks and burger clothing, or the case of Adidas, which teamed with ice tea maker Arizona in order to produce 99-cent sneakers that are decorated like a can of green tea.

This is the type of trend that brands want to create: to take an iconic design element and portray it in clothing, merch, or experiences of a different brand.

This connection allows them to express themselves from a different place and thus gain a different type of audience.


Alcoholic drinks have a long history among us, dating back to about 10,000 years ago. They’ve always been a part of societal life. But nowadays, and according to the World Health Organization, the rate of alcohol drinkers has shrunk by about 5% among millennials. This has to do with the already existing trend of the healthy lifestyle.

Some breweries, like Athletic Brewing, have developed an entirely new process of making non-alcoholic beer. However, it’s zero-booze spirits that are drawing attention, like Caleño, a non-alcoholic version of gin with exotic spices from Colombia.

It should be noted that none of these drinks would look out of place in the alcoholic beverages aisle or behind the counter at a bar, since they preserve the look, the feel, and the code of real booze. Some of them even try to mimic the packaging design of renowned brands, like the case of Stryyk, a non-alcoholic vodka that resembles Absolut.

In short, non-alcoholic drinks try to attract people with a culture of self-care or those who, for different reasons, don’t want to or can’t drink. Therefore, it seems that the non-alcoholic trend is here to stay.


Color is the key element in design, mainly in packaging, since it conveys sensations, style, and/or some type of status, among other things.

When taking a product to market, it’s essential to know how we relate to or perceive color. This perception of color depends on culture and personal experiences, so results may vary in terms of the feelings that a color might evoke.

Our current world is moving towards minimalism and functionality. Today, single-color packaging is not only a sight for sore eyes in a shelf full of other screaming products, but also a distinctive attention catcher.

Some brands, like Jrink, use the product’s color for differentiation. The monochromatic trend goes hand in hand with sustainable design owing to the minimalistic use of just one or two inks; Blond’s products are a clear example of this.

Color can even be functional, like in Bunnu coffee, the proactive project that we developed at Portinos Digital Agency. Different designs of varying proportions of black and white were used to represent the latte, the lágrima, and the cortado.

As Mies Van de Rohe, the last director of the Bauhaus, famously stated, “less is more”.


Patterns have never gone out of fashion; they’ve been around since William Morris or even earlier. But today, there is a strong trend that will continue throughout 2020.

This is because patterns are an eye-catching resource that make packaging stand out; besides, they are very flexible and can be applied in multiple shapes and sizes.

Take the work of Cocoa Jones, for example. They designed various patterns for their different types of chocolate but applied them with the same structure. The result is a highly flexible system that makes it possible to add an infinite number of products and/or varieties.

Another example is that of the Novo Brazil brand. They use a single pattern and apply it in different ways, changing the color and some components. One pattern, endless possibilities.


Since 2012, the consumption of vegan products has increased considerably. For example, in the United States, sales of vegan meat climbed 42% from March 2016 to the present day.

This significant increase was caused by the growing number of young people interested in their own well-being, having a healthy lifestyle, and respecting the environment. Due to climate change and the increase in the global population, we would all be better off if we could decrease our consumption of animal products.

For example, the brand Impossible created a 100% vegan burger that looks like beef. The same goes for cow milk. Some years ago, plant milk was an alternative for lactose-intolerant people. However, nowadays, the preference for vegan milks is being driven by a broader consumer base that, as we said before, focuses on health and protecting the environment.

As for their look and feel, they aim for something less structured and avoid traditional designs with milk splashes, as is the case of Oatly! or Ripple. In general, be it meat or milk, consumers are looking healthier alternatives, and if they are planet-friendly, that’s even better.


For years, brands have been created according to the masculine or feminine gender. However, this is changing today, because there are people outside those two categories. 12% of millennials identify as transgender or gender non-conforming, meaning that an individual is neither masculine nor feminine.

Some brands are already showing their awareness. For example, the sanitary napkin brand Always removed the feminine Venus symbol from their products after pressure from trans activists fighting for inclusion.

United also took a stand, becoming the first airline to offer non-binary booking options for their flights.

At the same time, brands in the beauty industry are also opting for neutral designs, as is the case of The Ordinary and Fellow.

Having said this, gender is no more than a social construct.


