Cheers to the World’s Best Packaging

Adobe Dimension spotlights the Dieline Awards 2020 beverage winners.

images of drink containers

The Dieline Awards, known as a benchmark of impeccably designed consumer packaged goods, is one of the largest packaging design competitions in the world. With thousands of entries from 23 different countries, the awards continue to evolve and shape the design community, highlighting the impactful trends in the industry.

“This event brings together a global community of like-minded people — brand owners, influencers, consumers, marketers, agencies, in-house creatives, graphic designers, photographers, students, and enthusiasts — to celebrate the year’s best packaging and inspire tomorrow’s work in the industry,” says Sebastian Shaw, head of strategic development for 3D and immersive development for enterprise offerings at Adobe. “It’s important to foster these types of events that build genuine relationships in the creative community and drive innovation. It’s one of the main reasons we’re behind this event.”

Here’s another: Advancements within the CPG industry, especially the beverage sector, have an immense value, particularly when it comes to sustainability and designing for circularity. Today’s design process is driven by desktop software, but many creatives still turn to physical mock-ups and traditional photography to show their work. Adobe is committed to innovating this process, developing Adobe Dimension to give designers the ability to easily visualize 2D packaging designs in a 3D environment.

Renders made using Adobe Dimension.

3D scenes showcase what the packaging looks like in context, so stakeholders can get a better idea and give feedback to refine the design even before having to make a physical mock-up. Once designs are finalized, Dimension can take this to the next level, providing an easy way to make a photorealistic render and skip a final photoshoot altogether.

Digital workflows have another added benefit. Creatives can develop designs quickly and remotely — saving time, cost, and CO2e emissions associated with shipping prototypes or traveling to locations. Once created, 3D assets are ready to be used in marketing materials, websites, e-commerce pages, and virtual showrooms — anywhere you’d typically use a photo.

The power of what we drink

Water is the world’s most consumed and popular drink; tea is second. Next comes beer. In a $1.4 Trillion industry, growth is a constant and big shifts are not often seen. But one notable opportunity may change that. Traditionally, 99% of all beverage sales are offline. With online sales taking off among consumers, retail off the shelf may have to give way to online beverage sales.

Change can be good: Emerging trends such as virtual photography offer the ability to transform digital advertising in this industry and make personalization achievable — and most of all affordable. Plus the materials used in beverage packaged goods will need to be suited for transport, bringing the plastic vs aluminum can debate to the forefront.

Annual consumption of plastic bottles is expected to top half a trillion by 2021. Even more startling, over 90% of the material isn’t recycled and all the plastic ever made in this world still exists.

Shifting to circular materials — things that will never go to landfill because they are highly reusable or recyclable (glass is better than plastic, but aluminum is far more toward circular). In the US, aluminum recycling is prevalent with 75% of aluminum produced is still in circulation.

When it comes time to buy, 23% of consumers are looking for choice and selection. Graphic designers have to make their products stand out and appeal to what interests buyers. Check out what the top designers are doing to distinguish their product.

The 2020 awards: Beverage standouts

While there are many creative ways to slice and dice beverages into unique categories, such as energy, ready-to-drink, bottles, sports, value added, carbonated, and fruit beverages. Dieline has selected the following categories to showcase the breadth of what’s happening in beverages in 2020.

This year, awards were given to a total of 94 winners — 25% representing the beverage sector. Every submission was carefully reviewed by an esteemed jury featuring luminaries like Debbie Millman of the Design Matters podcast, Design Army co-founder and CCO Pum Lefebure, Sean Adams of Art Center College of Design, RoAndCo founder Roanne Adams, and Chobani CCO Leland Maschmeyer — all of whom combed through submissions while locked down under quarantine. Here is a showcase of the beverage standouts.


First Place — Rotulo Do Velhaco (“Old Rogue Label”)

From agency StudioBah: “At the visual level, the brand is represented in different ways. Its story is told in the text, but there is an optical illusion when facing the label. Facing it closely, only words are read. But when it is viewed from afar, an old man appears formed by the distortions of the text itself, representing the old rogue.”

Wiseman rebrand designed using Adobe Dimension.

