Minimalism Inspiration in Packaging Design


Packaging, of course is created to protect the products inside, it’s there to inform the customer of the product and act as a means of promotion of the brand, but design enthusiasts know that packaging has a secondary dimension: to create a thing of beauty that upholds a brand’s identity and engages the audience their target audience.

Today, we live in a world where we are saturated with information, images and messages. Everything we could ever want to know is right at our fingertips, but with this comes an overwhelming sense of overload. It’s harder than ever to break through the noise and find calm and this has led design to adopt new minimalism. Designers are saying enough is enough and channelling the need for simplicity through distilled packaging design.

Minimalist design does not have to be blunt and cold, but instead can be used to articulate the important aspects of the packaging design, communicating the brand’s message clearly and evoking emotion in the customer. When executed correctly, this emotional connection encourages audiences to buy.

The Unboxing Experience

Today, we live such busy lives it can often seem there is no chance for us to slow down and enjoy the world around us and often we’re purchasing goods in a hurry. Great packaging design connects an emotional part of our psyche and brings increased pleasure from the purchasing experience.

We demand to be entertained today; the packaging we choose does not only have to protect the product inside but must act a way to bring pleasure to the user. Brands are looking to engage with their audience across multiple platforms in order to enjoy success.  This means guiding users to share their packaging experiences on social media and tap into the emotional needs of 21st century buyers. In a recent study, Dotcom found that nearly 4 in 10 consumers would share an image of a delivery via social media if it came in a unique package.



Mandarin Natural Chocolate

In order to communicate with customers the simplicity of Mandarin’s chocolate, a simple design was needed. The brand only product confectionary made with organic cacao and cane sugar. The lettering against the plain background echoes the ethos of the brand by eliminating all that is unnecessary and focusing purely on quality.

Simple design is not the lack of imagination; moreover it is the result of extremely considered choices. Designer Takashi explains this:

“We felt that we wanted a typeface with pointed serif to express the sharpness we feel when we hold high-quality chocolate in our mouths,”

Businesses Adopting Minimalism

The minimalist movement is not slowing down, and for businesses that are looking to adopt these methods and do less with there are some basic steps to follow:

Create Value

Understand why your customers are choosing your products and make this the focal point for the design, whether this is value for money or a health benefit.

Use Colour

In minimal design, you can use colour to speak to your customers instead of words or graphics. This is a great way to signify flavours. Choose colours your customers can instantly recognise as representing a flavour to avoid any confusion.

Use Packaging Tape Effectively

If your e-commerce company is shipping items, the packaging can still enjoy minimal design. Ensure the unboxing experience is upheld using printed packing tape that represents your brand’s identity. The price is very similar to clear tape and you will enhance appeal whilst communicating your chosen message to your customer.

Stand out from the crowd

Minimalism is brave; it steps away from the flashiness of the early noughties and stands out for that reason.  Consumers have come to expect certain things from their packaging and are refreshed when the rules are broken. Why not make a bold claim as Boxed Water did to draw customers to your product?


The key to successful packaging in 2016 is simplicity of the brand’s message. Trident has succeeded in this by communicating the purpose of their Xtra Care chewing gum product. Its purpose of the product is to protect teeth and gums from acid between meals. The design uses bright graphics as a mouth, the chewing gum visible through a window acting as teeth. This clever strategy removes the need for text and uses humour to connect with prospective customers.



New Minimalism in 2016

Once, minimalism was the art of taking away but new minimalism is the art of using just enough. By focusing on the essentials brands are able to cut through the 21st century noise and communicate with a new sense of clarity. Customers are looking for a different experience from their packaging today. The packaging must inspire, entertain and bring joy all whilst conforming to the fundamentals of packaging protection and availability of product information. Brands, both big and small can use new minimalism to add, rather than detract from the packaging experience.


Whimsical, Surreal Illustrations with iStock’s Signature Artist – Iveta Vaicule

Illustrations are at the forefront of communications these days, with everyone from small businesses to major brands using them to make a visual connection.


Illustrations used to act as supporting elements to big beautiful photos on websites and campaigns, but now advertisers and designers are using illustrations more and more as the main vehicle for expressing their message

iStock by Getty Images Senior Manager of Illustration Jennifer Borton said. They can really provide a unique and personal stamp on any project.

Iveta Vaicule, one of Jennifer’s favorite illustrators, is creating her own mark on the illustration world. Born in Latvia and now living in Norwich, UK, she originally started her career as a graphic designer before realizing her true passion lied in illustration.

Illustration provides me with more freedom than graphic design, it feels more like ‘me,’” Iveta said. “I love the creativity and how you can put together a bunch of scribbles and something beautiful comes out of it.

Iveta’s signature hand-drawn style combined with the whimsical, childlike quality of her designs helps her stand out among other illustrators.


“Iveta’s style is very surreal and almost primitive — it’s deliberately clunky and very charming. Her color palettes are really bizarre and cool. She’ll take two colors that you would never think would work together and she crashes them together and it works beautifully,” Jennifer said. “I also love the texture she builds up. The more you look at her illustrations, the more you get drawn into the composition and start noticing all the little details she’s added.”

