For just about any consumer product, packaging design is one of the most important aspects of its branding. That’s because in most cases, the product’s packaging is the first thing the buyer sees, either in an online listing, on a store shelf or in a friend’s home. Soap is no exception. But soap packaging needs to be more than just attractive—it needs to communicate that the product within will clean well and smell nice.
Beyond that, your soap brand needs to set itself apart from the competition. Brands can do this by indicating through packaging and design if it’s vegan or animal cruelty-free, if it’s good for the environment, or if it’s a specialized product or for a niche market. And it’s that’s not enough, there’s also each brand’s individual persona to consider. That’s a lot of stuff to get across in packaging! Luckily we got some creative and inspiring soap packaging ideas that look and smell great.
Organic shapes on soap packaging
Lots of soap packaging uses organic shapes in its design. This doesn’t necessarily mean organic in the eco-focused sense, with images of leaves and trees all over the packaging (though plenty of soap brands take this approach to their design). By organic shapes, we mean shapes that don’t look like they were precisely plotted out in a design program or with the aid of a protractor. We mean wavy shapes, flowy shapes, organically uneven shapes that look and feel like they were sketched out by a human hand.
These shapes communicate a sense of realness through imperfection. There’s a handmade, homespun quality to them that communicates to buyers that the soap isn’t some mass-produced product chock full of unpronounceable ingredients. It inspires trust in buyers and assures them that the soap they’re lathering onto their bodies is made of healthy, often naturally derived ingredients that won’t cause irritation or impact their wellbeing.
Using black for soap packaging
When you think of the best colors to use for soap packaging (think color psychology), you probably think of light blue, maybe light green or pink, and definitely white. Not brown or gray or especially not black, right? Actually, black can be a fantastic choice for soap packaging.
When it comes to soap packaging, black works for a few reasons:
- It’s a dark, stark backdrop that makes white and other bright colors pop
- It’s sophisticated and communicates a luxury experience. For the upscale soap purchaser, black packaging promises pure luxury
- Activated charcoal is a popular ingredient for soaps and other self-care products. If your soap contains activated charcoal, black packaging puts this fact front and center
- It stands out against competing soap brands on the shelf. Even though more and more soap brands are embracing black packaging, it’s still a relatively uncommon color in this space. With a packaging design that’s all black or prominently features the color black, you’ll be sure to stand out on the crowded soap shelf at the supermarket
Holster-style soap packaging
When you’ve got a solid bar of soap, you don’t necessarily need to pack it up in a whole box or bag. A holster gives you somewhere to print your logo and any pertinent information while giving the buyer something to grab onto when they take the soap off a shelf and give it a sniff. Sometimes, that sniff is what clinches the sale—so if your soap smells amazing, make that smell impossible to miss by going with holster packaging.
This kind of packaging can be more eco-friendly than others because there’s simply less of it and because it can be made of recycled materials. Take a look at these holster-style soap packaging ideas and you’ll notice that most, perhaps even all, are made of cardboard—an easy material to recycle and source sustainably.
Soap packaging with nature imagery
We talked a bit about nature-inspired shapes in the section on organic imagery on soap packaging, but not all nature imagery fits into the “organic shapes” category. Some soap packaging features photos, realistic illustrations of flowers, trees and leaves.
For soap brands that want to emphasize they have natural ingredients, using nature-inspired imagery can be a great way to do it.
Take note of the colors present in these designs. While green is usually the color of choice for brands that want to emphasize their use of natural and organic ingredients and their focus on being eco-friendly and sustainable, it’s not the only color that can do this. Bright, colorful wildflowers, soothing tans and other earthy tones can all communicate these same values. Just stay away from the neons and metallics if you’re going for the nature-inspired look because those don’t really work here.
Liquid soap packaging ideas
Although a bunch of the soap packaging ideas we’ve looked at so far are for bar soap, there are a ton of creative ways to package liquid soap too. Take a look at all the different liquid soap bottle shapes and colors designers have created:
One of the best things about liquid soap is how easy it is to package in refillable and otherwise reusable bottles. For an eco-friendly soap brand, this kind of sustainable packaging is a no-brainer.
Cleverly disguised soap packaging
And then there are soap packaging designs that don’t look like soap packaging designs. Some look like gemstones. Others look like chocolate. All of them are creative and fun.
Soap is one of those products that can be packaged up in a seemingly endless number of creative ways because it’s so versatile. Although your soap packaging should always make it clear that the product inside is soap (you wouldn’t want somebody to accidentally bite into your chocolate bar-shaped soap!) you can have some fun by really tailoring it to your brand’s specific audience.
Connect with a soap packaging designer today
There are a lot of ways soap packaging design is a similar process to other kinds of packaging design…and a few key ways it isn’t. While your soap packaging design absolutely needs to effectively showcase your brand and make your product stand out from its competitors without confusing buyers about what’s inside, it also needs to communicate that the product inside smells nice and will keep them clean.