Sustainable packaging is becoming more mainstream, and graphic design trend follows suit. Designers are keeping up with customers’ demands for more sustainable products, resulting in creative and innovative designs. Graphic designers interested in sustainability issues must be able to combine the perfect designs with special materials and packaging shapes.
What is Sustainable Packaging?
Sustainable packaging is a type of packaging developed to support sustainability and reduce environmental impact. There are several factors that support sustainable packaging, such as using minimal or recyclable materials, reducing the sizes or layers without compromising quality, and applying energy efficiency or reducing carbon footprints.
Sustainable packaging is growing in demand because consumer awareness is also spiking. Single-use plastic packaging has become a popular concern, especially since not all countries have proper recycling facilities to manage all the plastic.
With the rising efforts to create sustainable packaging, the graphic design trend also shifted. Designers specializing in commercial products must think about the best way to incorporate their works in such packaging.
Materials to Design Sustainable Packaging
Graphic designers who want to tap into sustainable packaging must understand the nature of the materials. Cardboard, glass, and recycled bottles are popular sustainable materials for eco-friendly packaging. However, newer materials are created to contribute to the world of sustainable packaging.
Compostable packaging has become a rising trend. Created out of wheat straw, sugar canes, and bio-polymer, this material can be composted and does not contain toxic components. Designers can combine images, colors, and typefaces to attract people to buy based on the packaging. For example, baby fashion retailer Sun Sea Days uses compostable wrappers with large, bold texts that tell buyers about the nature of the material.
Other options are using cellulose or corn starch. These materials are turned into food packaging, label stickers, wrap sheets, and boxes. They have unique surface textures that can affect how your designs and colors look.
Sustainable Packaging Design Ideas
Innovative designers have applied sustainability in their ideas, combining creative graphic designs with sustainable materials and fewer carbon prints or energy use. Here are several great examples to inspire you.
PolarAid First Aid Kit
Designer Amy Chen is responsible for PolarAid Kit, a package of children’s first aid kits sold by Polar Bears International. The package uses recyclable material and a minimum amount of ink, just enough to create a polar bear’s feature. It uses simplicity in design and material to create the most attractive package that will appeal to children. In addition, the selling of these first aid kits is used to support environmental projects by Polar Bears International.
Naked Soap is a company started by a mother who needed suitable soap for her baby, who suffered from eczema. The focus of the products is on people with allergy-prone and sensitive skin. In addition, the soaps use minimum packaging from recyclable materials, with minimum use of ink and straightforward label stickers.
The company has expanded its products to bath bombs, scrubs, shampoo bars, natural deodorants, dish soaps, and lip balms. Every product uses a similar simple concept, with minimalistic labels and typefaces and materials such as cardboard.
Wild Bag Box
Wild Bag Box is an example of incorporating graphic design into both the packaging and the product. The box is made of simple, unpainted cardboard to ship bags with animal motifs created by the Out of Ark brand. However, the box has cutout holes shaped like vertical strips in front of it. When the box is closed, the strips and the animal motif of the bag create an effect of an animal being caged.
Petit Natural’s Sustainable Bottles
Petit Natural is a juice brand that uses sustainable design in a fun way. Designer Isabela Rodriguez combines soft, pastel colors and fun summery patterns with paper-based labels. The label stickers also use the minimum amount of ink and glue. In addition, most of the bottles are created from returnable bottles, which the company includes in its sustainability program.
Balzac’s Coffee Roasters
Balzac’s Coffee Roasters uses sustainable paper bags to deliver their coffee products. The paper bags have simple designs with naked brown, recyclable paper. However, the design outside the paper is created to reflect the shop’s values: classy, artisanal, and natural. Combining vintage font with straightforward label texts, plus colorful stickers made of sustainable paper, Balzac’s Coffee Roasters adds sustainable values to their packaging without sacrificing quality.
Sustainable packaging will stay for a long time, especially with the rising awareness and demands of customers. Make sure you keep up with this graphic design trend if you dream of working in commercial design fields.