In highly competitive markets, design and branding quickly become a selling point of a product – the elements that will either make or break its success.
Companies today are well aware of this, and invest a lot of money in market analysis, material research and great visual concepts and package designs.
To be successful, the packaging must be both functional and visually appealing. For example, there’s no point in having a glamorous wine bottle if it can’t be opened, right?
Therefore, when it comes to packaging design, companies require plenty of experience and research before a product hits the shelves to ensure the perfect balance of branding, functionality and beauty.
Sometimes, we choose to buy the products simply because of the way they look.
In fact, many experts believe that packaging affects the buying process
The influence of packaging is important and goes beyond our tastes in food, fonts and color, and appeals directly to consumers' emotions -- a hallmark trait of great brand identities that foster consumer loyalty.
Let's take a look at some of the most beautiful, compelling, dazzling and innovative top food and beverage packaging designs of 2021!
The 10 Best Food Package Designs Showcasing Unique Branding
Babushka is a concept package design by Sasha Kischenko. The design took Kischenko six hours. Although this food packaging appears simple at first, the ingenuity strikes users upon second glance.
Babushka’s "products" might not be particularly extravagant (pickled vegetables), but the design of the packaging is a common solution -- with a twist.
Glass jars, like Mason jars, take up a lot of pantry and cabinet space and are heavy and risk breaking. Kischenko solved this problem and conserved space by using a retort pouch made to look like a glass jar. It's clever, but with a safer, more functional approach.
In addition to being well-made and safe to store food in, the packaging is more user-friendly. Jar lids are never easy to open (in fact, they can be a multi-person job...) but this ziplock-like pouch is simple to open and close.
Plus, the witty shape helps to keep the memories of good old jars alive, making this design instantly more charming.
The visual appeal of the design is striking as well. While different from the style we were used to as kids, the jar label is stunningly simple and attractive.
It features a clear material, fewer text lines in sans-serif white font, and a tiny responsive logo design illustration to add some personality, brand the product, and add a bit of personality and balance to the clean concept.
To be quite honest, we can totally see ourselves picking this up in a grocery store. Oh, and that logo icon is adorable – who can say no to Babushka?
2. Lyft x Baderbräu Brewing Beer
What does Lyft, an on-demand transport app, have to do with beer? Quite a bit actually, according to the brilliant marketing strategy behind this cool, geometric design.
Lyft partnered with a Chicago’s Baderbräu Brewing to promote safe driving and responsible drinking. How? By creating a limited-edition beer called the Five Star Lager.
This brew is sold at bars only and drinking it grants the person 60 percent off their next Lyft ride. Now that's a good deal and a great marketing campaign!
The special edition can is colorful and intriguing. As a part of the Lyft brand, the deep pink color creates a popping contrast to the clean white background.
Along with some lighter gray elements, the dark purple and the accompanying deep gray complete the color scheme to create a retro overlay effect within an interesting custom typeface.
Reminiscent of the 1980s, the font that’s used to spell out Five Star, is rather captivating and visually pleasing, though a bit nostalgic as well.
The rest of the copy appearing on the can is either black or light gray, which gives it enough readable contrast without leading the viewer’s attention from the brightly colored Five Star and Lyft logos.
This keeps the focus on branding the two corporate partners and ultimately places the package designs focus smartly on marketing.
On the other side, there are, of course, five stars in the same saturated Lyft deep pink. This package design also helps the brand with its reputation – consuming this beer entices people to leave a 5-star ride review. (And who wouldn’t after 60 percent discount!)
3. Stacy's Pita Chips -- Women's History Month Edition
Gender equality is a topic on everyone's lips these days, and Stacy's Pita Chips knew just how to take their conversation and turn it into action.
This past February, the snack company released three limited edition female-centric package designs for their iconic pita chips.
Each design is bold and colorful, but the similarities stop there. Unstoppable uses a bold black and pint contrast with simple negative space to grab consumers' attention while portraying the power of women.
The back in the middle (above) visually describes that lip service we know all too well -- but instead, the quotes are positive affirmations that lift women up and strive towards equality.
The final design is far and away from the most intricate and impressive.
A bedazzled, femme lion adorned with delicate patterns in its mane symbolizes the unique strength that women have, showcasing their ability to roar and get the right kind of deserved attention.
In fact, even the "roar" written in the middle of the bag features the iconic symbol for female.
Stacy's bucked traditional branding and opted for bright hues that they typically don't utilize within their branding, packaging or marketing initiatives.
Instead, they allowed the focus to remain on the message the packaging was serving. Although they still branded each design with their logo, the colors were flexible to not detract from the new aesthetic.
