Creative e-packaging: 6 trends to adopt now

5 min reading time

Carelessly slapping an address sticker onto a standard box before shipping it? You might as well just close up shop as far as consumers are concerned.

We can’t stress it enough: e-consumers have come to expect no less than a ‘wow’-effect when they receive an online order. Wrap rage is no joke – so, for starters, try to soothe your customers with striking details such as:

  • custom branded sticker instead of traditional tape
  • shipper label on the bottom of the box to avoid interference with branding
  • logo-printed tissue paper inside, but no annoying void fill

So, what are the current, over-arching design trends worth paying attention too when you’re developing new e-commerce packaging?

Trend #1: brown takes the crown

As consumers are increasingly becoming aware of packaging waste and the damaging effects of plastics on the environment, sustainable packaging is the way to go. Think reusable, recyclable or even compostable/biodegradable packaging.

One way a lot of brands are embracing this trend is by using of cardboard for their packaging. It looks stylish, saves natural resources by reducing the amount of ink and white paper you need and will save you money as well.

Trend #2: minimalism

Minimalist design has been around for a while and it seems like it’s here to stay. And with good reason. By stripping away any non-essential elements and offering simple, neutral packaging, you can really let your core message pop.

But it’s not just about looks. It’s about materials too: by taking a minimalist approach to packaging, using no more than needed, you’ll lower your ecological footprint, save storage space and cut down costs.

Trend #3: it’s (not) hip to be square

Using a square box? Only if you can justify it. In 2019, it’s all about adapting your packaging to your product. That doesn’t mean throwing in a bunch of packing peanuts to fill up the box (if it ever did). It means thinking about how you can use your packaging as a way to present your product to your customer in the best way possible and offer optimal protection. All while using a minimal amount of material.

Sounds difficult? Not at all: your packaging designer will love the opportunity to get creative. Just make sure to provide them with a clear design brief.

Take cookie brand Thelma’s treats, for example. They took e-commerce packaging to the next level by offering packaging that’s a perfect extension of their brand:

'Oven Box' design delights Thelma's Treats'Oven Box' design delights Thelma's Treats

The message is clear: even when ordering online, customers get their cookies fresh out of the oven. Also notice how this band incorporates the natural brown cardboard colour in their packaging.

Trend #4: personalisation

What do you prefer: receiving a gift coupon for your birthday or a book by your favourite author, including a heartfelt inscription?

Offering a personalised experience is a great way to build a lasting connection with your customer. Your packaging is the perfect canvas to communicate with your audience. Use the inside to tell your customer more about their purchase, thank them or send them a few words of wisdom.

Floravere, a luxury bridal fashion brand, knows what it’s all about:

Unboxing experience by Floravere

Trend #5: change it up

Beware of repeating yourself. Of course, you need to be consistent with your brand message. But that doesn’t mean you can’t change it up once in a while.

Offering seasonal packaging (Christmas, Valentine’s, Easter, …) is a no-brainer. But why not go one step further and design a limited edition packaging in collaboration with a contemporary artist?

It’ll surely turn your packaging into a collector’s item – something to keep reusing instead of throwing it away. Which plays nicely into the sustainability trend.

Customisation used to be a difficult process due to traditional printing methods, which would usually require making plates, films and colour proofs. But now, with digital printing, the process has become much more flexible. It’s a cost-effective solution to experiment with short runs. 

Trend #6: high-tech

Nowadays, boxes can be so much more than just boxes. Put on your tech-wizard hat and turn them into an experience. Either by including technology, or simply by printing QR-codes that activate an augmented reality-feature.

It’s a brilliant way to boost brand-activation and encourage brand loyalty.

Unboxing has become the new storefront

The thing to remember? It’s all about creating packaging that’s uniquely adapted to your brand and your customer, without having to compromise. Packaging that clearly communicates your message, while showing you’re aware of the world around you.