It made sense for Pentawards to begin trend reporting last year – the company is privy to a huge amount of breaking packaging projects. In 2022 alone, there were 2,000 entries from over 60 countries to its annual Pentawards competition. For the 2023 Trend Report, the platform has drawn from the “patterns” popping up again and again in the design industry, as well as talks held at its first in-person festival, the report explains. Gathering together these insights, Pentawards outlines 10 trends for the year ahead, including tactile detailing, hyper bold visuals, smart packaging and more.
First on Pentawards’ list this year is the rise of cans. There certainly does seem to be an uptick in studios giving tinned packaging – or particularly, oil drums – a new kind of sleekness, with studios such as Low Key Design reinventing the can as a premium packaging option. According to Pentawards, while this trend has been brewing for some time, we’re now seeing “the rise of the can in sectors beyond the drinks market”. Pentawards offers Potts’ sauces by This Way Up as an example, where they were employed for cooking sauces, rather than jars or pouches. The report shares insight from Big Fish’s Chloe Templeman: “Cans are not only a more sustainable format for designers to use but can be versatile in terms of form, function and opening.”
Pentawards also lists “packaging as the product” as a rising trend; the platform points to the widely criticised 2021 Chanel No 5 advent calendar as an example. Although, the report details that, in the case where packaging becomes part of the product itself – like Urban Forest’s Neck Pillow featuring functional and re-usable elements – or a valuable keepsake, it can help cut down on waste. This is a crucial requirement in design right now.
Tactility will also be at the forefront of designers’ minds in 2023. The report draws a link between the movement away from isolation since lockdowns and the renewed importance of physical experiences. Raül Cobos from Irübi states: “Neuromarketing research reveals texture can affect sensory experience which implicitly activates not only a feeling of higher quality and value, but also of exclusivity. A product’s packaging surface is the most intimate intercourse between the brand and the user, and the most powerful ‘first impression maker’.” Irübi recently worked on Almatura, a wine with embossed labels featuring tactile fibres.
Other trends this year include bold visuals, which is in line with Pantone’s Colour of the Year – Viva Magenta – taking the form of a particularly “animated red”. Then there's doodling, with many beverage brands turning to hand-drawn illustration this year; and smart packaging, which speaks to how elements including QR codes and AR can give extra dimension to products.
Read the full report here to explore all ten trends.
Low Key Design: Aokka (Copyright © Low Key Design / Aokka, 2022)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating from the University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, Indie magazine and design studio Evermade.