E-Commerce Packaging Trends for 2021

by Megan Arnold August 25, 2021

Think about the shopping you’ve done in the past year and a half. Most of it was probably done online. But now that we’ve all dipped our toes into some sense of normalcy again, how much of your shopping has still been online?

It’s hard to go back once you’ve experienced the convenience of having everything you want and need just show up on your doorstep. So, with the growth of e-commerce skyrocketing, it’s time for brands to evaluate how they’re going to adapt to the way their audience is shopping. That’s why we’ve got a few trends you’re likely to see on the virtual store shelves.

Monochromatic Colors

Example of monochromatic packaging

We all know the importance color plays in the role of packaging design. But what if your packaging didn’t have to contain ALL the colors. One trend you might want to try is creating your packaging in one, monochromatic color. Choose colors that are bold, but shy away from your stereotypical shades. Bonus points if you can choose a color that speaks to what your product is or does. Think choosing a shade of lavender for products meant to be soothing and relaxing. With this trend, you’re letting both the color and the copy speak for the product, instead of all-over graphics like more traditional packaging.

Fun and Quirky CharactersFun characters on your packaging

There are plenty of mascots out there, and if I gave you the brand, you could probably name the matching mascot without missing a beat. But, in 2021, it’s going to be less about mascots and more about characters. When creating your packaging, try to develop a character with a personality. Think of it like putting a scene from a comic book directly on your packaging. The goal is to have the character tell a story about your brand without having to rely on ads or your website to fill out the story.


Symmetrical pattern on packaging with an intricate design

To say things have been chaotic recently would be an understatement. It’s hard enough to follow what’s going on in the world, let alone what day of the week it is. So, with so much uncertainty, it seems only natural that people would want a little structure in their lives. Symmetry is the perfect way to visually create balance for your customers, and you can do it in several ways. Create tight, intricate designs with lots of detail. Use larger images to create more simplistic symmetry that leaves some open space. Or you can even create symmetry with the words on your packaging.

A Name That’s Front and CenterPutting the name as the focal point on packaging

What’s in a name? Well, unless your Shakespeare, a lot! A name can tell you everything you need to know about a product – what it is, what it does, what it tastes like. That’s why it’s time to make the name the star of the show. Instead of making your logo or illustration the center of attention, place the name of your product big and bold in the center of your packaging. Have that stand as the focal point, using fun colors or interesting font to really draw attention.

That Vintage Experience

Modern packaging that has a vintage look and feel

Retro is always fun, right? That’s why retro-inspired packaging has been a thing for a while, and it’s certainly not stopping in 2021. But, with the age of ecommerce and unboxing videos flooding the internet, it’s time to crank up the authentic feeling. In 2021, you’ll have to do more than just make your logo look vaguely 50’s inspired. Instead, think beyond just your packaging. Everything – from your product packaging to the label on the product to the very product itself – needs to look and feel like it just got delivered by a time machine and not UPS.

Those are just a few of the top trends you’ll see for the rest of 2021, and perhaps beyond. Are there any trends that you plan on incorporating into your product packaging?




Megan Arnold
Megan Arnold