One of Iveta’s favorite topics to draw are cityscapes. Her illustrations provide a quirky, fun perspective of destinations across the globe from Moscow to Rio. Interestingly, she hasn’t actually been to most of the cities she’s drawn, and instead uses photographs as inspiration to create her own unique spin.

“She takes the buildings and landmarks and mashes them all together into these crazy compositions with a skewed viewpoint,” Jennifer said. “They’re really interesting and stand out among a sea of more straightforward, realistic depictions of these locations. It’s almost like she just draws whatever she wants.

And that’s exactly what she does.


It gives me great joy, excitement and happiness to create something. It’s a good way to express myself — it’s almost like a diary of my life. Looking at various illustrations of mine brings back memories of places, people, pets, happy and sad times from my past, I’m really just trying to draw for myself, that’s how I produce the best work. If you do something for yourself and other people like it, that’s a massive bonus.

This photo was inspired by a man I once dated a long time ago who was very good at playing piano and writing little songs. He was a very entertaining and interesting person but he didn’t pursue his dream of becoming a musician and instead, he sold pianos and caravans. He also couldn’t click his fingers. So in this illustration he is in a band, singing away and clicking his fingers too.

iStock are offering a free download of Iveta’s chosen image

Free Download
Free Download

[button url=”″ postid=”” style=”btn-primary” size=”btn-default” target=”_blank” fullwidth=”false”]Download Now[/button]

View Iveta’s collection and millions more royalty-free images at

11 of the Most Stunning & Minimalistic Beer and Cider Labels Ever

Beers and ciders that are consumed by most people around the world are nothing special; they’re mass-produced in large factories with little/no variation in flavour between each batch.

Typically, the bottle labels are the same as the beer: boring, plain, and offer no real sense of personality behind the brand. It’s usually all about packing as many colours and as much information as possible on to the label in the hope that the brand will stand out on the supermarket shelves.

However, if you look at the craft beer (and cider) market, you’ll notice something quite interesting: not only are the beers generally better quality, but a lot of the bottle labels are quite simple, minimalistic, and pay homage to the brewery and/or brewers.

I thought it would be nice to showcase some of these labels, so I’ve rounded up some of my personal favourites below.

#1 – Serpent Cider

1-serpent-cider (1)

Serpent Cider is a product originating from Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, and as you can see, the labelling manages to be extremely colourful and flamboyant, while still maintaining it’s minimalism.

The design itself features an illustration of Ogopopo; a monster that is reported to live in the Okanagan Lake. You’ll notice that there is a small paragraph of text on the back of the bottle explaining the legend of the monster.

Interestingly, the bottle only makes use of blue, green and red (which helps to maintain the simplicity).

#2 – Deep Love IPA


Deep Love is a Norwegian craft beer brand and much like Serpent Cider (above), the bottle also features an illustration of a sea monster (although it appears to be a beer-loving octopus, in this case).

According to the creators of the beer, it has a unique flavour, and therefore needed a unique packaging design to go along with it.

Rather than a simple beer label, this bottle actually features text and illustrations that have been printed directly onto the bottle itself. The result is a simple yet elegant design that certainly grabs the eye.

#3 – Shilling IPA


Shilling is a beer brand started by Uli Bacher and describes itself as having a “Scottish soul” and an “Austrian heart” – certainly a unique blend of characteristics for any beer.

Much like the Deep Love IPA (above), this beer also features a non-traditional label in the sense that there is no label; the branding is instead printed directly onto the bottle itself.

However, the bottle does also feature a couple of smaller labels – notably the “India Pale Ale” labelling at the top of the bottle, and a similar label attached by string (you can get beer and cider labels from or another similar printing company).

#4 – Hardside Cider


Hardside Cider is a Virginia-based company with a passion for hard cider. However, this company doesn’t only produce apple cider, but also apricot cider and a number of other unique recipes.

No matter what flavour of cider you opt for, the labelling remains consistent and minimalistic. You can see from the two ciders pictured (apple and apricot) that the labels are virtually identical. Both feature the brand name, the location in which it was made, and a couple of pieces of other important information.

The only difference between the two bottles is the printed flavour (“apple” and “apricot” respectively), and the photograph of the fruit used in production.

#5 – Spontaneously Fermented Cider


Spontaneously Fermented Cider is a brand with simplicity at its heart, which is reflected in the beautiful bottle labels they use.

All four ciders/beers that are part of the Spontaneously Fermented Series are given Baroque style labels (see image above) and feature a minimal amount of written information (i.e. the name of the company, the alcohol percentage, and the flavour – that’s it).

Each label utilises only one colour (e.g. red, in the example above), although the bottle uses two shades of that colour (the darker shade for the label background, and the lighter shade for the design itself).

#6 – Rare Barrel – Sour Beer


Rare Barrel is a small scale microbrewery, which exclusively brews sour beers (as they believe the process brews unique tasting beers); they’re based in Berkley, California.

With such a unique beer, Rare Barrel hired a graphic design company to create some unique bottle labels for the product. The brief was simple: celebrate the mixing of unique flavours in sour beers.