In the era of social networks, people interact with a single brand through multiple platforms. Therefore, the logo must adapt to that specific outlet, which may include the street, an Instagram account, and packaging, among thousands of possibilities, in order to communicate properly.

A fantastic example is Dunkin’ Donuts: they use different abbreviations for their name depending on the communication medium. Another example is the logo of the city of Melbourne. This prismatic monogram has sharp edges that add striking three-dimensional effects to the design. Besides, it shows a great combination of style and a color palette that honors the modern structures built in Melbourne in recent years, such as the Rectangular Stadium of the Olympic Park, Federation Square, Southern Cross station, etc.

Some brands have even gotten rid of their names, like Mastercard, which only kept the two circles in its logo.

Gone is the law establishing that logos can never change. If a brand doesn’t adapt, it’s not only destined to boredom, but also to oblivion.


Eco-friendliness has been a part of the packaging world for some time now, and today that is mainly due to the single-use plastic crisis. However, to be honest, most plastic won’t be recycled. The current system is overloaded, and packages will never reach recycling plants. This has to do with the fact that there is still no real awareness of the importance of the issue.

Many brands have adopted different methods for decreasing the carbon footprint. For example, Häagen-Dazs ships its ice cream in a refillable container that, once used, can be returned, cleaned, and reused.

Tetra Pak, the largest cardboard packaging company in the world, with its famous slogan “Protects What’s Good”, is not only committed to the protection of products, but also to the environment, because the package is 100% recyclable.

In some cases, the product itself can become the package, like the wonderful Soapack soap products, which use natural pigments found in minerals, plants, and flowers, and are water-proofed with beeswax.

Although plastic won’t disappear in the immediate future, there is a strong trend towards finding new alternatives.


It’s no longer news that illustrations are protagonists in the packaging design world; over the years, numerous projects have applied illustrations in packaging design. What is news, however, is the trend of illustrations that are customized with styles that you won’t find in an image bank.

These may go from a new technique, creativity in conceptualization, adaptation of illustrations to the product’s morphology, among thousands of possibilities.

Let’s look at the fantastic case of Beak Pick!, a brand that sells marmalade, tea, and dried fruit targeted at children. In order to stir kids’ imagination, they created illustrations that combine the fruit in the product with a bird, resulting in an incredibly creative piece.

Another wonderful example is Royal Salute Whisky, which was created to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Here the brand established a new illustration style inspired by British history.

And last but not least, Manta coffee from Peru. The illustration was created with the idea that blankets (mantas in Spanish) are handcrafted, just like coffee. Unlike other techniques, illustrations allow for boundless creation and endless possibilities.


Many brands often show off their origins with pride, because they’ve not only realized that they’re a good way of showing their heritage, but also because they guarantee consumption of both the product and the brand.

But why is this a real trend? Because it also implies a return to more traditional materials that are product and environment friendly. Many brands have bid farewell to plastic and opted for glass, reusable packaging, and handcrafted or natural materials.

For example, SodaStream, known for its reusable sparkling water packaging, has resorted to 90s nostalgia by launching a limited edition called “Tori”, who played Donna Martin in the successful “Beverly Hills 90210” TV series. The bottle and the machine scream out retro with their simple geometric shapes, vibrant colors, and a clear shell exposing the components, a very popular 90s aesthetic.

Wonder Pill is a premium natural medicine made from botanical extracts. The pill has great health benefits because it was designed by observing the phytochemicals commonly found in nature. That’s why both its morphology and design were inspired by 19th century medicine bottles.

And, lastly, let’s look at the work of the Pedro Ximenez wine brand, inspired by the psychedelic signs of the 60s. For many years, this wine was considered to be made from “retro” grapes, due to its prominence during the late 60s and early 70s. For the nostalgics, this packaging shows colors that are familiar to everyone, a suitable graphic design, a distinguishable font, and a style that evokes fond memories.

The common denominators of these 10 trends are sustainability and self-care, and that’s no coincidence. The world is becoming aware of the importance of respecting the available resources, although there’s still a long way to go.

Source: The Dieline — https://thedieline.com/blog?

Article by Gisela Villaverde, Creative Director for the brand Tetra Pak at Portinos Agency

*The brands and photographs appearing in this article are owned by third parties and are shown solely for reference purposes. All rights reserved to their respective authors.

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