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4 Packaging Design Trends Making Waves in 2024

Seated in enhancing customer experience, these design tactics can help your brand stand out.

Shayne Tilley

January 26, 2024

5 Min Read
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99designs by Vista

At a Glance

  • Interactive packaging helps brands craft an engaging experience for consumers, from puzzles to scannable labels
  • Embrace subtle elegance in packaging by choosing quality materials, unique finishes, and thoughtful details
  • Nostalgia meets modern design in 1950s-inspired packaging, perfect for brands seeking a retro allure

We live in an experience economy. Today’s consumers seek more than just aesthetic appeal, instead being drawn to the overall experience a product or brand can offer. And packaging design — whether delivered directly to a customer’s door or viewed on store shelves — plays a huge part in the overall experience someone has with your brand.

We spoke to the global community of professional designers who partner with brands through VistaPrint’s design services, including 99designs by Vista, to help predict the next wave of packaging design trends for 2024.

It’s clear that an increased demand for meaningful and interactive consumer moments is shaping the world of packaging design. For brands looking to make a big impact in 2024, here are four of the year’s most hotly tipped packaging trends to help create moments of connection and memorable impact.

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1. Interactive packaging.

Crafting an experience with your packaging is all about engaging the senses in different ways, and our first packaging trend does exactly that. Interactive or “smart” packaging serves a dual purpose: It seeks to both delight and engage customers. By creating additional function or purpose to your packaging, you encourage consumers to interact with your brand far beyond the unboxing experience.

This versatile trend can take many forms. From packaging that transforms into something functional or fun like a puzzle, or materials that engage senses such as smell or touch in innovative ways, to sustainability-conscious labels and paper packaging that contain seeds and can be planted. 

Even the humble Quick-Response (QR) code, which has certainly had its moment in the sun over the last few years, can be a great way to add a digital layer of interactivity to your packaging design. From simple use cases like sharing exclusive discounts, to virtual behind-the-scenes content that shares a glimpse into the product creation processes, brands in 2024 are using this technology to create augmented customer experiences that start at the label and finish in an extended brand universe online.

Physical or digital interactivity lets brands create experiences that augment a consumers’ perception and enjoyment of the product. A great example of this is Enosophia, a Croatian wine brand, that has designed its labels with interactive patterns that can be scanned to play harmonious music composed purposefully to improve the taste of the wines.  

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2. Hyper contrast.

With consumers’ attention being more sought after than ever, the visual experience of packaging design is still just as important as interactive ones, and this next trend is one of the most eye-catching trends on our list.

In the last few years, “dopamine dressing” and “dopamine décor” have become regular fixtures in our lexicon as consumers celebrate moments of joy in their day-to-day experiences. And in 2024 we’re seeing this increasingly roll over into how brands are seeking to engage consumers looking for that little extra spark of joy in the things they are purchasing.

The hyper-contrast packaging trend uses a “more is more” approach to packaging design. Playing with the stark juxtaposition of angular shapes, mismatched patterns, and bright, highly saturated color palettes to create a purposeful clashing of creative elements. This style is great for brands with bold and playful personalities that want to leave a confident and impactful impression.

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3. Discreet but deluxe.

When it comes to creating a memorable experience with packaging, not everything has to be loud or flashy. 2024 will also see a trend towards brands choosing discreet but deluxe packaging styles that are all about creating intrigue and allure, with intentionally subtle design choices throughout the unboxing journey. As with the interactive packaging trend, it’s all about creating small moments of discovery to keep consumers engaged and appreciative of the design for a little longer than normal.

It’s all about creating small moments of discovery to keep consumers engaged and appreciative of the design for a little longer than normal.

Whether it’s in the physical materials you choose for your product, such as heavier stocks, unique finishes, or embossed and debossed design elements, or introducing a new part of your branding with every layer, these tiny design elements can go a long way to making a product feel high-end and extra.

With the “quiet luxury” trend still very much in style right now, if you’re a brand looking for more luxurious packaging to complement your products in 2024, tapping into this understated trend could be a great way to open your brand up to consumers seeking a quality, high-end product experience.

At the end of the day, true luxury isn’t loud: it doesn’t have to tell you it’s expensive, the proof is in the craftsmanship and the tiny, thoughtful details that create the whole experience.

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4. 50s comeback.

No trends list would be complete without a splash of nostalgia, and in 2024 brands are tapping into the cozy, classic styles of 1950s packaging design.

The post-war era of the 50s was a time of optimism, and a tipping point in the design and branding world that gave way to the creation of many of the modernist styles we know and love today. The decade had a unique design language characterized by quaint, simple, often cartoon-like line drawings, muted but cheerful color palettes, and bold typography to create truly charismatic designs. While fairly minimal in appearance, these designs are full of personality and charm.

In 2024, we’re also seeing brands and designers layering the traditional style with modern design techniques and materials to reimagine the retro allure of the 50s with a modern flair. They feel warm, and homey, and are perfect for brands wanting to capture a sense of fun and familiarity in uncertain times.

Creating an experience through the art of packaging design offers a unique opportunity for brands of all sizes to form unique connections with their customers in 2024. No matter how small your business is, the impact of a cleverly designed moment of connection can have a huge impact on your brand.

About the Author(s)

Shayne Tilley

General Manager, Logo and Brand, VistaPrint

Shayne Tilley is General Manager, Logo and Brand, at VistaPrint, the design and marketing partner to millions of small businesses around the world. He is a wrangler of collaboration, diversity, and creativity who helps bring more opportunities to people all around the world.

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