Throwback Packaging for the New Year

January 21, 2020

Everyone says the new year is the time for looking forward. At Ernest, we think there’s a ton we can all learn from looking backward! Here are some trendy packaging designs that take a page from history.


In the era of digital media, there’s just something cool about the good ol’ days of physical media packaging. Nostalgia for the 80s runs strong — just look at one of Netflix’s most popular shows — and VHS tapes are making a comeback… at least on paper.

Photo courtesy of SUL Education

SUL Education has printed a series of educational brochures styled after VHS packaging. While younger learners might scratch their heads, it’s a clever throwback to the days when a world of education was at your fingertips… as long as you remembered to record it.

“Let’s appreciate our past and innovate for a better future,” says the designer behind the project. Just don’t forget to be kind and rewind.

Meanwhile, a modern rock band is making taking retro packaging to the next level. Thee Oh Sees have released a super limited-edition reprint of their first 12 albums, and get this — they’re all on 8-track! 

Photo courtesy of Thee Oh Sees

Yup, you’ll actually need a 8-track player to listen to these tunes. It’s a bold move for a modern band that didn’t exist until nearly 20 years after the 8-track format died! We’ve got to hand it to them, though. The packaging is a true blast from the past, and it makes us wonder what other old formats might rear their heads this year.

PBR meets AR

Pabst has been brewing since 1844. That’s a very long history, and the brewery is using alternate reality technology to celebrate it.

Thanks to a mobile AR camera lens, every can of Pabst Blue Ribbon is a portal to the past. Just scan the can and a filter will allow you to access a gallery of vintage PBR designs from years past. You can even virtually swap out the label on your own can, so you can sip in style.

Photo courtesy of Pabst Brewing Company

This throwback comes as Pabst announces its 2020 Pabst Blue Ribbon Art Can Contest. For the last several years they’ve invited artists to reimagine their classic red, white and blue PBR can. Previous winners have featured everything from UFOs to Japanese-inspired design. With all this inspiration at their fingertips, we’re sure 2020’s winner will be one to remember for ages!

Trends come and go, but great packaging makes a lasting impression. Whether you’re looking to follow what’s hot this year or take a unique stance of your own, Ernest’s design specialists have your back. See how we helped Leatherman Multi-Tools’ one-of-a-kind product make a mark in their industry with unique packaging to match. It’s Ernest to the Rescue!