Second Place — Wieseman Beer

From agency Shenzhen Oracle Creative Design Co.,Ltd: “The bottle of the design applies a three-dimensional image effect (via Adobe Dimension)… The visual result of the design brings out a simple and elegant impact. Another significant aspect of this design is the artistic effect. To create a relationship between consumer and the product, the design applies a grotesque and lively image. The relief design on the bottle leads the whole product to seem like an art piece.”

Third Place — Carlsberg

From agency Taxi Studio: “Baked into the heart of the brief was Carlsberg’s sustainability agenda, and that meant designing the system for longevity rather than obsolescence in a few years. As part of a root-to-branch overhaul, every aspect was carefully re-crafted, striking the perfect balance between form and function — the cornerstone of great Danish design.”


First Place — Mountain Tea Song

From Lin shaobin Design: “The packaging design differentiates the three concentrations while expressing the concept of the teas. Also, the design is hoping to deliver the concept of the high mountains and the charcoal-baked progress artistically.”

Second Place — Dark Matter Coffee

From agency Zimmer: “We recognized a compelling opportunity to differentiate the products from the sweep of monochromatic, coffee-colored labels already on the shelves. We would fill Dark Matter’s labels with lush, vibrant hues and pack them from edge-to-edge with custom illustrations.”

Third Place — Lanwang Tea

From MC Brand: “In the design process, the elegant temperament was brought by the external texture and gave it more practicality and sense of form. The cover of the gift box is a reusable dry tea-making table.”

Clear Spirits

First Place — Source One Vodka

From agency AETHER NY: “It is this story of Source One Vodka that we narrated through thoughtful design of every element. From the pristine bottle structure to the typography inspired by the original type on the Minden flour mills to the illustrations that invite you to discover the truth of Source One. The brand identity and packaging all serve to celebrate and honor the combination of radical transparency and considered craftsmanship.”

Second Place — Air Co. Vodka

From Dieline: “The company worked with Joe Doucet x Partners to create a bottle that is reusable and recyclable, one that could also showcase the purity of Air Co.’s vodka. The labels are affixed to the bottles using a special glue that is not only non-toxic but comes off cleanly, making the containers easier to reuse. The printing is carbon-offset with tree planting in Central and South America.”

Third Place — Kástra Elión Vodka

From agency Stranger & Stranger: “A sipping vodka distilled from Greek Athenoelia olives. The mediterranean, bottled.”

Oonami sake render made using Adobe Dimension.

Student winner: Oonami Sake

From designer Sophie Zhao: “Our final design was created (using Adobe Dimension) with three main focuses in mind: be environmentally-friendly, be accessible to the blind, and be of high-end quality, all while embodying both a sense of Japanese tradition and modernity.”

Dark Spirits

First Place — WuDu

From ShenZhen Lingyun creative packaging design Co.,Ltd.: “The totems of the five animals, which were recreated by us, are printed on the packing box and sculptured on the container. Originally, they look dark and horrible, but the new image and color design give them a sense of dignity and mystery. The packing box resembles the drawer where traditional Chinese medicines are placed to emphasize the pharmacological function of the product.”

Second Place — American Barrels Bourbon

From Flow Design: “We developed a brand that spoke to true American roots, through structure and simple graphics.”

Third Place — Hywilde

From Chad Michael Studio: “The range of wildly impossible liqueurs concocted by imaginative minds with unrealistic expectations for quality and taste. A brilliant and surreal experience crafted from 100% Arabica beans.”


First Place — Æcorn Aperitifs

From Pearlfisher: “Æcorn Aperitifs expresses the art of nature through its botanical ingredients and brand design. Inspired by 17th-century herbal remedies as well as lepidopterology (the study of moths and butterflies), we created a refined brand world in which Æcorn Aperitifs can develop.”

Second Place — Swedish Tonic Syrup

From Pond Design: “Working with a black background and a “striped and cut” logotype, the design becomes bold regardless of the platform. To enhance the small-scale artisanal feeling, detailed information gets placed on the bottleneck along with crafted typography.”

