A peek into our culture, personalities and passions.

A peek into our culture, personalities and passions.

September 10, 2015

Your Product Deserves To Be Special (Part 2): It’s A Package (Design) Deal

By Lynn Ullman

It’s head-spinning to think of all that goes into the launch of a new consumer product. Everything from flavors and formulas to distribution and logistics are in play.

In the face of all this, it’s no wonder that the packaging can become an afterthought. Yet, for many product launches, packaging may be the primary delivery vehicle for the brand message. The average American makes 1.6 trips* to the supermarket each week, so chances are your package will get more views than any social media campaign you can dream up.

In the last blog post I wrote about the importance of an authentic, relevant brand. When your product lives on a store shelf, branding is what makes that all-important emotional connection with consumers. Not only does your package need to communicate the what and how of your product, it needs to be a very good communicator of your brand message.

Package DesignUnless you are selling 90 pound bags of packing peanuts, it is very likely that the face panel of your package is small. And, if you’re like most marketers, you have a lot to say. This means that every dot of printing on your label needs to work for you. Every detail, from the tamper-proof seal to the fill line says something about your brand and the value of the product. 

With that in mind, here are some tips that will help you make good decisions about your next package design project.


Make sure the structural package is right for your brand

The structural package is the actual 3D container, which could be stock or a custom design. The aesthetics choices for the look and feel of the container communicate a great deal about the brand and product. For example, PET plastics are crystal clear, unbreakable and elevate the perceived value of a product like Method hand soap. But for vodka, those same plastic bottles will tell the consumer something entirely different. 

The structural package is an opportunity for innovation, and to create the reason-to-buy retailers are looking for. These can include new materials, newly engineered closures, or various ways to reduce waste. Today it’s cool to care and consumers value products that reduce harm to the environment and brands that demonstrate a social conscience.


Be clear about what’s in the package

Unless it’s Cracker Jack, consumers are not looking for surprises inside the box. Expect a shopper to spend about 4 seconds looking at your product before moving on. What are they looking for? Simply answer these three questions, “what is this, how do I use it and why should I care?”

Clear information makes your consumer’s decision easier, which in turn makes them statistically more likely to buy and buy again.*


Have Good Shelf Esteem

Be aware that design presentations are crafted to make the work look beautiful and ours are no exception. Yet, there is a huge difference between seeing your beautiful package design on screen, and seeing it on the shelf.

UPBrand incorporates on-shelf testing into its design process. From this we can learn that if your competition uses lots of yellow, you may want to avoid that. You may discover that a beautiful script font is too hard to read. These are all important, practical concerns that you want to address as early as possible in the process.


Finally, don’t forget to be creative

This is my favorite tip. You will never bore someone into buying your product. Today good design is part of our every day vernacular and collective culture. Thanks to Jonathon Ive of Apple and the influence of Target’s aesthetic, consumers place a high value on design.

Your product was created to satisfy a need, whether it’s a safer countertop cleaner or a tastier cocktail mix. The design of the package should communicate its purpose clearly, of course. But it also needs to convey a sense of energy, a bit of surprise and that special something that makes your consumer feel smart and good about their choice. Our belief is that great design is also a great communicator. Putting it to work for your package is a great start to success in the marketplace.


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