The result was this extremely colourful – yet also extremely simple – beer label that instantly grabs your attention. The minimalistic illustrations relate to the title of the beer (e.g. cosmic dust).

#7 – Super Jay American Pale Ale


Super Jay hired the creative firm, PWW, to create these unique and minimalistic beer labels for their American Pale Ale.

These are perhaps one of the most simplistic labels on the list, as they feature nothing but the name of the company (Super Jay), the type of beer (American Pale Ale), and the company logo.

However, there is also the addition of two locations on the label (i.e. “LDN” and “NWT), as the Super Jay brand is all about combining different beers from different times/places.

#8 – Brooks Dry Cider


Brooks Dry Ciders not only feature beautifully simple bottle labels, but there’s also a fascinating backstory to them.

In 1846, the area north of San Francisco Bay, California was briefly under military control from a short-lived state named the California Republic. The California Republic may not have been around long, but it was around long enough to create its own flag, which featured an image of a grizzly bear.

With Brooks Dry Cider fermented brewed in Napa, California, the designers opted to use “Brooks the Bear” as a mascot for the brand; he now features on every bottle of cider doing various things (e.g. riding a motorcycle).

#9 – PangPang


PangPang is a microbrewery based in Sweden, which produces a range of interestingly-titled beers, such as “Bamboleo”, “Libertango”, and “Tiki-Tango”.

Each of these beers are part of the brewery’s “Summer Series”, so it was important that the bottle labels not only represented the brand (which is far from “traditional”), but also the essence of summer.

Therefore, the designer opted to use bright, summery colours (e.g. blue, pink, yellow) for the beers. You’ll notice that only one colour is used per beer type, which helps to keep things clean and simple.

#10 – Hoogan’s Cider


Hoogan’s Cider is an award-winning cider brand located in England, UK. All of their ciders are produced from fresh pressed English apples from orchards in Herefordshire, Gloustershire and Worcestershire.

The bottle labels for Hoogan’s cider are not only simple, but also remain consistent throughout the range of different ciders on offer (e.g. dry cider, medium cider, etc.). The only thing that changes on the labels is the colour scheme and the illustration of the fruit used to produce it (i.e. apple or pear).

It’s about as simple as it gets.

#11 – Left Field Cider Co.


Left Field Cider Co. is a unique cider brand that was founded by two sisters; their ciders are brewed and bottled at a family ranch in Mamette Lake, BC.

Because the ranch produces different ciders at different times of the year, it was important that the bottle labels were adaptable for each cider. Therefore, the brand created this simple yet smart design that allows the batch number, year and blend details to be filled in by hand.


5 Great Tips For Finding Color Inspiration

When it comes to color rules, there are no rules. It’s true that some color combinations are more difficult to work with than others, and some look so great together that they seem to be made for each other. But if you develop a sensitivity to the properties of colors, you’ll find that your options are limitless.

A basic color wheel

The Basics

The twelve primary, secondary, and tertiary hues of the color wheel form the backbone of any combination; other colors are created by adding uneven proportions of pigment, or by mixing in black and white. Green, blue, and purple are known as cool colors, and red, orange, and yellow are warm colors.

For a tried and true color palette, you can always look to three simple combinations:


Use the same basic color, with different amounts of white or black in each hue.


Use a few colors that occupy the same portion of the color wheel, like blue-purple, purple, and red-purple.


Use two colors that are across from each other on the color wheel. Because you are using both warm and cool colors, there is more versatility in this type of combination.

Remember that color perception varies quite a bit depending on how muted or vibrant your colors are, the proportions of one color to the next, and the placement of your colors. For example, a square of orange placed against of field of red will read very differently when placed on a field of yellow.

Now that you’ve had a refresher on the building blocks of color theory, it’s time to get some inspiration for finding more diverse, unique, and meaningful color palettes.

1. The Grocery Store

Don’t just look at the food (although the produce section is a great resource); also look at the product packaging! Liquor labels and higher-end products are especially full of inspiration.

A close up of autumn leaves

2. The Great Outdoors

Nature could be called the world’s first designer, so it’s fitting that her color combinations are always worth imitating. Take photographs to capture each moment of color. Then open up Photoshop, select five or six of the hues you see in a photo, and rearrange them into a swatch. You’ll be amazed by the endless variations you can find.

3. The Internet

To stay on the cutting edge of color trends, it’s usually best to turn to the web. Color inspiration can be found in so many different places. You’ll also find interactive color-choosing tools, or even trend reports on the next big color craze.

4. Posters and Magazines

The colors in ads are carefully chosen for their emotional content; use the results of other designers to enhance your own work! A flashy combination of red and yellows that you liked in action movie poster might be just the thing to reapply to the glitzy sports car illustration you’re working on.

5. Paint Chips

If you’re a fan of the hands-on approach, grab an armful of paint chips. This is an especially good idea if you find it easier to consider pure color combinations, without any of the distractions of proportion, shape, and other design elements.

Whatever method you use, the most important part of finding great color combinations is always being on the lookout. These resources are universally applicable, but if you keep an open mind and open eyes, you’ll be able to find inspiration anywhere you look.