Product packaging is the most personable and influential way to create an affinity between the public and your brand. Creating an impression that begins when the public encounter your product in a shopping centre and lasts long after the consumer is finished with your product is a powerful tool for any marketing team who wish to cultivate a long lasting audience. We asked one of our Graphic Designers, Olly Moriarty about what he suggests the main things to consider when designing packaging.
How can I reflect the principles of the brand?
When designing packaging, it’s important to consider the principles that sit closely with the brand. For example, if a brand identifies strongly with its home city, would it be possible to source materials that are made locally? In a time where society is becoming more environmentally conscious, is your packaging biodegradable? There are many ways that an outward image can reflect inner values – for example; could a logo be embossed to represent a more upmarket brand? Is minimalism a factor within their business model or produce? It all goes far beyond the colours, shapes and typography used; although these are important factors too. The end goal is that your packaging and your brand will become synonymous, so that you can’t see one without considering the other.
Can I use packaging to create a brand, rather than just having the branding filtering through to the packaging?
It’s definitely possible! Pringles has very iconic packaging which has become synonymous with their brand. If you removed the tube and put Pringles in a bag, they wouldn’t be easily recognisable as Pringles at first glance. Whereas if you changed the colour of the tube, you would just think it’s a new flavour of Pringles. This really shows the power of packaging and positioning yourself completely differently to your competitors who all use a standard format of packaging – which is of course bags in this case.
How can I optimise user experience?
This is such an important factor to consider! If a consumer has invested in your product, they want to feel like their money has been well spent – no matter the price point. There are a few ways to master this; the most obvious one is ensuring that the materials that you’re using to craft your packaging coincide fully with the brand. So if you’re looking to sell a luxury product, then your packaging has to reflect that. You need to be looking at things like the weight of the packaging – does it feel flimsy? What does the unboxing process look like, will it feel exciting to the consumer? Equally, this translates to lower end products – if you’re selling a penny product then you need to make it look like the market’s best kept secret.
It’s not just about the look and feel, though. The most crucial aspect of user experience will always be utility. For example, Pringles is an iconic brand, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a way that their packaging could be improved. How frustrating is it when you get towards the end of the tube and you can no longer reach your hand comfortably in to grab the last remaining crisps?! Each week I’ve been looking at how I would rebrand an iconic existing brand, here’s a sneak peek at how I would look at Pringles’ packaging.
The dotted lines represent tear lines where the packaging can be pulled away as you make your way through the tube, making it easier for you to reach in and grab the goods.
This concept also opens an avenue of possibilities for uses outside of the product’s primary purpose. The disregarded hoops could easily be transformed into some sort of hoop throwing game. These are the sort of clever details that cause people to spend longer interacting with your brand, which is key to building a relationship which will cause consumers to purchase your product time and time again.
Can I give the packaging a purpose outside of its primary use?
Mastering this art is a tricky one. Do you remember when you’d visit your granny and you’d open the biscuit tin only to find it full of sewing materials? Or those giant ice cream tubs that contained felt tips? Do you remember what they looked like, where they were stored, how much they made you want biscuits and ice cream?
Achieving this in modern day packaging is an extremely desirable goal. Though it’s unlikely that you’ll create packaging that will be repurposed as storage, you might be able to create an entirely new purpose. So, if you’re creating a product that the consumer is going to own for a long time – like a nice whisky that’s going to take pride of place on the shelf – it’s a good idea to make it look like something that you’d want to display, rather than hide in the cupboard.
How can I make it look amazing on the shelf?
This is probably one of the more obvious points, but I’ve included it because it’s so important. At the moment when a consumer is in the supermarket, knowing that they want to buy washing up liquid, what’s going to be the factor that makes them choose yours rather than your competitors?
And remember, getting it wrong isn’t always a bad thing…