Sustainable luxury takes centre stage at his year's Pentawards with Air Co's packaging for "first carbon negative vodka brand".

Backbone Branding, Design Bridge, ShenZhen Lingyun Creative Packaging Design Co., Ltd, Depot Branding Agency, Xiaomi Estudio Maba and Anthem take home the most awards. Backbone Branding, Armenia, was crowned Design Agency of the Year for second consecutive year.

The winners of this year’s Pentawards were revealed during a virtual Gala Ceremony hosted live on Thursday 24 September. Top winning agencies include Backbone Branding and Design Bridge each with five awards, ShenZhen Lingyun Creative Packaging Design Co., Ltd, Depot Branding Agency, Xiaomi, Estudio Maba and Anthem, all of which won four awards. This year’s Special Awards, which recognise ultimate excellence in packaging design, were also handed out:

•    Best Newcomer of the Year – Caparo Design Crew, Greece

•    Design Agency of the Year – Backbone Branding, Armenia

•    Designer of the Year – XiongBo Deng, ShenZhen Lingyun Creative Packaging Design Co.,Ltd, China

•    NXT-GEN, Best Student Work – Robert Dadashev, British School of Art & Design, Russia

Now in its 14th year, the 2020 competition received over 2,000 entries from 60 countries across five continents, with the United Kingdom, Spain, Russia and China receiving the highest number of awards. Out of all the entries, over 400 were shortlisted by the competition’s international jury and revealed to the public.

The full line-up of the 2020 winners can be seen here in the new Pentawards Portal.

Adam Ryan, Head of Pentawards commented: “The work submitted in this year’s Pentawards competition is without a shadow of the doubt, the strongest, most innovative and powerful I have ever seen. I am excited to be part of such an inspiring industry continuously pushing the boundaries. This shows regardless of the challenges the world is facing, the power of design is needed now more than ever.”

Founded in 2007, Pentawards is committed to recognising excellence in design, providing a source of inspiration and connecting the global packaging community through its competition and events. This year’s winners will also be featured alongside the 2019 winners in The Package Design Book 6 by Taschen, released early 2021. The 2021 competition will open with Super Early Bird rates on 1st February 2021.

The top winners this year


When it came to selecting the 14th winner of the Diamond – Best Of Show Award, the judges were unanimous. Air Co’s packaging and design is "as forward thinking, modern and transformative as the approach to creating the brand and company itself."

With a mission to be the most sustainable alcohol brand in the world, the packaging for the world’s first carbon negative vodka brand, Air Co., is described as both reusable and 100% sustainable. Keeping the vodka as the star, the label is placed towards the top of the bottle giving ample space to display the liquid. By placing the label lower, the vodka is the first to meet the eye. The label itself is simple, custom-made, natural and non-toxic and can be removed easily so the bottle can be used for other purposes like a water bottle, flower vase or candle holder. 

On the Diamond winner, the judges said:" We talk about the future of luxury and sustainable luxury, and this is it” – Clem Halpin, President of the Pentawards Jury

"Air Co feels like its leading a new era of design. The packaging itself is stunning and really represents its fantastic backstory. The whole package is ground-breaking." – Steve Honour, Design and Visual Identity Leader, Innovation, Europe & Africa at Diageo – UK

BEVERAGES PLATINUM, Pridem’s Gin by Enpedra Estudio, Spain

The design concept for Pridem’s premium gin centres around the idea of a sailor, to represent and celebrate freedom. The design is made up of two complex elements: a striking stopper shaped like a sailor’s hat that gives the product personality and emphasises its uniqueness, and a label that is made up of four separate parts that wrap completely around the frustoconical bottle.



As the first ever Professional Concept Platinum award, this playful design is something that is described as being easily replicated for products going into market. The idea is of a ghost that first made an appearance in 1916 that has been spotted in recent years on the shelves of liquor stores. To create this character, the design uses a deep indentation at the bottom of the bottle and adds a pair of ghostly eyes to it, whilst the glass creates a dark fog and mystical atmosphere.

FOOD PLATINUM, NongFu Wangtian by ShenZhen BOB design, China

What struck the judges with this piece is the simplicity and effectiveness of the design. The idea of this product packaging is that by combining the shape of chilli to the container, it brings the experience of picking chillis directly to the customer. Its "distinctive and fun" design will make it the first to be noticed on the shelves, enticing consumers to buy it to try it out and share with friends and family.

BODY PLATINUM, Chioture by Shanghai Nianxiang Brand Design & Consulting Co., Ltd., China

This base makeup kit for CHIOTURE, a "vibrant and youthful" makeup brand, focuses on the unpacking process of the product. Factoring in the simple and fun characteristics of the brand, an innovative design was used to effectively demonstrate the product’s features: a soft light camera. The user unscrews the ‘lens’ and then pulls out the ‘handle brush’ on the right, which can then be placed on the ’Brand Icon Viewfinder’ in the upper left corner of the camera if on the go.

OTHER MARKETS PLATINUM, HEMA by Magnet Design, Netherlands

This range of packaging for Dutch retailer HEMA contains summer water inflatables. The design concept is to show a range of summer products that look like they have been dropped into mini swimming pools, and there’s even a steel step that leads into the pool on the front, bringing the image to life. All toys have been designed exclusively by HEMA and represent the retailers most famous icons like HEMA’s smoked sausage, Takkie the Dog, tompouce pastry and summer ice creams. HEMA’s overall ambition is to stop putting plastic products into plastic packaging, so carton boxes were being chosen to package and protect the products inside.

LUXURY PLATINUM, Hennessy by Felipe Pantone - Appartement 103, France

Released globally at a limited quantity of 70 pieces, this Collector's Edition from Hennessy was created in partnership with street artist Felipe Pantone. The result of this collaboration is a "super clean", shiny white PET box that once opened reveals the whole world of Felipe Pantone through a prism of graphical elements and textures. At the centre of the experience, the consumer is invited to build their own art sculpture around a customized Hennessy V.S bottle which is printed with the latest cutting-edge digital technologies in CMYK. The exclusive carafe stands on a pedestal in the centre of a grid of moiré-finished rods that consumers themselves can place, move and interchange to alter the bottle's optics.