Thinking about the box with interactive packaging designs

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Color outside the lines

What is the main characteristic of any successful business? It solves problems for consumers. The more problems your business solves, the more consumers will look to you. Why not think outside the box to set your brand ahead of your competitors?

In fact, why not think about the box?


Thanks to technological innovation, gone are the days when a package was nothing more than a box with tape. Businesses have learned to use the distribution of merchandise as an opportunity to provide additional solutions for their customers. This is where interactive packaging comes into play.

Sure, the primary purpose of packaging is to safely deliver products. By using interactive packaging designs, though, businesses also have the chance to impress their customers, and, hopefully, inspire repeat business. Doing so will develop a brand that truly revolves around your customers and their needs.

Check out these interactive packaging designs that have revolutionized the shipping industry.

Interactive packaging with QR codes

interactive packaging QRCode
Photo: Small Business Trends

You have probably seen a Quick Response (QR) code before, but do you really grasp their potential? QR codes are perhaps the most simple interactive marketing solution for packaging designs, and there’s a good reason for that.

QR codes grew in popularity with the rise of mobile device use. Almost every smartphone has a QR code reader that’s as simple as taking a photo. The amount of data that can be stored in a QR code far outperforms the traditional barcode.

Use a QR code on your packaging to engage customers in a variety of ways — from directing users to your website to downloading your business’s mobile app.

It’s a quick, effective way to continue interactions between your customers and your brand, even after they’ve received their package.

Save a round of dishwashing

It’s hard to beat the convenience of ordering food online and having it delivered to your door. And one food service has taken convenience to a whole new level. Designed by Emma Smart, these genius lunchboxes are now used by ASDA. Check out this interactive packaging that turns into the plate the customer needs to eat their meal:

interactive packaging Food Delivery
Photo: Emma Smart

What’s the point of ordering take-out if you have to do dishes anyway? Here is one problem that can be solved with some simple folding.

No need to buy hangers

Delivering retail merchandise also has room for improvement with this innovative packaging design:

interactive packaging Hanger
Photo: Hangerpak design; image via boredpanda

For businesses that ship clothing items, look no further for a packaging design that doubles as something truly useful. If you add your business’s logo and some colorful branding, then your customer will be reminded of your innovation every time they hang a shirt.

Not only will the provision of a folded hanger save your customer money (even if minimal), but consider how eco-friendly such an action would be. Plastic hangers might be on their way out the door.

Bring out your customer’s artistic side

As mentioned above, interactive packaging design should focus on continuing engagement with your customer even after delivery of a product. While marketing with QR codes is a great way to get them to your website or social media accounts, you don’t have to be as blatant in your marketing efforts.

Many businesses have started implementing packaging designs that simply entertain their customers.


Create a name for your brand as one who is fun and creative with some of these artsy ideas.

Related: What’s your brand personality? Take our quiz to find out! 

For example, you can challenge your customer to fill this wine bottle label with a design of their choice. The options are endless!

interactive packaging Wine
Photo: Cuatro Almas

You can even take it a step further to see if they can handle the patience for this origami label:

interactive packaging Origami
Photo: Origami beer label design by Clara Lindsten; image via boredpanda

You might even consider labels where customers can color in a picture. Inspiring the craftiness in your customer will go a long way in keeping them engaged and entertained by your brand.

Ensure optimal freshness

When you go to the grocery store, it’s smart to check the expiration date before you purchase a perishable item. Then, you take it home and put it in your fridge, right? How many times have you forgotten to eat a food item before it spoils? Don’t worry — it happens to everyone.

That’s where a new trend in interactive package design can come in handy. These food companies have taken to expressing the actual freshness (or temperature) of a product through a color-changing feature on their packages.

Consider this packaging for a meat-based product, which turns bluer as time goes on:

interactive packaging Meat
Photo: To-Genkyo

Spotting the color change in your fridge will definitely make you more aware of the shortening time frame you have to enjoy it!

Conversely, any wine enthusiast knows that the beverage only gets better with age. Check out this cute transforming label that will help you determine if it’s been long enough to suit your taste.

Interactive Packaging 13 Crimes
Photo: Matsu wine label; via Pinterest

Some packages use color-changing techniques to specify the temperature of an item. For example, if a product needs to be at a certain temperature to be enjoyed, customers might be able to tell straight from the color of the package, rather than fishing out a thermometer!

Challenge your customer with a puzzle

This last trend comes in handy for any customer who likes a challenge. You might think that mazes and word searches are only for children, but think again. These wine bottles show that even adults can enjoy a quick puzzle challenge!

interactive packaging Maze
Photo: El Nomada wine label; via Pinterest
interactive packaging Word Search
Photo: El Buscador wine label; via Pinterest

Don’t underestimate the power of puzzles. Adding one to your product’s label engages your customer on a stimulating level that they won’t soon forget. Plus, it will make them feel like a kid again!

Further trends in interactive packaging design

Keep an eye out for continuous developments in the world of packaging. You’ll find that modern design follows certain trends that you’d do well to remember.

Packaging has a recent focus on maintaining a responsible level of sustainability. Many businesses are scaling back the number of plastic products they use, for example.

In addition, customer personalization has become increasingly popular throughout all marketing avenues, and packaging is no exception. Consider having your packages delivered with a handwritten note to let your customers know that they are the priority every step of the way. Custom packaging options are sure to establish your brand as one dedicated to each individual customer.

At the end of the day, you can easily stick with a cheap, bland cardboard box with tape. To show your customers your dedication to problem-solving, though, we encourage you to get creative when it comes to interactive packaging designs that make sense for your business.

Image by: Jeremy Galliani on Unsplash