Third Place — Senser Spirits

From Magpie Studios: “Beyond the central idea of spirit animals, the theme of mood elevation continues throughout the packaging. The vertical Senser wordmark features subtle ‘up-arrows.’ Serve suggestions encourage you to ‘smile as you pour.’ While on the neck label, the illustrated S monogram sums up the emotional transformation with a figure diving into a portal and emerging as a dolphin. All under the strap-line ‘Be Transported.‘”

Soft Drinks

First Place: DrinkFinity

From Dieline: “When it comes to packaging design and sustainability, everyone loves the idea of a refillable bottle. PepsiCo’s Drinkfinity is a disruptive beverage looking to redefine the way we drink. Consumers simply fill the branded BPA-free 20-ounce Drinkfinity vessel with water, pop the concentrated drink pod in the top of the bottle, shake it up, and voila…Created by Hernan Marina, PepsiCo has essentially developed a line of drinks that are not only good for you, but also for the planet—the pods use 65% less plastic than the typical 20-ounce drink you’d buy from your local bodega.”

Second Place — Rapscallion Soda

From agency Freytag Anderson: “A sterile approach to layout, bold use of color, and minimal type treatments help to differentiate core range and seasonal product lines. The deliberate short stop label highlights the cans base metal, hinting at a more clinical and scientific approach to production.”

Third Place — Stardust Boc

From agency Lepur: “The eight bottles of meal replacement shake in the box correspond to different planets in terms of the function of each shake. The box also helps to arrange a one-week calorie-controlled diet by connecting each day with the corresponding planet. The bottle uses real planet graphics, which is authorized by NASA.”


First Place: 4Life mineral Water

From Prompt Design: “The package illustration conveys how the animals live their lives with the water. The wavy lines and animals explain about the animals living with the water resource. For example the flamingo flying, the tiger swimming and the crocodile crawling in the wavy lines which represent the beauty of water waves. These pictures remind us that water is the life support of all living things. This is where the brand 4Life Mineral Water comes from.”

Second Place — Andea

From agency After: “We chose a retro design in the bottle construction, with curved angels and a wide surface so we could work with it without any problems. To upscale the product, we decided to go with a glass bottle. This would not only help the reduction of plastic production, but it would also encourage people to use them again.”

Third Place — Ever & Ever

From Dieline: “Ever & Ever, bottled water from Vita Coco, uses a material that’s been around for over 100 years and can be infinitely recycled. Nearly 75 percent of all the aluminum ever produced (even back from the 1800s) is still in production today…When you purchase and then recycle your Ever & Ever water bottle, it can go on to become something else—wind chimes, a flag pole, a pie tin, or even a new bottle of Ever & Ever—within 60 days. We’re lucky if a plastic bottle gets recycled more than once, if at all.”

Wine and Champagne

First Place — Tread Softly

From agency Denomination: “The semiotics of the labels needed to support the name, so the graphics are delicate and considered. It’s a daring, restrained approach, but we’ve created a design aesthetic with a softness that complements the brand premise and name. Overall, the work celebrates the selection’s pioneering, eco-aware spirit and communicates that the wines are better for the planet and the consumer.”

Second Place — Cielo Sommerso

From agency Superunion: “Our label is designed to tell the incredible story of the winemaking process, where all the natural elements under the blue sky of Marche’s hills come together to participate in the underground metamorphosis of the grapes into wine. Each bottle was then dipped in a clay made using the very soil where its fruits were grown and later fermented, to celebrate the deeper bond that this wine has with its source by carrying a piece of it on every bottle.”

Third Place — Album di Famiglia

From agency Spazio Di Paolo: “The authentic photography, taken by the early twentieth century pioneers with the wooden view camera on the tripod, with the glass plates emulsified with silver bromide and the magnesium used for the flash, represent the origin of the story of our lives told through Family Photo Albums (Album di Famiglia).”

Packaging for a better world

Taken together, Dieline Awards 2020 shows where the packaging industry is going, from the world of spirits and beer to bottled water and soda, with designers and brands not only trying to be more sustainable when it comes to the materials available to them but also with how they produce their work. With improved digital workflows, creatives can design faster and more efficiently so that they can get back to doing what they do best–imagining a whole new world, and in this case, the products of tomorrow.

“We are proud to collaborate with Adobe and the Dimension team. The software is rapidly emerging as an essential tool for packaging designers to create photorealistic 3D renders from the desktop,” said Andrew Gibbs, founder, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief of Dieline. “Not only did we use it to create marketing materials for the Dieline Awards 2020, many of our entrants submitted work produced in Dimension. As a creative professional, I feel that the future of design is digital and 3D represents a new way of working.”