For a lot of business owners, packaging is a secondary consideration. They think that all the important work goes into the product itself, and that the packaging you present it in doesn’t really matter. If only things were that easy! Though you may not think it, your packaging is an extremely relevant part of your marketing efforts. It’s a real-world call to action that should say “buy me!” If you’re about to get started on some packaging design, here are some helpful pointers to follow.
Any session of product design should start with you considering the form and function. At its most basic level, packaging will keep your product intact between the end of its production line and the shelves. However, protective casing with a plain white exterior stamped with your brand name isn’t going to lure in any on-the-fence buyers. Well, unless you’re Apple that is! It won’t take long to find a large range of packaging and containers to choose from, but you need to make sure you’re considering the function you want any one of them to fulfil. There needs to be room for product information that will make owning it an attractive prospect, and enough for fancy (or just good-looking) graphics that complement its aesthetic style.
Next, always make sure you’re being clear about what your product is. When you’ve spent long enough eating, sleeping and breathing your product, it can be easy to forget that the world outside your office has never heard of the thing! I know I just told you to be creative with your packaging, but make sure it doesn’t lead to any kind of ambiguity! Too much information will impede on your ability to make your packaging aesthetically attractive, whereas packaging that’s too minimal, and doesn’t give away enough information about your brand, can also be a risky move. Household names and international giants might be able to get away with this, but you probably can’t!
Finally, make sure you’re considering the context of where your packaging will be seen. The environment in which your target market will come into contact with your product should always have a big impact on the overall design sensibilities. For example, in a physical store, the product will probably be stacked on a shelf, put on a display stand, or hung up on a rack. Your target market will be able to pick it up, judge the weight, quality of the build, and other features. If you’re distributing to stores, be sure to take this into account, and put yourself in the shoes of a customer who knows nothing about your business. In the much more likely case that you’re selling online, touch simply can’t be used, and you’ll have to work on appealing to the other senses. Think of the typography, colour palette, and other factors which will come into play when your customers are making a decision.
If you were focussing on your product too much and your packaging not enough, then I hope this post has turned things around!