• Transform magazine
  • January 26, 2022

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Sustainability, DE&I and mental health key 2022 packaging design trends, Pentawards report reveals

  • Oceaniq 3
  • Love Is Love
  • Special One 2

Sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and mental health are some of the key trends that will influence global packaging design in 2022, a report by packaging design awards, Pentawards, reveal.

The insights in the report draw on patterns and trends observed across this year’s entries to the Pentawards. Each trend is illustrated with packaging examples from around the world, in addition to comments from members of the Pentawards’ jury panel. 

The greater focus on sustainability, mental health and, diversity and inclusion reflect the wider societal issues that have gained traction across the world in the past few years.

Within the Sustainable Design category there was a trend of making eco-friendly packaging as transparent as possible through clear packaging design. The packaging of vegan washing detergent brand, OceanIQ, made of 100% recycled fishnets retrieved from the oceans, aims to unequivocally reflect its sustainable purpose.

Similarly, to sustainability, mental health also gained increased importance the past year, with Covid-19 exacerbating mental health issues. Brands began using packaging as a platform to speak about the importance of mental wellbeing. FRAHM, a UK online business which focuses on both sustainability and men’s mental health used its packaging to inspire change.  Special One, a soda brand aimed at reducing the mental health stigma in young people, did the same.

“As we reflect on the post pandemic world, it’s important that we realise the importance of mental health within the design community and the wider world. Raising awareness of mental health is vitally important, making it less taboo,” says Clem Halpin, design lead at design agency, Taxi Studio, and president of the Pentawards jury.

Packaging acts as a powerful touchpoint and platform to engage people in societal issues, allowing brands to show solidarity for certain social causes, including diversity and inclusivity. Oil brand Love is Love’s packaging, which won a Gold award in the Spices, Oil, Sauces and Spread category, recognises all types of couples through stylised and colourful illustrations.

“Packaging design has that unique ability to help brands reach all types of people, simply by them being included in the creative conception of the packaging,” says Paco Adin, creative director at independent brand agency, Supperstudio, which designed Love is Love’s packaging.

Other trends in Pentawards’ report include different takes on traditional packaging, using colours as key visuals, communicating cultural events or movements through packaging and optimising packaging for e-commerce.