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When was the last time your company revamped its product packaging? If your company is like most, the answer may be “years” or even “decades.”

Or, maybe your business is just getting started. If so, then it’s time to make some critical decisions with regard to how your new product will be packaged.

Like many other things, packaging design goes through various trends. With all of the history-making events of the last year, packaging considerations have become even more crucial. People are shopping online more than ever before. When they receive a delivery of your product, you want them to have an immediately happy, positive response.

One of the best ways to ensure this is by keeping tabs on the latest trends and innovations in the packaging industry.

Keep reading to learn more about what’s on the horizon with packaging design trends.

Sustainable, Environmentally Friendly Packaging

Sustainable packaging is seeing a huge spike in growth. It’s a favorite with the public, and many companies just prefer to make packaging choices that are more eco-conscious.

Are you concerned that environmentally-friendly packaging is going to cost your company more? It might, but you can achieve balance by knowing that consumers frequently are willing to pay more for products that come in “green” packaging.

Many changes are being made toward more sustainable packaging choices. Communities are banning the use of plastic bags at grocery stores, and plastic straws are beginning to be replaced with ones made from paper. Moreover, a definite movement away from other single-use plastic items is gaining traction.

However, the pandemic stalled these efforts a bit. Grocery stores posited that single-use plastic bags just might be healthier when it came to stopping the spread of the Coronavirus.

Now that there is greater understanding about single-use plastic bags not really protecting people from getting sick, stores and consumers are getting back on the sustainability bandwagon.

You definitely don’t want your brand to miss out on this positive wave, so give some thought to using new types of packaging materials like biodegradable shrink films or packages that are made from recycled materials.

Storytelling Packaging

An increasing number of companies are relying on quirky characters and memorable stories to drive people to make a purchase. This trend is likely to be huge in 2021, and it extends well beyond the use of static mascots.

Instead, these new characters will have more substantive stories and backgrounds. Think of this packaging as depicting a page or panel from a comic book or graphic novel.

Having the story right there on your packaging means that the consumer doesn’t have to visit your website to learn the story of your company. Instead, they are immediately engaged thanks to a bright and vivid story that can be told on a box, film or can.

Storytelling can be an excellent way to make deep, personal connections with customers. Those connections matter because they can encourage your customers to buy once, and then keep buying in the future.

Packaging with Tech Integrations

Technology and electronics seems to have invaded every area of modern life. You don’t need a physical book to read anymore once you have an e-reader that holds thousands of volumes.

In other words, tech integration is something that people expect in pretty nearly every facet of their life. Why not make tech a part of your packaging?

Sometimes also called gamified or interactive packaging, this packaging actively invites digital or physical interactions between consumers and the companies from which they make purchases.

Tech integrations in packaging can be as simple as the inclusion of a QR code to record condition and location information or to track shipments. However, it also may involve capabilities for augmented reality and smartphone scanning so that customers are treated to special video content.

These innovations in packaging may be especially critical for companies that are producing cutting-edge products. Consumers may find a website address with product information or the URL for product registration right on the packaging, taking the guesswork out of the process.

Structure and Balance

When so much of life and the world is chaotic and uncontrolled, consumers are really appreciating product packaging that emphasizes harmony and balance.

Symmetry is immensely pleasing to the eyes and the brain, appealing to the natural sense of order that many consumers prize. People who want to feel grounded and normal are inevitably drawn to product packaging that demonstrates plenty of structure and balance.

Such designs frequently are accompanied by clear, well-ordered text that is easy to read.

Packaging for E-commerce

People are doing more online shopping than ever before. This means that it is wise for companies to focus on upgrading their packaging for e-commerce and shipping.

If you are selling any kind of retail products, then it is essential to your business’ survival that you have a fully functional online storefront. With so many people being barred from going to brick-and-mortar businesses or simply being wary of doing so, it is absolutely crucial that you have an online presence.

Whether that means starting your own online store or listing your products on Amazon, Etsy or elsewhere, you need to be able to package your products so that they are ready to be shipped.

This is a major trend across all retailers, so 2021 is going to bring a strong emphasis on packaging for e-commerce.

Because there are fewer opportunities for consumers to purchase products in person, they are heavily relying on the quality and suitability of your packaging to get their products to them undamaged.

The upshot is that it may be time to upgrade your packaging game.

Porous Materials for Packaging

While attractive packaging is important, function really needs to be top of mind. With the pandemic still ongoing, function continues to outweigh aesthetics in many situations.

According to the National Institutes of Health, SARS-CoV-2 is capable of surviving as long as 24 hours on cardboard surfaces. However, it can live for as long as two or three days on plastic. This means that many companies are moving toward porous packaging materials these days, and it may be something that you’ll want to consider as well.

Vintage Inspired Packaging

Do you find yourself yearning for the good old days? So do consumers.

That’s one of the reasons why packaging with a vintage look is gaining a lot of popularity this year. However, much of this packaging not only looks like it’s from another era but also feels like something vintage.

Accordingly, you’ll see labels and logos that look like they belong in the Victorian age. These vintage images and fonts will be backed up by retro details like glass bottles with metal caps or adorable metal tins.

For many companies, 2021 is the perfect year to take a look back and remember how things used to be. This just might be the way to capture a whole new audience for your products.

Packaging for Frozen Food

Few industries have seen such major innovations in packaging as this one. Some of these changes are a result of the pandemic, as the frozen food industry has seen its opportunities multiply thanks to restaurants being shut down for long periods.

The packaging industry is helping the frozen food industry with innovations such as:

  • Skin film
  • Flexible bags
  • Wax-coated cardboard
  • Shrink film
  • Aluminum
  • IQF polyethylene

Chefs and caterers are increasing their demands for reliable, flexible, functional packaging in these challenging times. Fortunately, the packaging industry is here to meet these demands.


While it may be tempting to simply choose a generic cardboard box for shipping your products, the evidence suggests that it is wiser to add some level of customization to your packaging. This customization might consist of:

  • Line drawings
  • Quotes, mottoes or inspirational sayings
  • A single, eye-catching color all over the package
  • Geometric designs
  • Color blocks

Any type of customization speaks volumes to your customers. Even simple line drawings can feel fun, familiar and reassuring in a time of great uncertainty. It likely is far less expensive to customize your packaging than you might think, making it a valuable investment of your company’s resources.

Work with Mid-Atlantic Packaging

If you want to make certain that your packaging is up to date, then give the experts at Mid-Atlantic Packaging a call. We like to keep tabs on all of the latest trends in the industry, many of which may become the standards of tomorrow.

Perhaps 2021 is the year in which your company will decide to tell a story with its packaging or commit to a more sustainable business model with environmentally friendly packaging.

Is it time to upgrade your packaging for the heavier reliance on e-commerce? Or, maybe it’s just time to customize your packaging to increase customer engagement.

Whatever your needs may be, Mid-Atlantic Packaging is here to meet them.