Packaging design is sometimes so imaginative, that it’s nearing an art form. Check out these creative packaging solutions to find design inspiration for the next product that will help you market and make shoppers love it.
As far as good design goes, we rarely think of package design as something that defines the brand and sales of quality products. But, it seems that assumption is wrong—according to this study, 81% of people have tried something new because of packaging, and 63% have purchased a product again because the packaging was aesthetically pleasing.
Packaging design focuses on creating a beautiful, but also creative, engaging, or lately even self-sustainable wrapping or containers for a product. Packaging designers understand the brand and its visual identity, but also the audience and what it wants to get out of a product.
So what makes some packaging designs so special and captivating? Let’s explain it visually.
Food and drinks packaging
You probably have experience picking up a new product or brand in your local supermarket, just because of eye-catching packaging design. But here are some truly inspiring examples of containers for food and drinks that are both beautiful and clever.
1. Milgrad Dairy Products Packaging
You know how kittens are always after milk in cartoons? This designer used that trope to create a cute, visually stunning and fun packaging design for milk and kefir cartons. The playful illustrations and the simplistic style create a visually captivating effect. And minimalism is still in style, so choosing only white, dark blue and minimal use of red for this packaging was a great choice.
Design by Vera Zvereva on Behance
2. Malabar Tea Collection
For tea lovers, intricate flowers and herbs on the packaging usually signal quality and taste. But giving them a sneak peek of what’s inside the packaging is even better. This product packaging marries both beautiful illustrations and a practical approach to seeing what the actual product is. The small window in the bag of tea lets the shopper see the contents, and the rest allows them to marvel at the beautifully illustrated flowers.
Design by Liza Burlutskaya on Behance
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3. Volume Jelly Cocktails
Remember those puddings that you can just remove the lid off and eat for a real treat? This package design is a similar treat, but only for adults.
A portable jelly cocktail is a whole conceptual experience that deserves an equally unique packaging design. The custom packaging has a perfect cube shape, and the name is a simple nod to “alcohol by volume”, a measurement used in cocktail-making.
Design by Yura Park and Ching-Fa Lung on Behance
4. Spaghetti by the serving
If you’re like me, you probably cook enough pasta to feed a small village, even when you’re dining on your own. And, yeah, there’s plenty of measuring gadgets and tips for the right amount, but I’m still going to eye it and cook too much.
The designer Neal Fletcher thought of a simple solution for people with the “never enough pasta” gene—a sectioned package with six compartments, one for each serving. Now, that’s something the packaging industry could use: usefulness and resourcefulness.
Image credit: Pinterest
5. BFrank wine bottles
Sharing a bottle of wine with someone usually makes things easier to say. But for extreme situations where surprises (and maybe bad news) are incoming, this wine has a label that has you covered. Its idea is to make you be frank, as the name suggests. The label has a sentence starting with “I’m only drinking with you because…”. You can fill in the blanks and tell your drinking buddy for the evening the news.
Image credit: The Most 10
6. Finca de la Rica
Since we’re on the topic of wine, Finca de la Rica is a winery that produced a line of wines inspired by the concept of leisure. They want the consumer to take some time, relax, reflect and marvel at the simple things, from a glass of good wine to a refreshing walk in a forest.
The wine bottles have a fun game on the label consumers can solve: “El Buscador” (the seeker) has a word search puzzle; “El Guía” (the guide) connect-the-dots; and “El Nómada” (the nomad) has a labyrinth.
Image credits: Dieline
7. Bite Me
Using pieces of gum to represent teeth isn’t exactly a new or original idea, but when it comes to creating unique packaging, the execution matters as much as the idea. In this case, the simple idea is paired with a beautiful and modern packaging that also adds a bit of humor (each package has a different salty message). The color palette is also great as it’s evocative of the human mouth.
8. Charm Villa Tea
This brand created charming little fish swimming in your cup of hot tea. As you pour in the boiling water, and the herbs and flowers start to expand, you will see a cute little fish forming. It is just an extra something in the already enjoyable experience of sipping delicious tea.
9. NYC Spaghetti
What started as a university project for graphic designer Alex Creamer, turned out to be an iconic packaging idea. This project is dating from 2011, and the task was to explore different ways of packaging. But the designer had a different production process in mind.
