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Top 3 Packaging Design Trends for 2018


One-third of consumer purchase decisions are based on packaging. In fact, brands have between three to seven seconds to catch a consumer’s attention before their eye shifts to the next product on the shelf. As consumers shift to online shopping, brands cannot afford to only rely on a product’s primary packaging to convey the story. Everything from the package it arrives in and how it arrives, to the product packaging itself, shapes your brand’s story for your consumers.

Noteworthy 2018 Packaging Design Trends

  1. Simplicity and Minimalism

  2. Bold Colours and Textures

  3. Sustainable Packaging

open blue subscription box with white text burst on blue background

1. Simplicity and Minimalism

As consumers push for more transparency from brands, minimal packaging design gains popularity. The simple and minimalistic design trend has been around for many years but is seeing rapid growth in 2018.

Less is more when it comes to primary and secondary packaging design. Minimal product packaging design is seen as authentic and trustworthy to consumers. Minimal packaging design focuses on what the consumer must know about a product without extra marketing gimmicks.

shrink wrapped egg cartons with brown eggs
bundles of four white candles wrapped in clear shrink wrap film on conveyor system
individually flow wrapped muffins on white background

How to Achieve Minimalism with Product Packaging

Minimal packaging design is not just about the artwork on the product’s primary packaging. The simplicity must also translate to the packaging material. A product could have a creatively designed minimalist label but if the packaging material is big and bulky, the simplicity is lost.

  • Shrink Film: Shrink Film is a perfect simplistic packaging material for bundling and individually packing products. Crystal clear shrink films conform to the product or bundle and let the product be the focus of the packaging design. It is important to have the right size shrink film or the package could look bulky. Check out this guide on how to find the right shrink film for your package.

  • Flow Wrap: Flow Wrap is another minimalist packaging material that lets the product be the focus of the overall packaging design. Flow wrapping creates a custom sized bag out of a roll of film to surround a product. Flow wrap film can be clear, printed or labelled with a label applicator attached to a flow wrapper.

stack of four packages wrapped with black stealthwrap shrink film
stack of two large shipping boxes on doorstep
hands packing bath bombs in sealed air korrvu packaging

How Online Retailers Can Achieve Minimalist Packaging

  • StealthWrap™: StealthWrap™ is a black shrink film that eliminates the need for an extra cardboard shipping box. StealthWrap™ is an easy way for online retailers to translate the minimal packaging trend into their secondary packaging design. StealthWrap shrink film works just like any other shrink film on a shrink wrapper and heat tunnel system.

  • Right Size Box: The right size shipping box is important in executing minimal package design. If a product has a creative simplistic primary package and arrives in an unnecessarily large box, the simplicity is lost. The wrong size box creates the need for excessive void fill material and misses the mark on a minimalist package design.

  • Korrvu®: Korrvu® Packaging secures products in place using a slip resistant film, protecting from shock and vibration. The Korrvu® Systems are completely customize-able, and can be printed with logos and illustrations.


2. Bold Colours and Textures

As consumer’s attention span shrinks, the use of bold colours and textures increases in popularity in primary and secondary package design. Bold colours can be used to increase shelf impact or brand recognition or provoke an emotional response from the consumer. Creative textures can extend your brand’s story without using words. Bold colour and texture design elements increase consumer interaction with your product, visually and by touch.

roll of colourful bopp flow wrap film for peppers on roll stand
cherry tomatoes packed in growpack top seal film with red and green colours
hands holding custom printed plastic bag with lettuce product in retail

How to Incorporate Colour and Texture in Product Packaging

  • Top Seal & Flow Wrap: Top seal and flow wrap films are completely customizable and can have up to 8 vibrant colours. Paper, matte and glossy textures can be used to boost consumer interaction and expand your brand’s story. Top seal films can perform on plastic, fibre and metal trays to further enhance the look and feel of a product package.

