Experts Speak: Festive packaging takes a non-traditional approach this year

Festive is a time when consumers and brands alike, are all decked up to give their very best. Design experts weigh in on the importance of packaging during the festivities and what the future holds.

Sneha Medda
New Update
festive packaging

When sweets shops near you start dazzling up their packaging from mundane colours to glitters and art, it's a sign of the arrival of the festive season in India. Decking up and revamping during the festive season is a phenomenon that brands have readily embraced over the years. 

Shashwat Das Founder of Almond Branding, says that the trick to creating memorable festive packaging is using elaborate storytelling and cultural nuances to connect with the audience emotionally. 

Last year, D2C brand’s Diwali gift box was an ode to Ramayan. With picturesque art and vibrant colours, the brand wove in the cultural nuances of the festival. Similarly, this year, the brand’s Diwali gift box took a trip down India’s history and its diverse dynasties that helped shape the nation that is today. 



Previously, brands have been seen adorning the traditional colours, but experts have witnessed a shift in festive approach this year. 

“Earlier, the colours in consideration would be limited to traditional festive colours including gold and silver, but there's a growing trend to incorporate non-traditional colours like pastels, metallics, and jewel tones to add a fresh twist to the brand's festive image,” said Das.

No brand can skip the festive season, says Ashwini Deshpande - Director of Elephant Design, and she recommended skipping the traditional route. 

“Indian maximalism done with a contemporary touch is definitely in. Festive occasions are those times when one can step out of the regular, just the way we change our wardrobes & wear brighter colours, metallics and embellished accessories. Bells & whistles,” said Deshpande.

For example, brands like and Lays India moved away from the typical colour palette of traditional festive colours. Both brands embraced vibrant colours to give their products a festive makeover. 




The idea behind this pivot in colours is to gain a premium feel. 

Ashish Mishra, CEO of Interbrand, India & South Asia said, “The festive season feel is certainly a shade different this year. At a glance, one can sense the effort at sophistication in the graphics, colours, compositions, stylization etc. It’s basically reflecting the premiumisation as a mega trend we are witnessing in our market and society. The next big theme after urbanisation.”

He spotted global brands like Amazon are trying harder to get loud and desi, while the local brands are being understated.

Deshpande further reminded keeping the brand values in mind and playing within that space.

“Depending upon the brand positioning, the packaging can be luxurious & bespoke or premium yet accessible. It all depends upon the space that the brand plays within,” she added.

Confectionary brand Halidram’s rolled out its Navratri special menu along with a festive edition packaging which saw animated characters playing dandiya. Similarly, Fortune Oils rolled out its Durga Pujo edition packaging in West Bengal. The edition was aligned with the festival that celebrates the food, playing on the cultural nuances of the state.  




She added, “Limited edition packaging for the festive season is always an interesting exercise for designers. You can step out of the regular system and become celebratory through colours, forms, materials and messaging. Depending upon the brand positioning, the packaging can be luxurious & bespoke or premium yet accessible.”

Globally, brands have started bringing a premium feel to their festive packaging, which was seen in UK brand Walkers’ limited edition festive range that resonated with its core beliefs of offering premium crisps in the country. 



Gautam Patil, Co-Founder & Design Head of PlusOne reminds what festive packaging and gifting is truly about.

“Gifting is all about surprises, it may reflect love on oneself, feeling on oneself, can reflect enthusiasm and encouragement when beautifully packaged. The festive season allows brands to leverage this time to put their best foot forward and experiment,” said Patil.

At the same time, global exposure has led to a shift in consumer expectations.

“With the increase in global exposure, Indian consumers' taste has evolved so have their aesthetic expectations. I see brands experiment a lot more to cater to this now.

Trends may continue to evolve as consumer preferences change and new innovations emerge in the packaging industry. What is important for the brands is to stay attuned to their target audience, market trends, and the specific festivals they are targeting to determine which packaging trends are most relevant for their products and consumers,” said Patil.

The Do’s and Don’ts of festive packaging

While limited edition packaging is a common sight during festivals, it is important to remember your core values. Brands tend to digress from their long-built individuality. 

Deshpande said, “Festivals, just like movies or cricket, form a large part of our celebrations in India. I am pleasantly surprised by newer categories jumping into the celebratory space. But, it is extremely important for the brands to stay authentic and celebrate rather than looking at it just as an opportunity for increasing sales.” 

Renu Somani, NCD of Thought Blurb Communications said, “Clients will always want to maximize shelf-throw of the designs, but that needs to be weighed against the brand's character. The designs have to complement the look that the customer relates to the products.” 

Somani explains her point by referring to Starbucks. “[Starbucks] is branded differently for Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving and so on. The unmistakable mermaid logo is always present, perhaps against a different backdrop.”



Sharing how to approach festive packaging, Das said, “I would advise the brands not to compromise their brand's core identity in an attempt to be festive. They shouldn’t also overcomplicate the design – simplicity can be just as effective. While a brand should stick to their brand colours as much as possible to capture the festive spirit they could add a dash of bright celebratory colours. They can incorporate festive colours into their packaging by using them as accents or highlights that complement their original brand colours.”

Limited-edition festive packaging also contributes to more waste. 

Deshpande said, “We need to be mindful of over-packaging & unsustainable materials. As designers, we can always suggest mindfulness.” 

The future is minimalistic & sustainable

The packaging and design industry plays an important role in bringing consumers. Authenticity, minimalism and newer categories opening their avenues are a few trends that experts see emerging in the field.  

Das pointed out a few packaging trends that he foresees:

  1. Sustainable packaging options to align with eco-conscious consumers

  2. Minimalistic and elegant designs that focus on premium quality

  3. Personalization through custom messages, imagery, or even augmented reality elements

The festive season is a time when advertisers go all out with their marketing. As packaging plays a crucial part in communicating with the audience, storytelling, a mix of colours and experiments take centre stage. This year, brands were more non-traditional and moving forward, the landscape could become more minimalistic. 


festive season Festive packaging Diwali