Trend Report 2020: Patterns, Patterns, Patterns

by Bill McCool on 12/18/2019 | 4 Minute Read

2020 is finally here, and it's that time of year where we get to play Nostradamus and tell you where the future of branding and package design is heading. 

This is the fifth installment in our 9-part Trend Report for 2020; to view the other sections, click on the following hyperlinks to read about Brand Merch', The Rise of Non-Alcoholic BoozeWhite Claw Summer, Monochromatic PackagingThe Plant-Based WorldNon-Binary BrandingFlexible Logos, and Material Innovation.


You know what’s nice? Wallpaper. 

There’s something dizzying about seeing the same pattern over and over again when its spread across a room. When you step back, it can become a blurred jumble if you’ve focused on it for too long, but when you come back, there it is, a perfectly sequenced design (I mean, so long as you did an OK job papering it to your wall).

Editorial photograph

Amidst chaos, we desire order, and our chaoses are many. After a year that saw a kitchen sink mentality for designers, we craved structure, perfectly symmetrical structure with a side of bold colors. It’s why you can almost side with someone spouting off an insane conspiracy theory; there’s comfort in finding an organizing principle amidst the mess, and connecting the dots can be therapeutic—and if there are literal dots, even better. 

Editorial photograph

Some of the best gallery space in the country right now can be found on beer cans, and more and more craft brewers are using patterns to dazzling effect.

Editorial photograph

With Overtone Brewing, the patterns created by Thirst Craft are confined to the brand’s “O” wordmark, and finds inspiration in the founder’s love of techno, with beer labels looking more like a pricey 12-inch slab of vinyl or an underground club poster. According to Thirst, “Overtones are frequencies that alter the qualities of a sound. To translate this idea into a design, we used lines and colors to create visual illusions, which changed the qualities of the label in front of your eyes. These patterns tied in with the styles of beer as well as creating a piece of art on the shelf.” 

Editorial photograph

Fair State Co-op and Modern Times collaborated on Spirit Foul, and the can’s dizzying display of dots by Little comes from some of the brewers and their love of ultimate frisbee. Razzle Dazzle also recently redesigned Novo Brazil, and damn-near threw every pattern imaginable at their cans, and they stuck.

Editorial photograph

Even craft soda found an upscale look; Denomination found inspiration in everything from German textile artists to Gucci silk jackets when they created the packaging for Somersault. Stare a little too long, and you’ll wish you had your fainting settee nearby.

Editorial photograph

Method recruited artist and designer Morag Myerscough for a “more is more” set of limited-edition plant-based handwashes and cleaners. Wanting to create a “beautiful, colored jewel for your home,” Myerscough turned in an exhilarating romp for your kitchen sink with max color and a wildly intricate pattern.

Editorial photograph

Little’s unveiled a plastic-free range of instant coffee—the first of its kind in the UK—that relies on aluminum lids and glass jars. Taking inspiration from artisanal bean-to-bar chocolate designs, Little’s founders worked on the packaging refresh in-house, relying upon their design backgrounds to create a color palette and pattern for each of their 14 flavors.

Editorial photograph

And speaking of chocolate, we’d be remiss not to mention Compartés’ new line of organic vegan chocolate bars as the brand has showcased their packaging as a part of the Smithsonian Design Museum’s Cooper Hewitt collection. Once again, Compartés founder Jonathan Grahm releases another exquisite range of chocolates, highlighting his colorful illustration and eclectic patterns.

Editorial photograph

Bottom line? A good pattern will never go out of style. There are plenty of designers reveling in this very idea, and honestly, we can’t get enough of them.

Editorial photograph

You may also like