37 ice cream packaging designs to freeze out competition

Estimated reading time: 13 minutes

It doesn’t take a lot for us to scream for ice cream, but eye-catching ice cream packaging definitely helps. If you’re planning to launch a mouth-watering product that’ll freeze out the competition, we’ve got you covered for packaging inspiration.

Whether it’s vegan or eco-friendly options you’re looking to pursue, ice cream packaging design now carries the all-important task of staying transparent to their customers without compromising on style.

But before delving into the designs, it’s important to take a step back and think about all the important aspects to go into your ice cream packaging. In this article, we break down all the elements you need to know, before looking at ice cream packaging design trends that are seriously delicious.

How to plan your packaging

Ice cream packaging materials

One of the first things you need to consider is the type of ice cream packaging you’re working with. Figuring out the canvas where your design will live requires you to get familiar with what kind of ice cream you’re selling—is it an ice cream sandwich or gelato? A single scoop ice cream in a tub or a knickerbocker glory?

These are the most common types of packaging for the different types of ice cream:

  • Plastic or paper wrapping for individual ice lollies or ice cream sandwiches
  • Cardboard or paper boxes for multi-packs
  • Plastic tubs or glass jars for scoop ice cream

It’s also important to think about the durability of your chosen ice cream packaging. It must go through strict food safety and hygiene standards to ensure it can withstand very cold temperatures to keep the ice cream fresh. This means you have a limited type of materials to work with, and that can affect the way you design your ice cream packaging.

Plastic has long been the favorite for ice cream packaging. If you choose to go down this route then talk with suppliers about what the environmental impact would be for using plastics. Are the materials they are using made out of recyclable materials, for instance? And how much energy, time and resources does it take to recycle those materials? Even if this isn’t a top priority for your brand, it’s important to be conscious of the environmental impact your brand is making, so you can be transparent with your audience.

Ice cream packaging must withstand long periods in freezers at near-zero temperatures. The last thing you want is to have smeared ink or bleeding colors because the wrapping doesn’t mix well with the wax coating of your ice cream tub.

So, ensure you’ve researched the type of ink that will work on your packaging surfaces. For example, if you’re working with polypropylene, which is a popular option for ice cream tubs or containers, you’ll want to use epoxy inks.

Alternatively, you can use a decorative wrap on your ice cream packaging, but be aware that this will cost more than a simple print.

Above all, your ice cream packaging material has to do its number one job: protecting the ice cream inside and keeping its original quality and shape.

Explore sustainable options

Another consideration to make when choosing your ice cream packaging material is whether it’s made up of sustainable components. With advancing technology making it even easier to process and develop sustainable materials for packaging, it’s rare to find ice cream packaging that’s not eco-friendly. From repurposed plastic or glass jars to compostable paperboard, sourcing durable materials doesn’t have to be unkind to the environment.

Sacred Serve ice cream packaging design

Sacred Serve ice cream packaging via Packaging World

Other than using bio-based materials, another way to ensure your ice cream packaging is sustainable is by adopting a zero-waste approach to your design process. Ice cream brand Sacred Serve uses a food-grade, one-piece design in a compostable carton. This eliminates the need to produce lids that would undoubtedly create more waste.

Riesco ice cream packaging design

Riesco ice cream packaging by Widarto Impact via Dieline

Where we as a society collectively shift to becoming more environmentally conscious, eco-friendly ice cream packaging wins brownie points, even without the fancy branding and loud design styles.

Create brand consistency

Your packaging has got to be consistent with the product you’re selling. For example, if your ice cream brand is geared toward health-conscious customers, it doesn’t hurt to support that messaging with a clean, minimalist design highlighting natural, pared-back ingredients. Or if it’s ice lollies targeting children, create colorful, jovial wrapping designs that clearly communicate the ingredients for their discerning parents.

Nora’s Ice Cream packaging design

Nora’s Ice Cream packaging by KarenW-Design via 99designs by Vista.

Whatever you do with the look and feel of your packaging, the number one rule is to make sure it represents your brand philosophy and its messaging is in line with what your ice cream is all about.

Form and function

Considering this particular element in your design journey is worthwhile and can create the extra opportunity to let your packaging and design shine.

Take a walk in your customer’s shoes. Consider who usually buys your ice cream and think about how (and where) they would eat it.

Are customers finding your product at the supermarket, for example? How about a cafe or a mini-mart? If it’s one of the latter options, it’s likely customers are going to be eating it on the go. In that case, ensure your ice cream packaging design includes a small spoon tucked smartly into the lid. Or if your customers buy their ice cream in larger quantities, then consider a functional carry box so they can easily take it with them without fear of spilling.

Messina ice cream carry box design

Messina ice cream carry box via Messina

Even if your ice cream packaging doesn’t need these extra functions, knowing what your customers want can help inform you of that extra flourish that will make your packaging truly special.

If your business sells artisan ice cream, then think about how your customers see it. They may consider a tub of ice cream from there as a special treat and something to cherish. So why not add a beautiful, eco-friendly paper to wrap the polystyrene container in for that special unboxing experience? It will help create better engagement with customers and make your brand more memorable for them.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some stunning ice cream packaging aesthetics!

Tasteful trends in ice cream packaging design

Text-focused design

The Nice Company ice cream packaging design

The Nice Company ice cream packaging by PARTNERS IN CRIME via Dieline

Text-driven design is everywhere at the minute, so it’s no surprise that it’s currently at the forefront of ice cream packaging too. These designs allow the written words to take center stage.