“Rather than build a facade or pack around the spaghetti, I decided to make the product itself the focus”, says the designer.
The fruition of this was the NYC Spaghetti, a series of skyscrapers made out of the Italian pasta staple. The first and most popular one by Creamer was the model of the Chrysler building, created by pushing a statue created by artist Ben Thorpe into the spaghetti creating a similar impression on top.
10. Juicepeel by Naoto Fukusawa
Never has a juice box looked more real and natural, than the juice boxes created by Japanese artist and industrial designer Naoto Fukusawa. This is not a real product, but a reimagination of the Tetra Pak juice boxes and a way to market products without the need for labels, explanations and taglines. It was first introduced to the public audience at the Haptic Exhibition in 2004. Fukusawa reinvented not only the shape of the rectangular Tetra boxes we all know but also the texture, making the boxes look like the literal skin of the fruits made to create the juice.
Apart from those featured in the photo below, Fukusawa also created soy, green apple and peach juice boxes.
11. Bōnmot Ice Cream
This Mexican healthy and organic ice cream company wanted to rebrand and make itself look friendly and accessible. So instead of adding an illustration of a friendly character on the packaging, they invented one for each flavor “inspired by childhood memories, the sensations that they evoke when you try them, as well as pop culture”.
The packaging has a bright and fun color palette, and heavy but cartoonish typeface, making it fun and colorful for all generations of ice cream lovers.
Design by Tandem - on Behance
12. Origami beer label
This might just be my favorite idea on this list, since I’m a serial bottle label peeler, and always end up making a mess of it. This lovely concept helps turn anxiety into creativity as it allows you to fold the bottle label into a piece of origami art.
13. Stillhouse Whiskey
As a whiskey drinker, I don’t love the whole “manly” vibe of the drink, but I have to give props to this brand that really takes things a step further. Packed in what looks like an oil can, this whiskey gives serious cowboy vibes. The packaging is fun but also takes the craft side seriously, as the label includes all the relevant information and describes the flavor of each type of brew.
Packaging ideas from famous brands
Browsing through Behance or Dieline will help you find plenty of very artistic designs, but sometimes even big brands come up with great ideas to package their well-known products. Here are just a few.
14. Nike Air
Nike has a firm and well-established brand identity, and that gives them the ability and freedom to experiment. That is why once they ditched the shoe box and paper bag, and they packaged some of their most iconic products, the Nike Air trainers, in a literal bag of air. It is a statement to the lightness and ergonomic design of the product, but also a genius marketing move.
Image credit: Dieline
15. Festina Watches
Festina, a globally acclaimed company that makes durable and elegant watches, produced a line of diver watches “engineered for water” called Profudno. They believed in their own product and tried to accentuate the key value proposition so much that they packed the same watches in a water pouch. It is a marketing chess-mate move: they induce a surprise reaction in shoppers, but also prove that their product is really what it says it is—waterproof.
Image credit: A Blog to Watch
16. Smirnoff Caipiroska
Vodka has a slightly bland taste and look, but everyone can recognize the iconic Smirnoff bottle. So, when the company wanted to launch a new line of flavored vodkas based on the famous Brazillian drink, the creative agency came up with this clever concept of “peelable” vodka bottles that match the fruit flavor you can find inside.
It’s got an element of surprise, but the established brand identity is still preserved.
17. Ford Ranger Extreme Matchbox
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Big companies have a large marketing budget, so even tiny promotional assets like this matchbox are a work of design genius. The little box shows a new make of cars with an extendable cargo bed, while the matches “pose” as real-life cargo.
18. Christian Louboutin nail polish
Any good branding agency will tell you that no matter what you’re selling, all your product packaging should be on brand. Christian Louboutin is a designer synonymous with extravagant shoes, so something as everyday as nail polish might not immediately seem like a part of the brand. However, with this creative design the nail polish bottle is reminiscent of a timeless stiletto heel, giving this ordinary product a touch of the extraordinary.
