Packaging Innovation
gender neutral packaging design
January 5, 2018

Trend alert: gender-neutral packaging design

‘Blue for a boy and pink for a girl’ has been an unwritten rule for decades, but it seems the packaging industry is finally moving away from traditional gender colors. Gender-neutral packaging design, and hence a gender-neutral color palette, is trending. What is causing this interesting shift toward unisex packaging design? And what exactly does gender-neutral packaging entail, apart from omitting pink? Let’s zoom in.

It’s a millennial thing

Millennials don’t like to think in boxes, and they don’t like being put in boxes either. Most millennials feel that gender isn’t a binary but rather a spectrum. Looking to break free from stereotypes or at the very least applauding the brands and people who actively do so, millennials pride themselves in purchasing products that challenge gender norms rather than sustain them. It appears packaging designers are happy to oblige, and, contrary to what you may think, the shift toward gender-neutral packaging design is not just limited to cosmetics.

Toys will be toys

gender neutral packaging design Calvin Klein was one of the first brands to introduce gender-neutral packaging design to the world back in the nineties – remember the ‘CK’ signature fragrance? – and the teen consumers who flocked to the stores to buy their bottle of CK then have become parents today. Hence the Let Toys Be Toys campaign launched into the world by parents looking to dispel the stereotypes that divide children into groups according to their gender, and Marks & Spencer who consequently made all of their toy packaging gender-neutral.

Gender-neutral packaging design essentials

The best way to create a gender-neutral packaging design is to start by focusing on functionality rather than form. Aim for a minimalist packaging design – Saana Hellsten’s award-winning ‘Basik’ is a great example – with a neutral, subdued color palette (think black, white, light blue, mint green, teal, …). Rather than shiny surfaces and a complicated structure, opt for matte textures and sleek lines instead. In short, simplicity is key. Inspired by The Dieline