In 2023, the world of packaging design is breaking wide open, with a strong emphasis on all things bold and experimental. Want your products to stand out in this increasingly showy environment? Read on! First, we should acknowledge that creating great labels for product packages can be an exercise in contradictions. On the one hand, your design must meet customer expectations for how the product’s design should look. For example, if a tube of toothpaste looks too “odd”, the customer might not trust that it will provide the clinical benefits it should. On the other hand, you still need to pull out all the stops to differentiate your product and make it pop in a crowded marketplace. This is why staying just ahead of trends is so important. In doing this, you remain in the sweet spot of meeting expectations—trends are trends because lots of people like them—and staying fresh. So, with that in mind, here are some of the emerging label design trends for 2023:
Super-Bold Colour Palettes
Think ultra-bright neons and super-saturated tones. In 2023, we’re going to see colour-scapes that might make you feel like you’re wandering around in a futuristic, Tron-like world. This is a time to get more playful than ever with the most basic building block of your design: colour.
Unique typography has been extremely popular for a while, but the trend we’re seeing right now is handwriting. In particular, scrawled or especially casual-looking writing is providing an extra touch of authenticity to labels.
Customers are loving local, perhaps especially after a few years of pandemic living, with its slowed-down supply chains and frequent calls to support small entrepreneurs. If your product is meant to reflect the place where it was created and sold, make that clear on your label designs. Include local features, people, icons, history in your imagery and branding choices.
Is your product giving your customer a reason to reach out and explore it? Are you harnessing the power of interactivity? How can your product and the package come together to create a delightful scene or an adventure for your customer? Can you use a QR code to invite your customer into a bigger world built around your product?
While minimalist designs are still exceedingly popular—and truly appropriate for certain brands—we are seeing an undeniable rise in maximalism. In maximalist designs, there’s no such thing as “too much”, as long as all of that muchness is arranged with intention. Explosions of imagery, bold colour choices, and a touch of the surreal are all on the table.
Retro looks right now are focused on design elements from the 1970s and 1980s. Kitschy and fun cartoons. Nostalgic typefaces and colour palettes. Make your product feel like a portal for time-travelling, for connecting with a world that many of us associate with simpler times.
The mascot, that time-honoured element from branding’s past, is making a big comeback. Does your brand include several SKUs? Pick the right kind of mascot and you can dress them up to suit each specific product, providing unification and differentiation all at once.
These are some of the label design trends that represent that zone you want your packaging to occupy. It’s a place where you can meet expectations while simultaneously blowing minds. 2023 is shaping up to be a colourful, playful, and creative environment for designers, so get ready to have some fun.
If you have questions about how your out-of-the-box design ideas can work with the label and packaging options that are available to you, reach out! Believe us—this is our favourite kind of conversation.