19. Harrods chocolates
A box of chocolates from UK’s most famous (and expensive) department store would make a very fine gift, but with this latest packaging design it’s even more special. The real asset of this design is its simplicity and elegance, but the vibrant color combinations help bring a more youthful and vibrant look. Just like Harrods’ impressive “chocolate hall” the packaging is diverse, from a simple chocolate bar to delicate gold boxes of scrumptious and decadent truffles.
20. Jose Cuervo
Who knew that my favorite brand of (party) tequila existed way before my partying days - 222 years to be exact! These limited edition bottles were created for the brand’s 222 anniversary and celebrate the vibrant history of this tequila brand: from a special bottle dedicated to Ana Gonzalez Rubio y de la Torre, a woman who headed the company during the Mexican revolution, to a nod to tequila’s nickname “devil’s water” and the way it has inspired (some of) us to behave as though the little red devil was sitting on our shoulder.
21. Tide Eco Box
Not every item in this section has to come from a luxury brand or product! This ingenious design is two years old now, but it’s still impressive that it uses 60% less plastic and 30% less water to produce than the compatible bottle of detergent. And not just that, this is a great example of user-oriented design. I remember my mum doing the laundry for a family of 5 and always buying gigantic washing detergent bottles, which were difficult to maneuver and pour into the measuring cup or the machine. This simple trick helps to make less mess and is eco-friendly. What’s not to love!
Everyday products packaging with a twist
Most creative packaging concepts belong to food and drinks, but there are a few other great examples out there that turn packaging designs of very mundane products into something exciting.
22. Hanger Pak
Sustainability and waste are huge issues this planet is coping with at the moment. So packaging supplies that could be reused and upcycled are more than welcome. That was the idea behind Hanger Pak, a concept by graphic design student Steve Haslip. Haslip reimagined a t-shirt packaging that can easily be turned into a hanger by simple origami principles.
Source: Packaging of the world
23. Help Remedies
Help Remedies is a pharmaceutical company that revolutionized the way pills are packaged. The packaging itself answers a simple question: “What’s wrong?” If you have a headache, allergy, cut, insomnia, you’ll find a suitable cure in a color-coded, simple package. It’s another example of great packaging created with the consumer in mind.
Apart from that, they used bioplastic made of corn and molded paper pulp, materials that are compostable.
Image source: Lovely Package
24. Love & Wash
This innovative washing detergent package design has a strong resemblance to the “Fight Club” poster. The bold colors, bulky typography and cool photos of clean clothes embracing make this a creative packaging design, quite unusual for an industry that has a rather boring and typical aesthetic.
As a helpful tip, the clothes that are embracing are either white, dark or mixed, so it’s easy for the shopper to pick the product they need.
Design by Alexander Cherkasov on Behance
25. Note Headphones
I know few people still have earphones that aren’t wireless, but this lovely packaging concept is too good not to feature. It ties together perfectly the product itself and a design that’s simple and yet very convincing. Perhaps the best part of it is that it’s so unique, and yet doesn’t use any special materials or even colors!
26. Colour Me Blind
This interesting design concept was developed by (then) design student Alexandra Burling. Her idea was to create a line of everyday groceries to match the needs of blind people. She created packaging that’s dynamic and helps people with vision impairments to quickly and easily identify what sort of product there is.
She also included all the necessary information about them in Braille. Her aim was also to start a conversation about how packaging design affects different senses than just sight, which is an important point for any budding package designer.
27. Anti-theft lunch bag
Having lived in a student dorm with my food stolen all the time, I really started to identify with Ross’ rage over a stolen sandwich. Luckily, a clever designer came up with this anti-theft lunch bag that will ward off food felons. It’s definitely not the most beautiful design on the list, but it serves its purpose perfectly. And that’s one trait of a great piece of design!
28. Clutch bodyshop
One of the key ingredients to good packaging design is being different from the rest. Since so many wellness brands opt for earthy colors, this bold approach in creating packaging for health and fitness supplements is definitely something else. But it’s not for naught, as the big lettering and numbers are supposed to convey key information quickly, which can be super important for someone taking different supplements.
29. Vizit condoms
I know a lot of people who still act weird when buying condoms, so perhaps this creative idea of making the packaging a bit more classy and fun would help. The different ties matching the type of condom is a great idea, and although I don’t love the fact that it’s quite so geared towards men, it could work for a brand wanting to focus its sales on a particular target audience.
