Marking Awards 2021 Packaging Design Competition Starts!

Register before December 15 to enjoy the best price for the presale period!
Note: The Marking Awards 2021 Global Food & Beverage Packaging Design Competition is now open! Slide to the end and see how to apply. Register before December 15 to enjoy the best price for the presale period!


Why does pre-packaged food need interesting packaging?

The world is now filled with variety. Consumers are constantly being dazzled and will only be impressed with truly inspiring designs. Whether on a night trip to the shelves in a convenience store or a search at the Taobao navigation menu during the Double Eleven Shopping Carnival, every cell of the eyes is shouting, "Surprise me!"

When human eyes pass over a shelf, it only takes 0.2 seconds. Hernán Braberman, one of the Marking Awards juries who comes from Argentina, says: "Packaging is the window to the soul of a brand." As eyes are the window to the soul of a person, packaging is like the eyes of the brand: they can be bright and clear, giving a sense of sincerity; or they can be deep and settled, giving an impression of depth. Through them, brands can reveal an interesting soul and a precious character that people want to be associated with; even if it means deflating their wallets.

Imagine the visual impact of an adorable blue cat popping up on the milk shelf - Milgrad Milk has won hearts and minds with this kitten, assembled from the different sides of a milk box.

Imagine holding a bottle of innocent juice in your hand on a cold winter day, with a cute woolly hat on its head - wouldn't it warm your heart?

What's more, just the idea itself may attract you to try it out. For example, you can DIY different flavoured plant milks by twisting the cap, shaking it, and, done.

Source: Depot Branding, innocent@Facebook, Plant Selected @Weibo

Your wallet hurts, but you are happy and full; you don't feel you are losing money, just because of a little design. We are pleased to find that this is an era when the commercial value of a brand's packaging creativity is highly recognised.

Marking Awards believe that food packaging will be enshrined with more creativity, becoming more professional and revealing more of brands' interesting souls. Since the launch in 2016, we've watched more and more food brands focusing on the power of design, and their interesting ideas paid off with great market performance. Now that the curtain has been raised on the stage of MA 2021, show us your design, and tell us how you present the brand's characters with your unique creativity!

Design: The power of focus

Design is about the use of colour and overall impact of the image, a reflection of the designer's thinking about the core of the brand and product. Design captures the moment when people see a product, leaving an impression in the consumers' mind in less than 0.2 seconds and arousing their curiosity to know more.

In the age of too much information, "focus" is a powerful means to settle the wandering eyes to a single point. As for specific strategies, designers can take their own ways: some rely on unique creativity, some on bright and colourful images, and some on whiting out a space deliberately.

Strategies of Design
Source: Backbone Branding, Chicecream, JPDA

For example, on Beak Pick jam, the colorful birds are lively and cute, while at the same time expressing the freshness of flowers and fruits, making it mouth-watering; Pocky Gift directly presents Pocky in the form of a game cartoon on the outer box, with a fresh colour combination that triggers people's desire to collect the series; Chicecream's rice dumpling flavoured ice cream uses symbolic patterns of the reed leaves with bright green color, creating an association with the fragrance of the leaves.

When people are sensing the product with their eyes, the content, colour and structure of the image are a perfect combination to please the consumers, not only with the beautiful shape of the product, but also by highlighting the key points with brief but powerful design language.

Communication: Your story

"Being expressive" is a feature probably most brands have; however, it is often not easy to tell the core of a brand's story with packaging design in a clear and concise manner. How do you tell your story? If it is long and rambling, the audience may be easily distracted and may even skip your part; if it is short and brief, will they be confused and have totally no idea what is going on?

How can you tell a story in an attractive way? A common technique for storytellers is to subtly condense the best parts of a story into a powerful title, while selling the story and leading people to listen until the mystery is revealed at the end. For designers, it's all about getting to the heart of a brand or product's appeal, and then creatively "packaging" it.

Wisdom Rice
Source: Prompt Design

Thailand's healthy brown rice packaging "Wisdom Rice" tells the story of the rice product with a full-page picture of a rice grain. To differentiate the product from other healthy products on the market, the designer emphasized the "hand-made" concept because Thai people have a  perception that rice is "tastier handmade than machine-made", and painted it with a delicate embossment. The story from cow farming to rice husking is thus brought to life.

Foresight: Breakthrough & disrupt

The forward-looking aspect of design is invaluable: you need to first dare to think in order to make it happen. Even the ideas that can't get off the ground by current technical means are meaningful: In the 19th century, the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was considered a science fiction fantasy; only half a century later, it became reality.

Packaging design should dare to think what others don't or haven't.

Who says milk package has to be creamy white?

Source: Backbone Branding

It can be full-body black, which is more striking on the "white" shelf; and when the black coat is removed, the creamy white product inside is even more outstanding with purer elegance.

Who says spices can hardly be impressive?

Spcae Spices
Source: Packaging of the World

Have you ever seen such cool chili powder? It is as if an arrogant and unrestrained red star is sealed in the crystal, and once it is uncovered and sprinkled out, it will reveal its spicy nature and give the dishes a "burning" flavor!