Even better, the company pledged $25,000 to Step Up, which is an organization that helps young girls in underserved communities.
This added layer of humanitarianism gave added substance to this package design, making it an effective marketing tactic that strongly showcases Stacy's core values to consumers, ensuring the brand is transparent, honest, and trustworthy.
4. Hummingbird Porridge
Long gone are the days of oatmeal and porridge in sad paper packets. Hummingbird is here to bring a creative, playful personality to healthy breakfasts through their whimsical packaging designs.
Instead of using traditional boxes or individual bags, Hummingbird opted for a paper carton. This makes opening and closing the product -- especially during hectic mornings -- a breeze for consumers.
Each design is bright and beautiful. They feature custom illustrations of nature, which fits the Australia-based company well.
The different types of oatmeal and porridge are color-coded, listing the ingredients on the back with the adorable artwork.
Hummingbird didn't negate proper branding and recognition, though. The front of each package design is simple, featuring the same large company name logo splashed across.
The product color coding is seen beneath, atop a simple, natural background that signifies the healthy aspect of the product.
But as a playful bonus, the same responsive secondary logo design -- a small hummingbird illustration -- sits at the top of each carton. This adds additional brand identity to the packaging designs, empowering them to act as marketing material for Hummingbird.
However, each little bird is featured in different colors and patterns, reiterating the company's commitment to unique aesthetics.
All in all, Hummingbird's packaging design demonstrates how brands can strike the perfect balance between personality and product description to captivate consumers the moment they lay eyes on your product. In fact, when businesses show strong attention to the package design and branding, consumers follow up to 30 percent more.
5. Mood Coffee
Mood is a coffee packaging project that speaks to coffee addicts everywhere, showing that they truly know the demographic.
The clever and witty design closely mirrors the feeling we have right before we consume their product -- sleepiness and exhaustion (#mood).
Therefore, it creates a necessity to purchase the product to rid ourselves of tiredness and perk up with the help of Mood Coffee.
The mood that Mood is trying to evoke is created through the animated eyes in the logo design. Depending on the product, these eyes appear exhausted, defeated, or -- in some cases -- perked up and wired, seemingly from the product itself.
This latter mood describes the feeling consumers are chasing after (to a degree) and subconsciously showcases the product's effectiveness.
Designed by David Hovhannisyan, this unique design utilizes the already established construction of a coffee jar. However, the concept is altered slightly and made a little more friendly and accessible with its natural, cardboard-like exterior and neutral colors. This keeps the concept extraordinary yet likable.
Not only is the idea for this design brilliant, but the execution is also flawless as well. The design itself is clean and sleek.
The chosen colors and materials are absolutely beautiful and portray the brand to consumers accurately.
The justified typography is perfect in line weight and stands as a neat extension of the large and bold brand name.
However, the focus remains on the logo design and the whimsical eyes, which fosters stronger brand recognition and allows the overall design to breathe with plenty of negative space.
Plus, the functionality of the design is spot-on. This coffee container would easily fit into any kitchen, pantry or cupboard.
6. Wild Leaf Tea
Wild Leaf, a producer of rejuvenating teas and herbal supplements, is sporting a bold and risky aesthetic that captures consumers' eyes -- possibly more than any other product on this list!
Forget about a single brand color -- Wild Tea infuses their packaging design with a vivid color scheme that is mixed and matched, showing a big brand personality that is, as the company says, “good for both the body and the mind.”
These designs are as energic and bright as they come. When put next to one another, the colorful tea cans -- which are reminiscent of Andy Warhol's colorful aesthetic -- embody a complete flavor explosion.
However, when you look at them individually, they reveal a smart and simple design with very strict geometry.
The playful Wild Leaf logo written in a calligraphy style is attention-grabbing, as it creates a snazzy contrast to other simple, condensed sans-serif fonts.
The thin, illustrative line art around the text creates a beautiful visual guide through the composition of the label, making it easily understandable and satisfying, despite the strong saturation of the colors.
This is a great example of good typography that is fun and quirky but doesn’t detract from the readability, which could alienate customers.
The color combinations are bold, flashy and extravagant. Some of the color combinations are classic complementary color pairs, while others are quite rare to see.
7. Made Coffee
Everything looks enchanting when covered in pastel colors -- especially this soft blue and vermillion orange color scheme.
But Made Coffee, which utilizes these hues, adds an air of strength through its strong typography and detailed custom illustrations upon the packaging design.
The sky blue hue acts as the negative space and sets a calm yet trendy tone for the rest of the design. It leads customers' eyes towards the center of the can, where modern typography creates a recognizable logo design.
The small serif accents and the strikethrough line that flows through the heart of the word adds strength to the serene design without throwing the aesthetic off balance.
Though hugely different in value, the accent of navy blue creates a modern air through geometric patterns. A splendid choice of pink and an orange finally round out the design and complement the color scheme.
The detailed explanatory line art illustration represents the path that coffee goes through before being packaged in the can. This is not just a stylish way of representing the brewing process to the customer, but it’s also a visual asset that the company smartly invested in.
This is a great example of how incorporating an interesting and intricate illustration can capture consumer’s attention. After all, the more they focus on the product, the better the brand recognition.
8. Mirzam Chocolate
Mirzam Chocolate won our hearts over with this beautifully illustrated design the moment we saw it!
Mirzam is a bean-to-bar chocolate producer that puts the transparent chocolate making process into the focus of their brand identity, and as a result, we’re left with a spectacularly rich taste of dark cocoa and imagery to match.
Following a dreamy maritime theme, this design sparks curiosity the moment the customers lay their eyes on the package design. The background to the whimsical, somber artwork is, of course, the spice route that continues to inspire Mirzam.
Created by Backbone Branding, the chocolate package is a mesmerizing illustration depicting a boat on the water, traveling by the shores of Papua New Guinea.
The colorful representation of the starry night sky ignites wonder, as the hues flow one into another. On the other hand, the drawings of the map of Papua New Guinean culture and people seem to be hand-drawn and closely resemble antique world maps.
The beauty of this design lies in its fullness that somehow still manages not to become intrusive or over-encumbered. The design is effective as it inspires but doesn’t invade.
Overall, this enticing illustration is definitely worth its place on our list! This is a great example of a food package design that creates a puzzle of interconnected and logical pieces, where each element plays its part and attracts consumer’s attention.
9. Tempest Bourbon
This fictional bluegrass strength bourbon whiskey, a creation of Jason Carne, has it all – it’s enticingly beautiful, elegant and glamorous for sure, but the product and its design are also powerful and sleek at the same time.
It exudes sophistication and adventure in equal balance. Tempest is truly a time capsule made to transport you back in time, serving as an homage to the exciting era of jazz music, mobsters and prohibition.
The packaging rises to the occasion, too It surely does its task well, as we’re feeling the overwhelming charisma of this amazingly sophisticated design.
The gold foil and deep navy blue label shine with the impressively well-conveyed identity. The typography is specifically made to resemble the old-school designs, as it manages to look royal without looking tacky at the same time.
Above it, a small pictogram of a lit torch reminds us of a classic Greek and Roman deity, adorning the design and lifting it to another level of elegance and style.
The unusual color choice – deep blue – works unexpectedly well with the brown and golden tones of the whiskey, and adds an air of luxury.
This packaging design manages to express the identity of the product incredibly well. It gives off the appearance of an elegant but fierce character while being faintly reminiscent of the prohibition days filled with danger and intrigue.
10. Essence Of Chicken
The essence of chicken might not sound like something you’d want to drink when you first hear of it, but bear with us – Essence of Chicken is widely used in many Asian countries.
It’s said to improve focus, energy levels and mood. It is taken as a daily dietary supplement, and it’s apparently incredibly beneficial for the body and the mind. But most importantly, its new pastel package design is an engaging and unique take on the dietary supplement.
As the designer Abingo Wang explains it, this product is typically marketed with the expected chicken illustration. But this time, ‘Chiko Traditional Essence of Chicken’ decided to go another route, and thus created this gorgeous package design.
Upon first glance, this food packaging resembles a box of a luxurious hotel shampoo.
In fact, the imagery that this magnificent design puts its focus on is water. By using the whimsicality of watercolors, this soft design looks prestigious and extravagant.
The gentle peach tone and simple, classic label design of the box give the product a glamorous quality as if it is a highly valued gift. This is elevated with a serene swirling pattern, allowing the elegant beverage packaging to feel like an important, ceremonial drink fit for the royalty.
Essence of Chicken's packaging design is pure and neat, but also soft and unusual. However, the most beautiful thing about it is the unexpected luxury surrounds such a simple product.
How To Improve Food Packaging Designs In The Future
Food packaging is a tricky field for one important reason -- due to the nature of the product being sold and the safe and sanitary requirements, the packaging must undergo rigorous inspection and adhere to some strict guidelines.
But the huge array of rules and regulations that food and beverage product designs must follow didn't discourage the designers behind the brilliant packaging we presented in this article -- and it shouldn't discourage other innovative brands, too.
