Packaging:  Mindful Design for a Healthy Planet

Part 3/5: Sustainable Packaging Design Trends + Transformations

We know the first moment truth is at the virtual, or real, shelf. However, the SECOND moment of truth is what’s driving real growth…delivering on your sustainable packaging promise to consumers who are increasingly rewarding brands they feel good about buying. For example, in 2018, Unilever’s Sustainable Living Brands grew 69% faster than the rest of the business, delivering 75% of the company’s growth. With over 56% of CPG companies committing to make their packaging more recyclable, compostable, and reusable – the upstream innovation challenge is real.

The new big trend is adopting an Upstream Innovation Mindset and rethinking packaging as part of the innovation pipeline. Most often, packaging comes after the product innovation is complete and is designed by industrial engineers to meet specific functional needs.  As a design agency – we are advocating just the opposite: focus on the package design and consumer needs FIRST – experience, sustainability, recyclability – then integrate them into the engineering and functionality of the package.

So how do you integrate desired branding, design and consumer experience with industrial engineering? Re-think the primary package (packaging design, structure, shape, size, format, components, material choice) to design out waste and provide the same essential packaging function while improving the consumer experience.

Start with these three areas:

  • ELIMINATION – Packaging is eliminated while user experience is maintained or enhanced.
  • REUSE – Packaging is reused, rather than discarded after one use, creating value for both users and businesses.
  • MATERIAL CIRCULATION – Packaging is designed so that the materials it is made from can be recycled or composted.

The good news is that exciting transformations are happening! Check out these inspiring design trends that are sure to get your creative juices flowing (and capture untapped business opportunities).



Going through the upstream innovation process requires a structured approach to decide on a strategy, and then design the solution appropriately. Cincinnati design agency, domo design, is helping CPG companies change the world – one package at a time.

Stay tuned for Part 4 of our series: Getting Transparent about Plastics – The US Plastics Pact, July 15.