The Four Rules of Packaging

In a world of swathes of colours and slogans competing for customer attention, a clear product description is crucial. Beginner designers often depict products as ten times better than they actually are, which increases consumer disappointment and leads to poor sales performance for the brand.

Keep information to a minimum so that customers can grasp it easily. For example, Dogsee Chew’s packaging communicates what is inside without revealing too much.

1. Be Clear About the Product

When designing product packaging, the first thing you must do is be clear about the product inside. Beginners in design, both clients and designers, often try to make the product look more scrumptious than it actually is (using clever photography or photo-editing software to show cookies drenched in chocolate, for example). However, if the product is a simple cookie flavored with chocolate, this can leave consumers disappointed if they open it at home and find less than what they expected.

Packaging serves a dual purpose: to market a brand and protect the contents. This is especially true for food products and other perishables. Different foods require different types of packaging to maintain their freshness and quality on a shelf. The format of a package also needs to fit the product’s requirements and convenience. For instance, a shampoo that consumers will not finish in one use needs to be resealable easily and quickly.

When designing multiple products within a line, it is important to make the packaging look like they belong together. Creating consistency across the line can help a client build a long-lasting relationship with their customer and facilitate brand recognition. This can be accomplished by making the colors consistent, and allowing for some variation without losing visual appeal. For example, you may want to use a vibrant color on the apple juice packaging, but consider using a more subtle color for the cherry juice.

2. Don’t Overdo It

While a great product is important, the packaging is also a big selling point. The design and aesthetic of a package will create an impression that will stay in a consumer’s mind. This will impact their brand recognition, loyalty, and preference for your products. The image on the package will help customers recognize your brand and the product, as well as provide important information like ingredients or sell-by dates.

If your company goes overboard on the packaging, consumers will find it irritating and turn away from your product. For example, using too much color can be overwhelming to the customer and turn them off of your product. Choosing a limited palette of colors and concentrating them in one or two areas will make your packaging pop.

Over-packaging can also be costly for companies. Excessive packaging increases shipping costs and adds to the overall price of your product for consumers. It also takes up more space in warehouses and can be a burden to the environment when shipped.

Additionally, over-packaging can irritate consumers who must deal with all the extra plastic, boxes, and styrofoam peanuts when it arrives at their house. This can cause them to distrust your company and never buy a product from you again.

3. Make It Practical and Useful

At a basic level, packaging must protect the product during shipment between manufacturing facilities and retail stores and from damage while the product sits on store shelves. It should be easy to open and use, tamper proof, and respectful of the environment. Packaging also needs to be practical for customers to carry, hold, and display.

It is important to remember that consumers buy products for what they contain, not for the package itself. Even the most creative or innovative designs can fail if they do not make sense for the product that is inside. This is why it is important to mockup several options and get feedback from friends and colleagues. The goal is to find a design that fits the product, works for children and adults to carry and pour from, and reflects the brand.

Packaging should also be designed with future launches in mind. If the same design can be tweaked to work for different products, it will help reduce costs and increase consistency with existing consumer connections. In addition, it is often more efficient to manufacture a single design for a range of products rather than designing and printing a new box every time a new product is launched.

4. Make It Fun

We all like to think that consumers make decisions about products based on merit alone, but the truth is that in many cases, it’s all about the packaging. Even if your product is truly exceptional, if it’s not packaged well, it’ll likely be passed up for a flashier or prettier option. If you want your product to sell, then the design needs to be as exciting as the actual product itself.

One way to do this is to include a font that’s unique or playful, such as a script or blurred/watermark style. Another is to incorporate a textured background that will catch the eye of your audience. These visual elements can help your design stand out among a sea of similar, more mundane options.

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It’s also a good idea to consider how the product will be used, so you can design accordingly. For example, if it’s something that can be easily dropped, you might need to add handles or grooves. Similarly, if your product is meant to be consumed once and then thrown away, make sure it has an easy-to-open design.

Finally, don’t be afraid to break the rules a little bit. While following trends is a great place to start, it’s also important to find your own voice and set yourself apart. For instance, if your competitor uses a red color for their packaging, try using a blue or pink instead.