Product packaging fulfills several functions. On the most basic level, it is there to protect and help transport our products -- in this case, food.
However, in today's world, the food and drink that we consume is so much more than necessary nourishment – it is a lifestyle, set of beliefs, a personal choice, the basic reflection of our individuality.
Because of this increasing shift towards health, wellness and balanced lifestyles, a proper brand presentation is imperative to fostering consumer loyalty.
After all, customers are far more likely to purchase from brands who share the same values that they do.
That, of course, means that the product packaging itself must define and express the product’s own character.
It is said that the best designs are not created through the use of a particular color or font, they are birthed and raised in the designer’s understanding of the idea behind the client’s product.
This means that designers, marketers and branding experts must also act as psychologists, observing and determining the characteristics that a product represents and figuring out the personality behind it.
The task of a product packaging design is to stand out from the crowd of similar products. That task is getting harder to achieve by every passing day.
Simply taking up more space or having the brightest colors on the shelf won’t cut it anymore.
What each design requires to be successful is a point of orientation, the center of attention that will draw the customers towards that specific food package design.
This center of focus is clear, simple, yet effective communication of the brand's essence and the proposition.
The Top Food Packaging Design Agencies of 2021
Creating the most effective food packaging designs is a difficult undertaking -- but these leading food package design companies have proven their ability to create branded package designs that capture consumers' attention.
1. PKG Brand Design
PKG agency is the authority on CPG food branding and package design. They leverage the voice of consumers to co-create packaging solutions that attract shoppers to buy products.
The key to their clients’ success is the agency’s proven Consumer First® approach to brand strategy and package design, where they engage their consumers to create solutions that attract shoppers with incredibly compelling brand stories.
They’ve been leading with this approach for years on nationally recognizable brands including Perdue Farm, Hillshire Farm, Keebler, Home Chef, and Sara Lee.
PKG specializes in brand strategy, brand identity, package design, structural design, photography and being the best consumer-centric food packaging agency in the U.S.
Visit PGK Brand Design at http://www.pkgbranding.com/
2. Digital Silk
Digital Silk is a global digital agency specialized in branding, web design, app and software development. The company creates high-end customized digital solutions for clients across industries.
Visit Digital Silk at https://www.digitalsilk.com/
3. BAKER Associates
BAKER Associates creates brands people love. BAKER is an independent, award-winning branding agency known for exceptional creativity.
They have earned long-term relationships with their clients, collaborating with them to solve business challenges using progressive and thoughtful design.
Visit BAKER Associates at https://bkrdsn.com/
4. DePersico Creative
DePersico Creative is a family-owned Design Studio that specializes in helping food and beverage marketers grow strong, thriving retail brands.
For three generations, they’ve applied their deep understanding of strategic design to visually convey compelling brand and product messages that trigger trial and purchase decisions.
Visit DePersico Creative at http://depersico.com/
5. ZIGMA8 | 360º creative Communications
Zigma8 agency, as the only Iranian member of 4A’s(American Association of Advertising Agencies), is the top award-winning food package design agency in Iran and the middle east.
This grand competition event was held on March 4 between the top 6 Iranian package design agencies and resulted in Zigma8 winning with 68% of the vote. For Zigma8 Branding and Advertising Agency, the result was a big win, quite literally.
The Takdaneh brand established the packaging design project as a competition among the leading agencies in Iran in the form of the grand creative package design event and Zigma8 came out top.
Visit ZIGMA8 | 360º creative Communications and view their work at Zigma8.com
The Importance Of Package Designs In Branding
When it comes to designing a product package, there are a lot of aspects to consider to ensure success.
Does it convey the brand’s personality? Are the colors on-brand while still remaining unique and eye-catching? Is the typography balanced with the imagery and achieving the tone we are striving for (not too serious or too playful, for example).
In addition to these brand-related questions, packaging designers, branding experts and marketers need to ensure that proper kerning is utilized, that the packaging both adheres to industry standards while also standing out, and that it appeals to the target audience.
It's a lot to keep track of.
But by conducting market research, determining an ideal action that brand's want consumers to take (typically, a purchase), and staying on top of the latest design trends -- particularly in packaging design -- they will be able to answers all of the important business-related questions while still producing a stunning design.
Although certain trends, such as minimalist aesthetics, continue to stand the test of time, other buzzy elements and design trends' success rates are relatively unknown until you test it out for yourself.
However, one thing businesses and their branding experts can take comfort in is that effective designs will always be the features that capture consumers' attention and embeds in their memories the best.
This ensures that package designs are more than just protective coverings for products -- they are marketing materials all their own.