Posted on by Elspeth Devine


With pressure building from consumers and governments alike to tackle the global sustainability issue, it’s no surprise that minimalist packaging is making waves among retail and e-commerce businesses. Here’s what you need to know about minimalist packaging and the reasons to make the switch.

What is minimalist packaging?

Minimalist packaging is a philosophy rather than a fixed design. To adopt a minimalist approach, companies remove as much excess, clutter, and ‘noise’ from their packaging as possible – using sufficient packaging for the product’s needs, but no more. Minimalist packaging solutions mean partnering the item with a box or wrapping that fits it perfectly, cutting down on unnecessary padding, and reducing the amount of ink.

In practice, therefore, ‘minimalist packaging’ means different things for different products – it doesn’t involve under-packaging items and exposing them to the risk of theft or damage in transit. Packaging may still have eye-catching logos, designs, and instructions, but only as much as is needed.

How does minimalist packaging help sustainability?

The minimalist packaging approach has many ecological benefits. By using fewer resources, it requires less water and energy to produce, lowering its carbon footprint. The footprint is further reduced by the increased space efficiency of minimalist packaging, which makes better use of the room inside containers and lorries, enabling more items to be shipped in each journey. Minimalist packaging is also fully recyclable and often biodegradable, giving it a healthy carbon lifecycle.

Apple, Samsung, and other consumer electronics manufacturers have perfected the art of minimalist packaging, creating functional and secure packaging that is aesthetically pleasing while avoiding the appearance of being over packaged.

Is minimalist packaging cost effective?

There are a range of long-term cost benefits to minimalist packaging, although adopting minimalist packaging won’t immediately mean lower costs. Minimalist packaging requires careful design to maximise economy of space and use of materials, and one of the consumer appeals of minimalist packaging is that it ‘looks expensive’. You may need to invest more time and money into your design and assembly stages when using minimalist packaging than you would with less carefully considered options. This being said, a professionally designed minimalist packaging strategy can help you conserve resources and save on production costs long term.

The most obvious immediate benefit, however, is fuel economy, as optimising transport space reduces energy costs to their bare minimum. Additionally, using less packaging requires fewer resources to produce, so it is significantly cheaper in terms of production than less sustainable alternatives. Minimalist packaging can also help companies to save money through exemptions to the plastic packaging tax, which comes into law in April 2022.

What do consumers think about minimalist packaging?

Minimalist packaging may feel like a radical new trend, but it’s got a surprisingly long pedigree. First established under Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe’s famous “less is more” principle, it has long been associated with advanced technology, innovative materials, and pure forms of geometry. As such, consumers find minimalist packaging compelling on multiple levels. A comprehensive research study looked into how customers feel about minimalist packaging described as being “at the forefront of consumer culture,” and found that it focuses the consumer’s mind on the essentials of the brand.

How does minimalist packaging affect brand image?

Researchers have found that the main messages that companies send via minimalist packaging are self-confidence, trust in the product, and social responsibility. E-commerce businesses that opt for minimalist packaging show their customers that they have so much faith in their merchandise that they do not need to go overboard with the unboxing experience. “Less is more” remains a simple message, but a powerful one.

What next?

At Kudos Giftwrap, we are thrilled that more companies are adopting the minimalist approach. Our commitment is to protect the environment, and to support companies making the change. For more information, please give us a call today.

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