Packaging Design Trends: Speculation for 2015

Design trends in 2014 brought us many places. We saw high contrast designs, we saw lots of whitespace. We saw watercolor, and we saw a stronger focus on sustainability. With the turn of the new year, we’ll see new trends enter the scene, as well as the evolution of some of the older ones. With this in mind, we’d like to share with you our speculation for where the design for packaging industry will be headed in 2015.

With the recent rise of sustainable products and packaging, we’ll be seeing an even greater focus on this sort of design in the coming year. Sustainability is more than a trend; with the state of the environment, there has been an increasing urgency to minimize our impact on the planet. The packaging industry is beginning to respond to this need with more and more eco-friendly options to present to consumers. It’s to be expected, then, that we’ll be seeing more of the hand-drawn fonts that go along with a naturalist feel (this goes for logos and illustrations too). Think clean designs, subtle textures, and flat, grounding colors to suit an over all naturalist feel.

Altaz CF6 Stylus

We’ve talked before about awesome packaging designs, ones that are unique for their aesthetics or functionality (or, both). Some of these have taken interesting design a step further, capitalizing on the element of functionality and usability. Shirt packages that transform into hangers, boxes that turn into pen holders…while this sort of packaging may not be at the forefront of 2015 trends, we suspect we’ll be seeing some interesting multi-use designs this year. Definitely something to keep an eye on.


Another small but growing market is augmented reality packaging. With the ever-increasing integration of electronics in everyday life, it’s only fitting technology would be brought into even the disposable parts of our products (or, if you’re going for sustainability or functionality, maybe the not-so-disposable parts). Regardless of the opinions of naysayers, technology isn’t going anywhere. Period. With the rise of augmented reality products such as Google Glass, we’re seeing this now more than ever (even if at its infancy stage, augmented reality devices are very, very dorky looking). With a rumored consumer release in 2015, Google Glass will open new doors for augmented reality packaging. It may make you look like a huge nerd (I happen to disagree with this sentiment, but I digress), but regardless, even if augmented reality takes on a different form than headwear in the coming years, it will still be prevalent, and packaging designers that have not learned to work with the medium already will have to catch up.


Lastly, we’ve got Pantone. Pantone knows color. They’re the ones who standardize it worldwide, making sure that the conversation between designers, printers, companies, and consumers is an easy one, where everyone is on the same page. Part of their job includes keeping tabs on (and setting) industry trends. They not only know a whole lot about color, but also have a big say in the evolution of design practices. Annually, they pick the Color of the Year. This isn’t just a blind bag selection; their industry expertise, from analysis of past trends to predictions about future ones, is what helps them determine what this color will be. This year, they’ve gone with Marsala, an earthy, wine red. Marsala creates a nice dichotomy (did you know colors can do that?): for a shade of red, it’s remarkably cool. It’s seductive, but grounding. Rich, but subtle. Marsala “…enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability.” Expect to see more of this color in the coming year.

GTS Packaging Solutions Product Spotlight: Paper Tubes

GTS Packaging Solutions is a full service design and packaging company. We work in the design and manufacturing of all sorts of packages: bags, pouches, tins, boxes, novelty items, and more. We also work in many different industries–we started out with tea (at our sister company, Global Tea Solutions), but have since expanded our reach into health and beauty, fundraising, pharmaceuticals, jewelry, and more.

One of our packaging specialties is our paper tubes. They come in all shapes and sizes, with a variety of fill styles, lids, and closures. Our materials are also eco-friendly and sustainable, made from 100% recyclable materials. They’re perfect for storing food (so of course come with available options of foil or spray on linings). Many of our canisters have a smooth, matte finish that has been very popular with clients in the past. Another common style is a kraft finish (cardboard). They are also label ready. Full color printing options are available for matte, kraft, or labeled finishes.

Two examples of our tubes:

This is our divider tube, good for packing two varieties of a product in one container. The middle base of the lid has a wall built in that extents to the floor of the piece.


We also have mini tubes (the lid fits snugly over top of the base). Great for smaller portions, gift packs, and samplers.


So what does a finished product look like?


The Fastest Way to Create 3D Mockups!

This week, we’re going to show you a handy trick our digital artists use to bring their design for packaging ideas to life. We’ll show you the fastest, easiest way to turn something like this:


Into this:


We could take our designs, piece by piece, and create our mockup from scratch. Sometimes that’s even necessary in order to maintain full control of your package mockup’s end result. It doesn’t hurt to give this method a shot though, since all it requires is a quick download, and the click of a button!

Start by visiting The bag used in the example above is BAG003. Download it. This is called a Photoshop Action. You’ll have to install it before using it, but don’t worry, it’s not hard. First, open the .zip file you just downloaded. You’ll see one file inside, with the .atn extension. Double click the file. That’s it! In Photoshop, go to Window > Actions, and you should see it listed. You may need to restart Photoshop if you already had it open. Don’t see it? Go here for answers.

Next, you’re going to want to get the 2D version of your design together. The template provided with the action requires an image that is 7872 x 6072 pixels. You can scale yours down, of course, just make sure it’s at least that big when you’re designing.

Once you’re done your design, in your actions menu, highlight ‘STEP 1 — Prepare Template.’ Click the play button down at the bottom of the actions panel; this will automatically create a new document with the right specs. Photoshop will run through some steps for you; wait for it to finish (it may take a while).

Once it’s done running, the top layer of the template will tell you to paste in your artwork and size it accordingly. Paste it straight over top, like so (we’ve made it transparent so you can see what we mean; no need to do so in your document):


Once you’ve done that, highlight ‘STEP 2 — Add Color!’ Again, hit the play button, and wait for Photoshop to run through the actions. Photoshop will make another document, so if you don’t like the result, you can go back to the other document and try again. Our finished result had one error: one of the layers was out of order and we had a bright spot on the left side of the bag. It’s an easy fix. Find the layer named ‘bag side gradient.’ Drag that layer to be above the layer that is above it currently (‘bag side triangle’). That should do it!

Save your file, and you’re done! Here’s the finished result for you again!


Pantone Color of the Year 2015


Pantone recently announced their 2015 selection of Color of the Year: Marsala.

Such a rich, dramatic color is an interesting pick, considering their choices from 2009 and beyond have been so bright and lively (but more on prior years in a bit).

About their choice: “Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness. This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.”

Curious about the colors from years prior? Starting with 2009 from the left up to 2014: