There’s a lot going on with packaging aside from the box and the label.
The art of package design is something that has boosted the sales of a number of major companies.
Even carrying a Gucci packaging outdoors is already a treat in itself. While you might think that the packaging is way too simple, there’s actually a lot of things going on within the packaging that consumers don’t really notice.
Let’s say you bought a Gucci bag, the color used for the packaging plus the delicate way the bag is wrapped accentuates the luxury which the brand represents.
Product design changes the perception that consumers usually have about the product itself.
Let’s say you’re trying to pick out a healthy juice, usually, it’s colors that represent that catch your attention.
While the color catches attention, there are other details that really pull the consumer into the product weighing in on their decision to buy it.
From the company’s perspective, however, trying to pick out the perfect product package design can be quite difficult.
This is why there are a few guidelines to help business owners design the best product packaging design.
While the final packaging product might take a while to come up with, the design itself can be slowly constructed and crafted to perfectly represent the company, make the product more attractive, and increase chances of repeat orders or boost sales.
Packaging design preparation
There are three different questions you should ask yourself before concocting the design in order to get a better vision of what the final design should look like.
These questions help the business owner come up with the perfect package design or at least a general idea to help narrow down the design process.
- What is the product?
Although this seems like an obvious answer to the business owner, it is important to really think about what the product ACTUALLY is.
If the product is a healthy product, it might help to focus on a “healthy” image, if it is a corporate product, focus on an economical and “corporate” image.
Narrowing down and listing the properties of the product will help make a more tailored design.
- Who will buy the product?
Identifying the consumer market is very important as well. “Looking nice” is not actually the ultimate goal.
What might be nice for one market might not really work on other markets.
Identify the target market and narrow down what works on that market to get a clearer picture of what the product packaging design should look like.
- How is the product being purchased?
Will the product look good on the shelf? Will it be delivered?
It is important to also give importance to HOW the product is being purchased.
The more you understand the experience leading to the purchase, the more you can focus on how to get an advantage during the buying process.
Package design requirements
There are a few things that are absolutely needed in the package design with no exceptions in order to convey what can still be considered “packaging design.”
Although you might choose to skip these, it could have a negative impact on the product not design-wise but representation-wise.
What inclusions are good for the brand
There are three things that are absolutely essential to the packaging in order to properly represent the brand itself.
These details make sure that the product becomes a representation of the brand and thus increase chances of brand retention for the consumer.
- Color or theme
The color or the theme of the product is very important.
Once the consumer knows your brand for certain colors or color combinations, it might be better to use these on the product packaging itself.
For example, McDonalds makes sure to include yellow and red in their packaging since the colors perfectly represent the company.
The fonts have to represent the company and not stray from how the original fonts look like.
Maintaining uniform fonts give a better and more solid brand image.
The company logo is very important since it represents how the product is related to the company.
The company could be selling numerous amount of products and what usually ties everything together is the logo.
The package absolutely needs to include the following since they are the information needed for consumers to be able to identify the product.
It is important to be clear in order to attract buyers.
Written copy is basically the information about the product packaging.
The better the copy is, the more solid the product would look like.
The copy does not technically have to be uniform from product to product and can be modified to perfectly sell the product it represents.
- Imagery (optional)
Imagery nowadays is optional but it does work really well on certain products since it provides a visual footprint that better retains on the consumers’ memories than text.
For example, people mostly remember Mr. Clean by the image instead of the text itself.
- Required information
For those selling beauty or health products, depending on what they are, there could be required information to put on the packaging.
Be smart about knowing where to put the information since it could ruin the whole packaging if put in the wrong place.
Know your budget
Obviously, spending more on your packaging budget means cutting the potential profit down.
Make sure to not overspend on the package design since this could potentially affect profits.
One rookie mistake that some startups make is to forget to factor in the packaging.
This, in turn, either result in bad packaging or even affects profits. There are two types of costs that should be put in mind when making the packaging design.
- One-time costs
These include the cost of things like having the packaging designed (by a graphics designer), stamps, silkscreens, or other things that would only be a one-time (or very rare) cost
- Costs per item
These include things like the bag, wrap, stickers, or other things that need to be put on every single packaging.
Every time you make a product, you must be able to anticipate these costs.
