How to Design Food Packaging in 5 Steps

One of my passions as a creative is packaging design. More specifically, the delicious world of food packaging. The reason I enjoy it so much is because the food industry is incredibly competitive so coming up with packaging that’s both functional and eye-catching is an interesting challenge. 

If you’re considering investing in food packaging design, there are a few things you’ll need to think about. Keep reading to learn my process for how to design food packaging, split into five easy-to-approach steps.

What is packaging design?

One of our core offerings at Courtney Kim Studio is packaging design, which isn’t just about what you put your products in, but also about how you can stand out from your competition. It’s the process of creating suitable housing for your products that’s on-brand, functional, and memorable.

When it comes to food packaging design, there’s a little more to it. It’s an important part of the FMCG industry as food packaging is usually consumed quickly and restocked on the shelves just as fast. There are some crucial questions you’ll need to ask yourself before you begin, such as:

  • Where will customers encounter the product?

  • How will the product be consumed?

  • How can the packaging be used by customers?

  • What do customers need to know about the product?

  • Does an image of the product need to be on the packaging?

  • Is it important for customers to see the product through the packaging?

  • What look and feel will match the product?

Fun food packaging ideas to inspire you

To inspire you, here are a few examples of packaging design specifically for food. Take note of what you’re drawn to and think about why it caught your eye (it’s a great exercise to do when considering your own products).

Seoul bowl menu folio menu bowl SEOUL BOWL packaging

Seoul Bowl

This was a super fun project! Designing the food packaging for Seoul Bowl was a great opportunity to take aspects of South Korean culture and apply them to an Australian dining context. I opted for a two-colour palette to make the packaging pop as well as incorporated some illustrations and iconography. The best part? All the packaging is sustainable and eco-friendly.

 manymore mockup for website


At Courtney Kim Studio, we’re big fans of social enterprise businesses. Manymore is a great example of a business built around doing good: they give 100% of their profits to local community programs. So when it came time to design the branding and subsequent packaging for this wonderful cafe, I knew I had to make something special. 

The gold and blue colours, when paired with the geometric design of their logo, elevate the cafe. The branding is a reflection of how I wanted their customers to feel when they order from the cafe: warm, regal, and inclusive.

Duotone Coffeebag Mockup


You can find Duotone, a health and wellness cafe, in Perth. What I loved about this project was getting the opportunity to design the brand from the ground up. Starting with the name, I created a two-tone colour palette to match, one that’s bright and bold (like the founders). Then, we rolled out the branding in-store, all collateral, and even the specialty coffee packaging. It goes to show that you can do a lot more with less.

Follow these steps in your next packaging design project

Step 1: Do your research

Start by exploring any food packaging that catches your eye or is a direct competitor of your brand. Make a note of what information is on the packaging, the look and feel, as well as any specific design features. By doing a little research up front, you’ll save yourself (and your packaging designer) time and energy during the design process.

As part of your research process, make sure you understand and adhere to any food safety rules and protocols in your state or country. Different places have slightly different rules on how food can be stored and sold, so make sure your packaging doesn’t ruin your product.

Step 2: Define your brand story

Storytelling is the beating heart of any successful brand. It creates connection and builds trust with your audience because they know who you are and why you do what you do. Your food packaging is an extension of your brand and a great opportunity to demonstrate what makes you unique. You might like to reflect on why you’re in the food industry and what key milestones got you to where you are today. And don’t forget that how your food product is made is a great talking point! 

Step 3: Know your audience

Having a deeper understanding of who will be consuming your food is how to give your brand the best chance of reaching the right people. People may buy from you online or in-store, so creating something that speaks their language and is to the point will make it easier for them to buy from you.Good design can do a lot of the selling for you, so get to know your people where possible.

Step 4: Be smart with space

When it comes to your packaging design, think ‘less is more’, particularly in terms of design. Play with the placement of design elements but be sure to make smart decisions about it so that it doesn’t distract potential customers from the product inside.

Step 5: Surprise and delight!

Your food packaging is yet another opportunity to put a smile on someone’s dial. You can do this with the copy and how you describe the product or communicate the brand message, but also with design. Think about who you’re trying to reach and what they might like to see when they have the product in their hands. 

Let Courtney Kim Studio handle your next food packaging design project

You’ve done the hard part, you’ve created your business and its products. Don’t let all that hard work go to waste with poor packaging design. Contact us for a free quote and to discuss how our team can help you stand out on the shelves or online.