Packaging is one of the last things most businesses think about when developing a product. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most important. And if you don’t give it the attention it deserves, you could be unintentionally holding your business back.
The ‘Why’ of Packaging Design
The right packing design is important on multiple levels. But according to Industry Today, it ultimately services four distinct purposes:
Practically speaking, packaging exists to protect the item inside from being damaged during transit, storage, and display. For food and beverage products, it also keeps the product safe and free of germs.
If 100 percent of your energy is going into product development, you’re actually doing the product a disservice. Because in today’s marketplace, where consumers have more options than ever before, you can’t just rely on a product’s quality, function, or features. You have to present your product as the best and most attractive choice amid a sea of other options. And one of the ways you do this is with packaging. Compelling packaging creates visual interest and pulls people in.
Packaging provides customers with important details and information they need to make educated purchase decisions. This may include a rundown of product features, ingredients and nutritional facts, and/or certain warnings.
Imagine walking down the cereal aisle at your local supermarket and every cereal is displayed in a clear bag with simple text that reads “Cheerios” or “Fruit Loops.” It’d be pretty hard to find what you’re looking for, right? Packaging helps to differentiate. It serves as a visual cue for customers.
5 Factors to Consider
Packaging is clearly important. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling exclusively on Amazon, or you have a product that’s in hundreds of brick and mortar stores – the right packaging makes all the difference.
So instead of viewing it as an afterthought – something you address once everything else is figured out – make it a priority. This might mean partnering with a company like Burd and Fletcher to ensure you get the design and quality you want out of your packaging. (Outsourcing is typically the best way to go unless you have a large in-house design team.)
But regardless of what approach you take, here are a few factors to consider:
When it comes to materials, you want durable quality. While quality packaging is more expensive than other options, it’s worth the investment. You’ll have fewer damaged shipments and quality control issues. Plus, your product packaging will hold up better on shelves (which makes a positive statement for your brand).
In terms of attraction and differentiation, color is one of your best visual weapons. And there are really two different directions you can go here. One option is to stick with your brand’s colors and design something that’s extremely cohesive and consistent with your overall brand message, logo, marketing campaigns, etc.
The other option is to use the wow factor. This is where you study the competition and then develop packaging that sharply contrasts with everything else on the market. For example, if everyone else in your space has blue, green, or black packaging, you might use bright yellow to immediately stand out.
Logo placement is very important with packaging. If you’re committed to building a recognizable brand, then prominent placement is key. If, on the other hand, you’re taking a more subtle approach, your logo might take a backseat to other elements (like the product name, description, or graphics).
Most people aren’t going to take the time to read a bunch of text on packaging, but don’t underestimate the importance of copy. Graphics may grab someone’s attention, but it’s the words that explain, clarify, and persuade customers to take action. Make sure you’re speaking directly to your target customer and providing specific reasons why they should buy.
A couple of decades ago, it wasn’t a factor. But today, sustainability must be a consideration in packaging design. It’s especially important if you’re selling something in the natural food, health, or green spaces. You get bonus points if you can use recycled/recyclable materials. (Just make sure you label it as such on the packaging.)
Take Packaging Seriously
The right packaging can make or break your product. From protection and attraction to information and differentiation, it has a major impact on the success of your products. Take design seriously and don’t be afraid to outsource the task if your company lacks in-house expertise.