Product packaging design process
There are a few steps that the business owner can follow in order to come up with a solid packaging design.
Although the conditions might differ depending on the type of product that is being sold, generally, the business owner can follow these steps to make a packaging design that not only represents them but also captures the attention of the consumer.
- Package layers
A lot of people don’t understand that the packaging is more than just the bag.
There are actually three layers of packaging and every one of them holds significant value.
While not all products might use these three layers, the majority of products include all three.
- Outer packaging
“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is something we might all want to tell consumers but the truth is the cover is usually the first thing that the consumer notices.
The outer packaging has to be something that catches their attention.
This is also what protects the product from outside elements which is why sturdiness is also important.
- Inner packaging
Aside from the design, inner packaging keeps the product safe. A lot of people forget to utilize this layer.
Even the material chosen for the inner packaging can affect the overall perception that the consumer has for the product.
- Product packaging
These can include things like the label, tags, wrappers of candy, and others.
In general, product packaging is supposed to tell the company’s story and is what builds rapport between the company and the consumer.
- How to choose the packaging
There are a few things that can guide the decision making process when choosing out the packaging, how it looks, what material to pick, and how much are you willing to spend.
Here are a few things to narrow down when trying to choose the perfect product packaging design.
- Know the product
Let’s say you’re selling a watch, maybe a shoebox sized packaging could be a little too much. It is important to make sure that the packaging is relevant to the product being sold. The more relevant the packaging is to the product, the better it appeals to the consumer.
- Know the competition
Standing out is very important especially if you are trying to compete in a very dense market.
If there are a lot of other players, learn their packaging, how it was made, and try to apply the advantages and steer clear of the disadvantages of their packaging design.
- Know the budget
Always work within the budget.
While there might be some need to compromise on the price, there is no way you should compromise on the overall design.
There can be adjustments made that could save the company from overspending like color choices, sizes, and the way it is printed.
- Keep it short but informative
The information put on the packaging design has to be informative but does not scare the consumer away.
Most consumers are easily turned off by lengthy text which is why it is important to keep it simple but still informative.
Catch-phrases or small one-liners are better to use compared to lengthy paragraphs on the packaging.
In order to do this, simply write down whatever you might want to say about the product no matter how long.
Once you have a long draft done, highlight key points that really matter and rate them from most important to least important.
Only include information that is relevant to the product along with what is most important.
After making a list, crush out the least important details and do this a couple of times until you are left with a solid but readable-in-one-glance list.
You can always try out new things in order to properly convey the message without having to compromise on the creativity and informativeness of the copy. Getting a copywriter could also be a good idea but this still depends on your budget.
The most important thing about the packaging is that it has to be readable.
Making really small text can be not only irritating to the eye but also unreadable for a lot of potential consumers.
Get the right text in the right font in the right size to come up with pretty solid packaging.
- Review the packaging
There’s a checklist to follow in order to properly evaluate whether or not the design is effective.
It is important not to skip this step and if there is something wrong that doesn’t check out, try to go through that step again.
- Is the product message clear?
Make sure the consumer gets what the product is trying to portray.
This does not mean that the product and packaging have to be boring but rather it has to stay true to what it is telling consumers.
- Does the packaging honestly represent the product?
It is very important to make sure that the packaging is not misleading in any way.
This could have a really negative effect on the company especially if the packaging misleads the consumers.
- Does the actual packaging look good?
If the product looks good in theory, it should look good in person, right? Well, this is not always the case.
Make sure to have a prototype developed before mass producing the packaging.
- Will the packaging look good in stores or where it is displayed?
It is important to make sure the packaging looks good on the shelf and not just in the hands of consumers.
Some packaging designs look good when they are not being cramped together.
If you are planning to physically display the product, chances are, you’ll have to make the packaging look good in cramped places.
- Is the packaging design versatile?
Can the packaging design be used for not just one product but a number of other products?
Having a versatile design can potentially save a lot for the business owner.
- Is the packaging reusable?
Nowadays, it’s important to stay away from one-time-use packaging in order to have a positive effect on the environment.
Reusable packaging also has a positive image on a number of consumers.
Designing the perfect packaging design that is within the budget is difficult but not impossible.
Resourcefulness is an ally even in design.
There are alternatives that can produce good packaging without being too painful on the business owner’s budget.