4 Tips for Designing and Executing Better Packaging for Your Products

It’s easy to overlook the packaging of physical products, but it’s arguably one of the most important driving factors in the customer experience. The more you pay attention to the details, the better your results will be.

Package design concept

photo credit: Andy Mangold / Flickr

Why Product Packaging Matters

In a competitive marketplace, it’s easy to assume that customers are all being thorough and diplomatic in their decision-making processes. We imagine them filtering through options, objectively comparing and contrasting, and then reaching a final decision after discussing the choice with close family and friends.

But do you want to know the truth?

Most customers are making subjective decisions based on surface-level factors. And in some cases, it’s not even the product that carries the most weight – it could be the packaging.

According to one national survey, 72 percent of customers say packaging design influences their purchase decision. More specifically, 67 percent of consumers report being influenced by the material a product is packaged in.

The importance of packaging can be directly tied to the experience. Packaging is tactile. You can see it, feel it, and even smell it. It can even evoke a visceral emotion. It communicates a specific experience that sets it apart from all of the other similar products on the shelf.

“The customer’s interaction with your product doesn’t start once they try it. It starts once they see it,” branding expert Dan Kenitz writes. “And what they see communicates a lot about your company, including how that product will ultimately be judged. If you want your product to be judged well, start rethinking your approach to packaging.”

Packaging can make or break your sales on individual products. But above all else, it gives you an opportunity to elevate your brand and turn it into something that people resonate with.

Japanese package design

photo credit: Ji Young Yoon / Flickr

4 Product Packaging Design Tips

As you design or redesign your product packaging, there are some different things you can do to ensure you’re maximizing every aspect of the process. Here are a few helpful suggestions:

1. Don’t DIY

We can all spot good product packaging when we see it. But there’s a difference between knowing good product packaging and designing good product packaging. Just because you have an eye for what works, doesn’t mean you have the skillset to create your own design and execute on it. In fact, doing so could compromise the integrity of your project.

Don’t take a DIY approach to packaging design. Instead, work with an experienced packaging manufacturer to create a polished look that perfectly exemplifies your brand’s ideals in a way that the customer finds appealing. It’s worth spending some extra money to get it done right.

2. Think About the Customer

Good packaging happens at the intersection of your brand’s identity and your customer’s desires. In other words, you want your packaging to communicate who your brand is in a way that the customer finds appealing.

Always keep the customer in mind. If you find yourself making design decisions without any regard to the customer’s preferences or interests, you’re getting too far off target. Circle back and filter it through your target customer.

3. Choose Colors Carefully

Remember that every color evokes a specific emotion. Choose colors very carefully when designing packaging. Black, for example, makes a product feel sleek and luxurious, while red communicates a sense of urgency or passion. Be very intentional in the decisions you make on this front.

4. Don’t Overdo It

The more time you spend thinking about packaging, the more ideas you’ll have. And as you put more “cooks” in the kitchen, ideas will proliferate. Sometimes the biggest challenge is to focus on one thing and block out everything else.

Packaging should be simple. If you include too much, it becomes overwhelming to the customer. In the process, they miss the primary message. While it can be fun to include some unique elements and information on the packaging, keep it as streamlined as possible. If an element doesn’t serve a very specific purpose, it goes.

Take Your Product to the Next Level

Your product matters first and foremost. If you don’t have a quality product, then nothing else is going to save you. But assuming you have a good product that you’re confident in, the right packaging can make the difference.


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