From experience and ethereal to playful design, a few trends driving the South Korean market
Photo by Evie S. / Unsplash

From experience and ethereal to playful design, a few trends driving the South Korean market

Eva Lagarde

Following an interview with 주설아  Joo Seol-ah, founder & creative director of a South Korean branding & design studio dyr Joolia, at PCD Milan, we uncover the main trends in packaging design in this local market. From minimal design to playful products, Korean consumers are always on the lookout for inventive ideas, and innovations are driving the market. 

Characteristics of the South Korean market

A few attributes are driving the market and design ideas can make or break a product launch in the market:


South Korea is under tough competition as like any developed market the competition is quite intense. So understanding changing trends and consumer needs is paramount to ensure market success.


Beauty trends are changing quickly, and comparison amongst brands from the consumer point of view is strong. Brands must ensure timely design with current market needs and expectations while avoiding dissonance with the overall market.


More and more people are thinking about the environment and may be noticing issues with packaging. Creating a new design must include eco-design attributes to avoid packaging friction at purchase.

With readiness

Korean consumers value worth, and not just low cost. They would be ready to pay more or place more value on a product that is worth the extra spending. If the product has value and offers some sort of uniqueness. Then consumers would be happy to spend more.


South Korean consumers are also looking for various brands' experiences. Aiming for cool and fun products. The playful aspect plays a big part in brand attraction, even more so than in other cultures in the world. That’s probably why Korean designs are so inventive and interesting.

Packaging Design Trends 

Dyr Joolia identified 5 design trends related to beauty packaging design


Korea the beauty market is quite saturated as we mentioned above. Bringing something unique and cool into the market can make a difference in consumer adoption. The market is always looking at newness and fun. Attracting with a unique proposition can help a brand stand out.

And it’s not just about wrapping the product in a nice outer packaging. But it’s about the inside and outside. Packaging appears like accessories of interior design. That consumer can exhibit in their homes. A unique design matters. 

There is a trend to creating labels in packaging that could seamlessly be incorporated inside the design. It is about minimal and yet strong design. Simple but something unique that makes the brand special. Somehow neutral, but also bright and shiny. Like an art object. A distinct object 

We released a report on re/sources in spring 2023, where we mentioned that the next packaging trend is the disappearance of packaging. Where packaging is no longer a transportation device that would be discarded one day,  but an actual visual object, worth keeping and worth exhibiting. 


As we mentioned in the market expectation, design needs to be eco-friendly and offer consumers a better alternative for the environment. Recyclable paper is one of the basic practices in packaging design with paper sleeves instead of plastic and glue for instance. Eco-friendly increases in consumer perception and people wouldn’t buy non-products that would not have eco-friendly characteristics.


While in the past, designs focused on the 'global market,' recently, packaging with a traditional touch is gaining attention. Designs inspired by traditional Korean materials, patterns, and forms, such as container designs influenced by the traditional Korean jar or packaging designs utilising the 'Bojagi' (Korean traditional wrapping cloth), are considered 'trendy' as they draw inspiration from Korea's traditional elements like materials, patterns, and forms. These Korean designs are receiving much love and popularity.

There is also an interest in South Korea for packaging from international brands that sensibly capture the cultural characteristics of each country and bring elements of exotism and mysterious charm. (Ex. Italian brand 'Santa Maria Novella').


Storytelling is a key component of good design execution. Products that clearly express and draw a story are important. Emphasising product ingredients is also popular.

South Korean consumers really enjoy new things that are fun, new and fresh. So they want to try new and unique ideas. That’s why there are many new launches in packaging design. Half of the market covers new products and half of offers recurring and well-known beauty products. Bestsellers stay on the market like Cleanser, Serum, ampoule, Toner, sunscreen and sheet masks for instance.


  1. BYLIMU, The High-end Skincare Brand in South Korea
  2. TISLO, a Wearable Perfume Brand in South Korea
  3. joevo, Aurora Dermatology Skincare Brand in South Korea
  4. AXIS-Y, A Vegan/Cruelty-Free Skincare Brand in South Korea
  5. dinsee, a Premium Vegan Beauty Brand in South Korea