There’s one particular style that’s emerging to be the favorite, and that’s the rounded lettering style. With healthier, more sustainable food choices becoming the norm, the softer and curvier lettering styles emphasize this message of kindness and approachability.

Coco frozen yogurt packaging design

Coco frozen yogurt packaging by Anu Manohar via Packaging Of The World

Smooth edges and fluid font styles are not only great for conveying a positive message in lifestyle choices, but they’re also ways to build trust with customers because they’re considered friendlier and more open.

Now by Naturals ice cream packaging design

Now by Naturals ice cream packaging by Drink water design via Dieline

Now by Naturals ice cream packaging design cleverly uses this curvy font style to represent how its ice cream is made: the design takes inspiration from the swirling motion of mixing milk and cream during the production.

The result? A gorgeously bouncy and fluid lettering that conjures up the image of a delicious, creamy and rich ice cream—yum.

Whimsical prints

Add the perfect flourish to an otherwise simple ice cream packaging with a whimsical flair. With its charismatic colors and imaginative motifs, it’s sure to be a hit among audiences of all ages.

Kissyo mochi ice cream packaging design

Kissyo mochi ice cream packaging by Anna Rupprecht via Packaging Of The World

These designs feature colorful characters, cartoon monster faces and video game-inspired illustrations to keep it playful and fun. Abstract illustrations help make the whimsical design style work here, as they allow you to get creative with the message and leave a lot to the customers’ imagination.

Mayozhni ice cream packaging design

Mayozhni ice cream packaging by Doping Creative Agency via World Brand Design

Bright colors and juvenile character expressions convey a sense of fun-loving mischief. The designs might look like they’re geared toward kids, but adults will surely appreciate the whimsical flourish for bringing them back to the joyful, simpler times of their childhood.

Nostalgic style

These days, our tendency to prefer healthier options that are vegan or made with real fruit makes us think back to the good old days when they were made naturally and using only pure ingredients. This yearning translates into retro-style ice cream packaging designs that pay homage to the authentic ’50s style.

Think heavy use of pastel-hued stripes, old-school cursive lettering and rubber hose character design that call back to those days when you could pronounce every single thing that goes into your favorite ice cream.

Wally's ice cream tubs with rubber hose characters

Wally’s vegan ice cream packaging by Anastasia S. via 99designs by Vista.

The packaging itself may be veering more toward the conventional route too, which keeps it in line with the old-fashioned ice creamery of yesteryear. Think of a classic freezer-friendly tub or carton box that looks good and stores easily in your household freezer.

Not only do they serve as the perfect neutral canvas for your design—as opposed to irregular-shaped containers such as cones—but the packaging is easier to produce sustainably. For example, the box ice cream packaging promotes waste reduction as a one-piece container, or the tub can use food-grade materials that are biodegradable.

Clear and transparent

With a whopping 94% of customers likely to show brand loyalty if a company is transparent about their business, it’s little wonder why companies opt for the open and honest route when it comes to showcasing their products and processes.

pastel colored ice cream packaging variations

Fiasco Gelato packaging design by Fiasco Gelato

And ice cream brands are no exception. They use eco-friendly packaging methods to be more transparent with customers so they can get a sneak peek of what they’re buying and keep brands accountable. While suggestive imagery can be a great way to give customers a hint of what your brand is all about, sometimes showing customers exactly how your ice cream looks is simply better.

These ice cream packaging designs either use clear plastic wrap and strategically placed transparent panels or use clear glass jars that are finished off with eye-catching illustrations to keep it fun or simple logo placement for a clean look.

Organic color blocking

As we gravitate toward the kinder side of things—whether it’s eating more natural foods or using eco-friendly products—our focus gradually shifts to the softer reincarnation of color-blocking. While this much-loved design trend has been around for a while, these days we’re seeing a gentler approach to it with flowing lines and gradient colors as opposed to boxy shapes and sharp edges.

The organic color-blocking style is perfect for most materials used in ice cream packaging, from wrapping to tubs. It’s a style that appeals to most customers, though it might be more attractive to those who like natural ingredients in their food and a sustainable production ethos.

Four alternating pastel color block ice cream tubs

Nude gelato packaging design by we are hive via 99designs by Vista.

Flowing lines, complementary color combinations, and uniquely shaped patterns dominate these ice cream packaging designs for that extra organic touch.

Repetitive patterns

Elevate your next ice cream packaging design by using repetitive patterns. Other than being a great way to add interest to packaging, it can also act as subliminal messaging to drill your brand and product into the customers’ minds.

Ice cream often conjures up happy and joyful memories in most people, and these packaging designs illustrate this buoyant mood to encourage people to buy. For those who want to add playfulness into their packaging design, this style is it.

Take a key feature of the ice cream, whether that be the flavor, a star ingredient or the brand logo, and repeat it across the packaging. Use various colorways and motifs to signal the different flavors your range offers and attract any sweet-toothed customers.

For the icing on top…

Getting the best ice cream packaging design doesn’t need to be a complicated process. By focusing on what your customers like, adopting sustainable practices where possible and allowing the brand to be transparent with customers, you’ve already got the building blocks of a winning ice cream packaging.

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Author: Sasha Manusama