Breakthrough and disrupt. Design needs imagination; the sky is the limit.

Functionality: Smart thinking comes from empathy

When it comes to functions, it often comes down to the word "smart". The function of the package should not only be designed for the product, but also for the people who use it. Ingenuity often comes from simply being more sensitive to people's real needs.

Sugar Detox
Source: Intermarche

The Sugar Detox is designed to gradually reduce people's sugar intake and help them break their addiction to sugar. Each can is labeled with a number, starting at -5% and ending at -50%. With this help, reducing sugar seems no longer that difficult.

On the other hand, some designers are beginning to explore the "multifunctionality" of packaging. Not limited to the traditional protection and identification functions, packages are also being developed for roles beyond.

This plant-based bucket (PBB), for example, is edible! The whole bucket is made of grains, black sesame seeds, etc., which gives it a unique aroma. Not only is it delicious, but it also makes this meal environmentally friendly.

Plant-based Bucket
Source: The Robin collective

These new ideas not only add to the functional role of the package, but also make the package as a whole more dynamic, interactive and interesting.

Business: Be the product's closest companion

The ultimate purpose of all packaging designs is to serve the product and the brand. Especially in the food industry, if the presence of the packaging goes beyond the positioning of the product itself, it may go "over-packaged".

Packaging can reflect the value of the product, so it should match the product positioning in the market. If cheap products are wrapped with advanced packaging, it will be like putting a child in an adult suit, inappropriate and ridiculous.

In addition, the packaging should also be adapted to the sales channel. In the Innopack sub-forum of FBIF 2020, the professional panelists from the packaging design industry mentioned that some packaging may be more suitable for online channels than offline retail stores.

Shangri-La Hoeny
Source: Rice Creation

For example, this honey product is designed with a very enjoyable opening experience: at the moment when the lid is open, it switches from the pure white of snowy mountains in the winter to the colorful scene of birds and flowers in the spring, and the contrast brings consumers a big surprise. If it is for the e-commerce channel, this experience can be well displayed; however, if it is put on the shelf in the supermarket, where the package cannot be unpacked on site, the limitations of the package might be exposed as it's difficult to identify what product it is from a distance. The role of the packaging designer does not end at the design draft, but continues all the way to product distribution.

Sustainability: Ecology and Commerce

Sustainability is the bridge between the present and the future, from the macro level of the planet, to the micro level of an individual. If trees are being cut down without a limit, the earth will suffer from greenhouse effect and lose its sustainability; if a company does not consider the unit cost and spend in an extravagent way, the chain of funds might be broken and the business no longer sustainable.

The value of packaging design also lies in its sustainability. For instance, the plant-based bucket mentioned above can replace plastic buckets and is completely biodegradable, which is sustainable in the ecological sense; but what about its cost? Is there a more expensive technology involved? How much more expensive will it be than a regular product, and will it be accepted by the consumers? These, on the other hand, mean sustainability in the business sense.

The climate change makes the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals imminent. In the face of this inevitable trend, both ecological and commercial sustainabilities need to be achieved with designers' wisdom.

Srisangdao Rice
Source: Prompt Design

The Srisangdao Rice is a typical example. Its eco-package is made from the husk of rice, which is completely biodegradable and can be used as a tissue box after removing the products inside. The packaging material is derived from the by-products of rice production, so the cost is very low; only an existing technology has been used during processing, which gives the product both ecological and commercial sustainabilities.

Design, communication, foresight, functionality, commercial value and sustainability are the six dimensions from which the jury panel will evaluate the entries. For more details, please visit MA website ( The Marking Awards 2021 (Global Food and Beverage Packaging Design Award) is open, and we look forward to seeing your creative entries!

*During the presales period, you only need to choose how many works to apply and pay the application fee. The work submission is expected to begin on December 15, 2020.

About Marking Awards

Initiated by FBIF (Food & Beverage Innovation Forum) in 2016, Marking Awards (MA) is a food and beverage packaging design competition based in Shanghai while targets the global. At an industry forum platform where F&B brands gather, MA was born to discover and encourage brilliant F&B packaging design, promote communication between local and global design communities, and facilitate business between F&B brands and design agencies. We emphasize both aesthetic and commercial values of packages and assess the works from comprehensive aspects. In doing so, we aim to speed up F&B brands’ packaging innovation, enhance functionality of packages, and improve aesthetics of the industry, finally establishing a creative packaging design ecosystem.

Marking Awards 2020 received more than 500 works from over 200 global brand owners, design agencies, packaging suppliers and colleges. After evaluation, 41 winners were selected (visit MA official website  to find more). By now, MA has received attention from World Packaging Organization, served as a bridge between brands and design agencies, and been trying every means to promote interaction between food and design.

Born for Brands, Design for Future!


Outstanding works in Marking Awards 2020

How to apply

Click the registration link(  )to your browser to apply at a presales price. Please note that the presales period will be closed on December 15. Visit Marking Awards official website to see more information.

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