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
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.
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 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 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 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
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.
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.