  • Custom Bags: Custom bags are completely customizable to your specific product. With top-of-the-line colour matching software, the colour options are endless. Matte, satin, frost, and scratch-resistant varnishes are available to increase consumer interaction.

stack of three boxes on door step with custom printed branded water activated tape
custom printed shipping box with blue link and crawford branding
heart shaped bubble wrap in open cardboard shipping box with product inside

How to Enhance E-Commerce Packaging with Colour and Texture

  • Custom Printed Tape: Custom printed plastic or water-activated packaging tape is an alternative to custom printed boxes. Custom printed tape can enhance your brand and improve the appearance of the package delivered to the consumer.

  • Custom Printed Boxes: Custom printed boxes are extremely popular in subscription box package design. Branded boxes are a good way to create a positive brand interaction with your consumer. It is important to remember that recognizable brands can suffer pilferage because of branded boxes unless they are packaged in StealthWrap™. Check out this guide on how to prevent e-commerce package theft.

  • Custom Bubble Wrap Patterns: Surprise your consumers with bubble wrap patterns related to your brand or story. Custom bubble wrap patterns are available in multiple colours and pattern configurations. Check out this guide on how to improve your unboxing experience with void fill.


3. Sustainable Packaging

Sustainable packaging is less of a trend and more of a necessity. According to 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study, 84 percent of consumers say they seek out responsible products whenever possible.[1] 67 percent of consumers from a 2018 study by IPSOS said they are influenced by the material a product is packaged in.[2]

red raspberries in paper cardboard packaging designed packs
plain brown paper pouch bag with resealable zipper on table near window inside coffee shop
washed cherry tomatoes in clear plastic tray

How to Design Sustainable Product Packaging

  • Recyclable Packaging Materials: Today’s eco-friendly consumers are actively searching for recyclable product packaging. A variety of Crawford’s packaging films and containers are designed to be 100% recyclable. Pulp fibre and paper packaging materials are a popular choice for sustainable packaging design. It is common for large brands to highlight recyclability and how to recycle the package directly into their marketing.
  • Reusable Packaging Materials: Reusable package design appeals to consumers on both an emotional and practical level. A variety of Crawford’s plastic trays are designed to ensure reuse by the consumer. 43 percent of survey respondents from FPA’s said packaging that is reusable, and recyclable is important to them.[3]
split images showing a women unboxing shoes in traditonal packaging versus stealthwrap
close up of inflated bubble wrap packaging
person opening package that is filled with paper void fill and bubble wrap

How to Design Sustainable E-Commerce Packaging

  • StealthWrap™: StealthWrap™ is not just great for designing minimalist packaging, it reduces packaging waste by up to 80 percent! The consumer will automatically recognize the sustainability and appreciate not having to dispose of an extra cardboard shipping box or void fill material.

  • Bubble Wrap IB: Bubble Wrap IB is inflated as needed with a NewAir I.B.® Express machine. Bubble Wrap IB is recyclable and creates less waste by eliminating excessive void fill in the package. Bubble Wrap IB can reduce the number of trucks required to supply a fulfillment centre by as much as 97 percent!

  • Kraft Paper: Paper void fill is recognized as the industry standard for sustainable e-commerce packaging. Kraft paper is made of recycled content, 100 percent recyclable and biodegradable.

Contact Us

Contact us today to discover how we can help you design on-trend primary and secondary packaging for your brand.

  1. “2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study.” Cone Communications | Cone | Cone PR | Cone Inc | PR Agency | Boston | NYC, 2015, www.conecomm.com/research-blog/2015-cone-communications-ebiquity-global-csr-study.
  2. Most Americans Say That the Design of a Product's Packaging Often Influences Their Purchase Decisions. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/Most-Americans-Say-That-the-Design-of-a-Products-Packaging-Often-Influences-Their-Purchase-Decisions
  3. “Brand Value.” Flexible Packaging Facts & Figures - Industry Information | Flexible Packaging Association, 2015, www.flexpack.org/programs/marketingcommunications/brand-value/.

Crawford Packaging is a full-service packaging company located in London, Brampton and Waterloo, Ontario. From packaging to packaging equipment, installation and upgrades, and in-person equipment training and repair, we're focused on your business success every step of the way.