Some of my freelance design work involves packaging design and as such I am always looking for inspiration for creative packaging solutions. Most recently I have been working on some pet food packaging for which I will show my design process in a future post. I have always felt that packaging design is one area of graphic design that is far less publicised than other areas such as logo design.
1. Look in your Cupboard
You only have to open one of your kitchen cupboards to be bombarded with packaging design, and for some reason those food packaging designs have connected with you in some way and persuaded you to buy them. It’s useful to look at these to work out the key element of a successful piece of packaging design.
What made you choose them before you even knew what they tasted like? Was it the beautiful photography, the fun typography, the copy writing, the colours? Can you take this and apply it to your design?
2. Online Supermarkets
You could take a walk around a local shop or supermarket to source packaging ideas, this is fine if the products you are looking at are relatively cheap and you can buy a few, but otherwise it could be a problem as most Supermarkets will not allow you to take photos in the shop. Many of the online supermarkets only offer small images of their products (the big UK ones do) but Amazon groceries do. Mashable has a list of 50 places to buy groceries online so its also worth checking out some of their other links for different design.
3. Deviant Art
A quick search on Deviant Art for packaging and you get 15366 results. You can choose to view the designs by popularity from the design community or newness.
4. Packaging of the World
Packaging of the World is a gallery of packaging design broken down into different sections such as toy, vintage, alcohol, and there is an interesting addition of a student/concept packaging design section.
5. Sustainable packaging ideas
Sustainable Gallery is a gallery of ideas for sustainable/recyclable packaging design. Sections include compostable, recyclable and reusable packaging design.
6. Brand packaging
Also from the same company as the sustainable packaging gallery is Brand Packaging featuring packaging arranged in categories of rigid plastic, paper/board, flexible, metal and glass/
7. Istockpack – for packaging templates/box nets
If you are looking for inspiration for the shape of your packaging istockpack might give you a few ideas. You can search for packaging templates (box nets) and download then for free. If you have any packaging templates you want to share you can also upload them to the site
8. Lovely package
Lovely package is a packaging blog where readers are invited to submit their packaging designs.
9. The Package Unseen
The Package Unseen is a blog written by a package designer which features not just images of beautiful packaging design but the author also writes about packaging design history and his influences.
10. The Dieline
Probably one of the most well known blogs on packaging design The Dieline is a great source of package design images but also gives a little background to why the packaging was created as it was.
11. Box Vox
Box Vox Another packaging design blog started by Randy Ludacer who has a small packaging design company in NYC.
12. Dzine Magazine
Dzine Magazine is another packaging blog with inspirational design images
Enveloop has plenty of packaging images and they can be viewed by country as well as type.
14. Flickr Package Design Groups
Type in the search package into Flickr and many packaging design groups can be found, a few are listed below
http://www.flickr.com/groups/packaged/ – general packaging design
http://www.flickr.com/groups/packaged_food/ – food packaging
http://www.flickr.com/groups/soappackaging/pool/ – soap packaging
http://www.flickr.com/groups/packaging/ – general packaging design
http://www.flickr.com/groups/1324472@N22/ – Toy Packaging
http://www.flickr.com/groups/618217@N23/ – Japanese Packaging
http://www.flickr.com/groups/mid-centurypackaging/pool/ – Packaging From 1940- 1970
15. Packaging Design Magazine
Package Design Magazine is website targeted at the package design industry including packaging images and news.
16. Behance Network
Behance is a network of creative people, where individuals can also upload their work. A whole variety of package design ideas can be found here.
17. Book: 1000 Package Designs
I have always found it much more difficult to find books on packaging design than most other design subjects. I have recently bought 1000 package designs book which is basically packaging eye candy. If you are looking for the reasoning behind the design work its not for you but if like me its just for inspiration its spot on. I have a couple of the other books in the 1000 series and they are all good (except avoid the icons and symbols one).
18. Book: Demographics Packaging
Another good packaging book I have previously mentioned is Demographics which breaks packaging down into target markets by age ie. packaging for kids, teens, adults, mature adults. The book shows a variety of packaging design with a few case studies including the design of X Box packaging and Sainsbury’s kid’s food packaging.
19. Strata 3D Packaging Case Study and Showcase
A case study for a package designer showing their package design process to 3D visual in Strata Design 3D for producing a new sauce label design (3D software which I use myself for 3D visuals). Also available on the Strata site is a showcase of 3D package design visuals.
Useful Resources for Package design
Presto Visual royalty free images of boxes, bottles, tubes and other packaging on to use for your package design visuals – found via davidairey.com
A free online barcode generator – make sure you donate if you use