Nathan Dube

By: Nathan Dube on December 5th, 2019

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Vintage Packaging: Unboxing Nostalgia

Packaging Materials | Packaging Design | Packaging Psychology

One of the hot trends in the realm of packaging which will continue rising in popularity throughout the coming year is vintage packaging. Hearkening back to the bygone days of old, vintage packaging supplies tug at the heartstrings of millions of people, often regardless of age. What exactly is driving this trend? Why is it that as we literally head into the future that vintage packaging is making such a stir? In the article below, we will delve into the curious rise of vintage style as we dive headfirst into 2020.


Why Vintage Packaging?


It may seem odd to some people that as we enter into the 2020s (a time period that has long been considered the epoch of "the future" by books, films and other works of fiction) one of the biggest trends in the world of packaging is going to be all things vintage. Considering how high technology has invaded almost every aspect of our lives and packaging supplies are slowly merging with digital technologies, it is fair to be a bit confused about the rise of vintage packaging at this current time.


Vintage gift


That being said, there are some very good reasons for the increasing popularity of vintage design in modern packaging supplies. From nostalgic color tones to the sensation of luxury and quality that vintage designs often evoke, it is hard to deny the allure of the vintage aesthetic. When it comes down to it, there are three main factors driving interest in vintage packaging. Perhaps it is of no surprise that going into the 2020s, the vibe of the 1920s is so prevalent...




Vintage packaging has proven to express a level of quality to consumers that have them reaching for products packaged with "old school" visual dynamics. "They don't make them like they used to" rings true in the ears of many folks today including younger generations who can't actually remember the "good old days".



vintage antique radio dial


Regardless of age, more and more consumers are choosing products that are packaged in vintage designs. Everything from DVDs to hand soaps and lotions, from ice cream and candies to toothpaste and electronics, vintage imagery is taking hold of countless items and consumers are eating it up.


Simply stated, vintage design suggests an air of quality regardless of its actual presence in the product. Consumers buy with their eyes and quite frankly, when it comes to quality in packaging, the axiom of "what is old is new again" rings true for many of today's consumers.


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Disengagement From Technology


As a literal antithesis to one of 2020's other hot packaging trends (digital packaging), many companies including tech-based businesses are attempting to leverage the vintage look to help consumers temporarily disengage from our overly digitized world. As many people's lives are becoming over-saturated with technology, the vintage aesthetic of certain packaging supplies allows us to disconnect, if but only for a moment, from these modern dynamics of life.




Vintage packaging is also achieving winning results by offering simplicity to the consumer. Many consumers, particularly younger generations, do not want overly complicated packaging supplies and are willing to go out of their way to avoid products that ignore this desire. Once again, vintage packaging is able to capitalize on this as many vintage designs rely on simplicity as a tool to invoke quality and a dedication to excellence.


Vintage shelves


This has resulted in younger buyers reaching for products sporting vintage packaging. Furthermore, it would seem that "The Dieline" is correct in their conviction that "analog is the new vintage". Going back to 2018, it is clear that vintage will only continue to gain more attention from consumers as time goes on.

From The Dieline:


"Vintage has been a long-running and highly effective design trend. For 2018, the new vintage is analog. Consumers crave an offline experience, so vintage design has started to evolve into analog. It no longer references a certain era or time period but looks specifically offline, non-digital, and IRL. Sign-painting techniques also dominate the analog trend, with slab serif and script fonts referencing subtle, hand-painted imperfections in their lines.

“As the tides of technology rage on,” marketing and content strategist Katie Perry said earlier this year, "2017 saw several examples of people and businesses gravitating around purposefully non-digital aims. These included companies that, despite being rooted in technology, aspire to help people unplug and unwind (#meta). Calm, a meditation app, was named Apple’s App of the Year.

Meanwhile, companies like Getaway and Hipcamp gained popularity by connecting people with nature. Brands are getting on board, too. Casper hosted a camping outing for its community during the solar eclipse, and this past fall, REI extended its #OptOutside campaign for a third straight year, urging people to enjoy nature instead of shopping on Black Friday.”


Potential Drawbacks


While there is much good to laud upon the resurgence of the classic styling of vintage packaging, there are some concerns about this new trend. Not unlike vintage packaging's cousin luxury packaging, there are some reasonable questions regarding environmental impact for some types of vintage wares. Not all forms of vintage packaging rest upon simplicity in material combinations. With high quality and eye-catching packaging, sometimes an excess of materials combined into one package can result in difficulty or impossibility in recycling.

Vintage boxes

With high-end vintage packaging leering into the luxury packaging realm, it is not uncommon to find multiple materials in one package stuck together with glue or adhesives that make separating the materials virtually impossible. This of course results in a lack of recycling or the inability to recycle the materials at all.


The vintage packaging market will need to walk the tightrope between the expected quality of the packaging while also being aware of the environmental impact of the materials. Companies will have to continue making it a point to keep an eye on sustainability as these environmental concerns are going to remain front and center for many consumers. In a world where minimalist packaging is also beginning to skyrocket, brands hoping to capitalize on the debonair vibe of vintage packaging will need to proceed with caution when it comes to waste byproducts.




You may be looking for a holiday gift that stirs the memories of your childhood or perhaps you are simply looking for a piece of nostalgia that brings to mind the quality and integrity of the days of old. Either way, you can be sure that the vintage packaging trend will be in full effect for the holidays. It also appears that this trend will only continue to draw consumers as we venture deeper into 2020.


For companies who are looking to connect with consumers in a new way, perhaps this old-fashioned approach to packaging will produce the perfect display for your product. If nothing else, you can count on store shelves glistening with classic color tones, telling typography and simplistic descriptions of the contents inside as the demand for vintage packaging expands. It would be fair to say that for the foreseeable future, vintage packaging is here to stay.


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About Nathan Dube

As the Digital Marketing Specialist at Industrial Packaging, I am honored to create content for such a phenomenal company and work with one of the greatest teams in the Packaging Industry. Whether creating a video, writing blog posts or generating other pieces of content and multimedia, I am always excited to help educate and inspire our prospects and clients to reach their highest potential in regards to their packaging processes and needs.