How to Generate an Endless Source of Packaging Design Inspiration

Ever wonder where professional design teams find inspiration for groundbreaking packaging design? Look around, inspiration is everywhere and it’s more accessible to everyone than ever before.


Asking where not to look is equally important. Googling “packaging design” delivers vast and never-ending examples of packaging design, but only reflects the solutions delivered to the market. Relying on examples of the very thing you seek to create, makes your work clearly derivative of your source material.

To combat creating works from packaging found online, here’s a list of resources packaging designers can use to elevate their inspiration game

Whatever your style, look to designers and inventors creating ground breaking works outside your field of study.

Packaging Inspiration from Fashion Designers

Fashion designers create demand, they create a reaction, and they deliver an array of contrast finishes and colors. Applying a similar approach to packaging can yield unexpected results. Seeing how fashion designers cut and shape fabrics to move the viewer’s eye down garment can be used to draw consumer’s to experience your packaging in a specific order.

Vehicles are interactive structures that connect with consumer. Handles, steering wheels, and pedals are all designed to give the driver a symbiotic relationship to the machine. How can you apply a similar sense to packaging design?

Packaging Inspiration from Vehicles

Car designers craft static structures that appear to move before our very eyes. From the grill of a 64 Mustang, to a futuristic Tron light-bike, no detail is overlooked. Every aspect of the design is meant to support a singular goal, look, and feel. Packaging design is no different, every aspect of the package designed must usher the consumer to one decision. To connect.

Packaging design inspired by movies
Movies are built on narrative, packaging designers can apply a similar arch to branded story telling. Breakdown packaging into acts and guide consumers through a rollercoaster of emotions.

Packaging Inspiration from Movies

Not only can movies inspire designer from a stylistic standpoint, but you can also study the story arch and apply it to your packaging. Creating a delayed sense of gratification by setting the product one or two steps behind the opening ceremony heightens anticipation. It’s a similar feeling to the moments before the climax of a movie where the story hurtles itself towards an epic battle, breakup, or major conflict. Once the product is removed from the pack, you can’t forget the post-credit scene by including a thank you message or hashtag as a CTA

Packaging design inspiration for designers
Art is an emotion delivery machine making viewers feel something is powerful, applying that approach to packaging, is branding.

Packaging Inspiration from Art

Similar to fashion or vehicles, it’s important to seek inspiration from emotion stirring subjects. What you’re made to feel from art is personal to you, packaging design like branding should also be personal. Design for one person in your audience, communicate structurally and visually to make lasting impact.


Packaging Inspiration from Culture

I considered not including this for fear of someone misinterpreting the idea and appropriating versus creating based on cultural inspiration. As a Colombian designer that grew up in Hawaii I look back to my own as well as Polynesian culture frequently for inspiration. The music, the food, the feeling of belonging that comes from slinging slang with the people you love is all about connection. Looking to other’s cultures is an opportunity to understand different ways in which to connect with people from around the world both through packaging and as a person.

Packaging design inspiration 2020
Designers include architects, industrial, fashion, graphic, and many more. Focus on each designer’s process over individual results.

Packaging Design Inspiration from Designers

Looking to designers from other industries to understand their process can yield new ways of thinking or approaching your own projects. Seeing how many designers sketch and rapid prototype in order to fail fast and iterate may be a new way of working for some. Learning what questions to ask at the start of every project can be the beginning of a new process for others. With the internet connecting us all use it to reach out to these designers or designers that have worked with them in the past to find out more.

Packaging design inspiration from music
Create your own them music with playlists for the different phases of your process. Instrumentals for proposal writing and research, fast paced beats for sketch and development phase, then thoughtful lyric heavy soundtracks for that final phase of design.

Packaging Design Inspiration from Music

Music has the power to move people, literally. Consider the artist behind the music how would they approach packaging, what soundtrack does your pack deserve, how does music play into your design process? Try listening to new music for each new project to discover in what ways it can sway your design.

Don't design packaging
Whatever you do, don’t Design Packaging. Focus on connecting with and creating experiences for consumers.

Brands are built by what you deliver and the experiences you create, unboxing is an experience. Treat it as such.

Don’t Design Packaging. Create experiences.

Packaging Design Expert Evelio Mattos
Named “One of the 200 Best Packaging Designers” by Lurzer’s Archive, and Graphic Design USA’s “People to Watch”. Evelio Mattos is an industry recognized packaging design expert known for his ability to engineer strategic user experiences. HIs focus on user experience coupled with sustainable systems and packaging allow him to share this knowledge to elevate our industry.
Evelio Mattos - Creative Director

Named “One of the 200 Best Packaging Designers” by Lurzer’s Archive, and Graphic Design USA's "Designers to Watch", Evelio is an industry recognized packaging design expert. He's a creative producer known for strategically bridging package design and sustainability, with flawless manufacturing. Evelio’s passion for designing and engineering memorable unboxing experiences for global brands and consumers, can be seen in his creative collaborations with some of the world's most sought after brands.

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