30. Trendyol bags
A brown paper bag might not inspire the height of packaging design, although thinking about the iconic Macy’s bag I’m inclined to disagree. Another example is the design contest entry that transforms the simple bag with an interesting shape and the company logo perfectly incorporated.
31. Fruity toilet paper
Is there a product “too ordinary” for creative packaging? Well, this next example suggests a strong no. Apparently, the Japanese designer behind this concept came up with the idea since it’s common in Japan to receive toilet paper roles in stores as a gift. Another great thing about this very cute package design is that the recycled paper wrapping is also eco-friendly
Artistic packaging designs
Some of the previous designs stand out in terms of a clever concept or a special focus on usability. This section, however, we’ll dedicate to some of the most gorgeous looking packaging ideas that truly take it to the next aesthetic level.
32. Country chocolates
With the right packaging, chocolate can make a beautiful and thoughtful gift and this next packaging concept proves it. Drawing inspiration from the different countries chocolate ingredients come from (cocoa, milk etc.) the designer created these colorful chocolate bars with different country themes, from Ghana to Belgium. The typographic logo design adds a touch of luxury and helps tie the eclectic designs together.
33. Access 79
When you think of jewelry packaging, the iconic Tiffany’s box is definitely the first one that comes to mind. For a more contemporary example, check out this lovely box design for Access 79, a try-before-you-buy jewelry store. In line with its youthful concept, the design of the box takes a more modern approach, but is certainly elegant. The gorgeous serif logo helps create a more timeless look.
By Natalia Auza
34. Tar soap
You might be impressed already looking at these beautiful black and white soap boxes, but when you realize that the graphics are created using vectorized soap patterns, the whole concept becomes mind-blowingly good. The minimalistic packaging is also a good way to signal the products are organic and/or made in a sustainable way.
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I’m not exactly sure what this packaging is meant for, but I suppose the beauty of it is that it would fit any number of uses: medicines, technology or beauty products all come to mind. This wonderful futuristic pastel color palette would probably be difficult to achieve in print, but that’s why you might need the help of a skilled designer who can make sure that the design is in line with the printing possibilities.
By Ye Chen
I saw a very relatable tweet recently about how a huge part of adulthood that no one tells you about is figuring out what to do with a very nice box. Well, I’d have no such problem with this gorgeous shoebox as there’s not the slightest chance I’d consider throwing it away.
But there’s more to this box than meets the eye. TOMS is a socially responsible shoe company that commits 1/3 of their profit to social initiatives, making their shoes (and boxes) all the more special. And when we consider the issue of sustainability, this special design seems like a great way to encourage people to repurpose packaging instead of, say, buying additional storage solutions.
37. Wild Island Gin
You’ll see plenty of beautiful artistic labels, but when it comes to the actual bottle design, most people seem to like to keep things simple. The design studio behind this artisanal gin bottle, however, took a different approach, creating a bottle you’d definitely want to keep.
It’s also a good reminder that creative and artistic doesn’t have to mean overly colorful or busy. The elegant watercolor design is meant to be evocative of Colonsay island, the home of this gin and its “rugged” landscape.
38. Pasto Pasta
It takes a great designer to know when to follow design trends, and when to create something retro or timeless. This lovely example of food packaging draws inspiration from 15th century Italian woodcut illustrations over trendy minimalistic typography or pastel color palettes. It fits perfectly with the idea of pasta as a traditional, homely dish that you’d serve in plates with a similar design.
By Ping Ni
39. Lollia Shea Butter Hand Cream
And since we’re on the topic of retro designs, check out this beautiful hand cream that looks like something your grandma would have on her nightstand. The tube itself has a beautiful design, but the really stand-out part of this item is the die-cut box that looks like it’s covered in lace.
40. Juice bottle packaging
Juice containers really come in many shapes and sizes (and a few we’ve featured here) and this is yet another very creative solution. The square bottles would make fridge stocking a breeze and they’re also very beautiful and fun.This nice concept is yet another reminder (in case the previous 39 examples didn’t drive the point home) that if you want your packaging to be creative, you need to think outside (or inside?) the box.