Design Tips For Better Packaging
Time to read 7 min
Time to read 7 min
Designing packaging today is as crucial as your product itself. A few tips can never hurt a marketing + design team. Packaging manufacturers are a wealth of knowledge about what does and doesn't work on the market. Don't miss a great chance to learn!
Read on to hear some of our design tips for better packaging. The primary function of all packaging is to simply protect your product, but your main goal in the design process should be to attract customers!
This means the packaging is just as important as your product. The right packaging can strengthen your brand identity, clearly communicates product information, and focuses on targeting your audience.
Your packaging is a brand ambassador, doing a lot of the selling for you. Below are some tips to consider while you are designing.
Table Of Contents
Here are some of the most important things to consider when you’re designing packaging.
What materials will protect your products the best? What fits in with your brand, and are the opportunities to reduce your carbon footprint (a huge concern with customers today).
Will you choose flexible or rigid support for your product? How fragile is your product? Which option reduces material costs? How much space do you need for brand messaging? Will it stand or hang at retail?
Will the size and shape of my packaging design prevent a simple secondary packaging option to ship to retailers? This is an important step, and a proper packaging analysis can solve it.
What is the cost of the secondary packaging and it’s transportation? How long will your product need to be stored before going on display? Will it be protected during this time?
How long does your product last on the shelf before a purchase? Consider the expiration date, and your supply chain process.
Do a competitive analysis to see what characteristics will fit in with the category, but stand out on the shelf. The colors you choose, the size of the packaging, and even the shape are all opportunities to make a bold choice.
Packaging is sometimes the very first interaction your customers will have with your products. This is your chance to define your brand identity and make a statement about who you are, and who you are selling to.
Brand identity is all about clarity.
These answers will guide you doing your design process to create something that is consistent with your brand identity goals.
This will help define your packaging materials, shape, color, and size.
Your packaging is a great place to tell your brand story. Whether this is long form information, or an infographic approach with key bullet points, including “who you are” on your packaging is crucial to creating brand loyalty.
Take a look at Just Water’s approach to their physical bottle design.
Sometimes the best approach is to tell a joke. Other times a straightforward story is the right choice. Whatever fits your existing (or developing) brand identity is the one that’s right for you.
Using Digital Printing allows you to create multiple graphic designs so you can target customers seasonally, regional, or create promotional runs to stand out.
Related: Design tips for Walmart Packaging.
The appeal of your design is crucial to success in the market. Using a bold new approach that still fits into the category, and tells the customer key information about your product will help you.
This is a personal preference. What fits in with the brand, and speaks out to your target customer most effectively?
The functional side of your packaging is just as important.
First, it must be functional for the customer. Simple to open and access your products inside. It needs to be easy to dispose of, and perhaps eco-friendly!
Second, it needs to be functional for the retailer. It needs to be easy to store, restock, and easy to open. Many brands are opting into Shelf-Ready Packaging to meet retailer requests.
Third, it should be functional for your supply chain. Ensure you’re cutting costs with a proper packaging analysis.
Customers react to colors differently, it’s been proven.
The colors you choose for your product and packaging will reach different customers, differently.
Think about your favorite brands - what colors do they choose?
Here’s a few tips about color choices:
White conveys sophistication, simplicity, class, purity. Apple made white work for their presentation to create an air of high-end products that attracts those customers.
Black is very similar to white when used correctly. This can create a product that screams sophistication, and luxury. Black is typically used in combination with another color to create a specific color association in the customer’s mind.
Blue is one of the most used colors in marketing. It creates a feeling of trustworthy brand, sometimes playful or even light-hearted, it depends on the shade you choose. Dark shades lean towards sophistication, lighter shades may appeal to kids or feel “light” in the customers mind.
Red is a color that can also be used differently depending on the shade. Red can be used for romantic feelings, but it can also create an energizing or even aggressive look. One thing for sure is it’s attention grabbing.
Purple is all about royalty, velvet, and a posh experience. This can reinforce the idea that your product is for a higher class.
Green is all about eco-friendly, increased health standards, veganism, health, natural items, or even peace. Today green is often used to call out products that aim towards health and positivity through sustainable practices.
Yellow can be seen as bright and fun, but can also be overwhelming because it stands out so much. Take a look at the candy aisle, there’s a lot of yellow! Yellow stands out, but must be used effectively.
All of the things we’ve discussed should have helped you create a few goals for your packaging, but there’s some key specifics to know if you need to rethink your design.
What should your packaging accomplish?
This should be a primary concern that you run every design option through.
How easy is it to open? Is it a simple process?
Some packaging may need to be a bit stronger or use a premium board option, but you should still consider a simple, easy to open design.
Does your product need an easy to open lid? Is it in a pouch? Are you zip-tying the product to the packaging to prevent theft?
Related: Design Tips for Costco Packaging.
Another chief concern, standing out. The market has never been more competitive, with more products and services fighting for customer attention than ever before.
What choices have you made that make you stand out?
If you blend in on the shelf, you’re not going to meet your sales goals.
Learn about Beer Packaging Tips.
Every year there’s new advancements in technology to help design innovative new packaging that catches customers’ attention.
You should research what the latest options are available to you, and compare to your competition. Sometimes the best way to standout is with a better customer interaction and experience.
Other times just having a more economical design choice, and a simpler look, is all you need.
Eco-Friendly has never been bigger. Digital printing is one of the most effective ways to create more responsible packaging. The ink is better for the environment, and you reduce waste considerably!
Sometimes a proper packaging analysis can help choose the right materials and cut material costs by 10-20%.
We worked with a customer, Sinomax USA, who reduced their carbon footprint and saved over 6,700 trees annually - all thanks to Digital Printing. They even designed and trademarked their own eco-friendly logo design.
Your packaging is some of the most valuable real estate for you. It creates a mini-billboard for you at retail, and when you stack a number of products in a display you create a full-size billboard effect at retail.
Think about your target audience, and even do some focus group testing. Watch how they interact with your packaging. What are the biggest issues?
Do not wait until the last minute to consider these improvements. You should be constantly coming back to your key questions and goals to ensure you’re going in the right direction.
Bennett is a premier packaging and retail displays manufacturing company striving to protect and promote our clients' products with customized corrugated solutions. When you work with us, you’re part of the family. We will partner with you every step of the way.
With our fully-integrated design-to-delivery process, we can be the single supplier source. We are an award-winning manufacturer of virtually anything corrugate. We offer everything from plain brown shipping boxes to sophisticated, high-graphic printed point-of-purchase displays, and everything in between.