Packaging Design Tips

Product packaging is one of the most important aspects of getting a brilliant idea flying off store shelves. Well designed packaging:

  • Stands out on store shelves.

  • Protects the product from damage during shipping, stocking, and handling in the retail environment

  • Prolongs the shelf life of the product. Nobody wants to buy a damaged box; it might mean the product inside is broken too.

  • Reassures the buyer that the product inside will solve their problems and reduces buying friction.

Poor packaging can cause even the coolest products to languish on the shelves. Consumers associate the value of the product with their attraction to the packaging.

What Is It?

If consumers have no idea what’s in the box, they won’t buy it. Your may have come up with a funky, clever name for the product, but that’s not much help to an overwhelmed shopper facing row upon row of boxes and trying to make a choice.

Good packaging always clearly states what the product is. Sounds obvious, but the next time you’re in a grocery store, check out the hair colour aisle. You’ll be amazed at how difficult it is to figure out the advantages of one product over another.

Make sure you’re packaging clearly states, “this is what I am and this is what I’m going to do for you” – basic advertising rules that are often overlooked.

Is It “Shelf-Friendly”?

>Retailers have guidelines your packaging must meet if the are going to carry it in their stores. Today’s retailer needs to maximize shelf-space, and packaging rules are strictly enforced.  It’s important that your creative packaging works with the needs of the retailers who will carry the product on their shelves.

While strict retail requirements may feel restrictive, they offer additional benefits in helping you ensure that your packaging is easy for buyers to handle and viable for your client to ship. Good packaging design doesn’t demand higher shipping overhead that will eat into your client’s margins.

Is It Readable?

You have roughly 4 seconds to catch a shopper’s attention and get them to pick up your product before they scan over to the competitor. Overly ornate fonts that are difficult to read or crowded packaging designs that look complicated to understand tend to be overlooked.

Keep font size and colour in mind as well. Your buyer will likely be at least 3 feet from the package when they’re scanning the aisle.  Product labeling should be clearly visible and easy to read from this distance.

Does It Match the Customer?

Shoppers tend to pick up products whose packaging is consistent with the way they choose to view themselves in the world. Your packaging design may be brilliant, creative and stunning – but if it doesn’t appeal to your end customer, it will still languish unloved on store shelves.

Good packaging design quickly communicates who the customer is and places the product squarely in the perceived price-point that the shopper is comfortable with.

Does It Stand Out?

The worst case scenario is row upon row of competing products that are completely indistinguishable from each other. Increasingly restrictive retailer requirements combined with rising competition in the market for almost every consumer good imaginable mean this happens more often than ever before.

Just take a walk through your local Walmart, paying attention to the cereal aisle and the personal care section to see this in action. When every package looks, feels and sounds the same, shoppers turn to the one differentiating factor they can still understand. Price.

Above everything else, good packaging design finds a way to distinguish itself from everything else on a crowded shelf.  It communicates the product, the brand and the key advantages in that first 4-second scan.

Good Package Design Is Creatively Inspired

Anyone can use a formula to design a package that is a certain size, contains the product name, and can be read from at least 3 feet away. It also doesn’t take a whole lot of time on the Internet to figure out which fonts and colours are more likely to appeal to a manly man or a spa-going health enthusiast.

None of that matters if the packaging disappears into a sea of sameness in the retail environment. That’s where you come in. At the end of the day, the true magic of good package design is in the creative inspiration that you bring to the table.

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