Packaging sells products. It’s that simple. Sure, there’s more to selling products than just packaging, but put two identical products with identical prices on the shelf, one in a generic container and one in a package with an eye-catching design, and which one do you think will fly off the shelves faster? Of course, it’s going to be the one that grabs everyone’s attention.
But there’s more to great packaging design than just visual appeal. Think about all the ways that people interact with product packaging and you’ll realise that a superb design also must convey information clearly, protect the product it carries, be suited to the way it will be displayed in stores, promote its brand, and stand out from the competition.
Present a memorable brand image
Your packaging provides another touch point to communicate your brand. It helps in terms of the association with your brand. Whether it’s a colour or a font, people should be able to instantly recognize your brand. A good packaging design will effectively communicate the personality of the company. The customer will be able to remember the company based on the package design. Look at websites such as The Dieline, it shows you how much impact packaging can have.
Give them what they want
Know what information is most important to your customers. Whether it’s ingredients and nutritional data or instructions on how to use the item inside, all packages must convey some type of information to potential buyers. How that information is displayed can make or break a sale. It’s got to be clear and easy to find. Shoppers in a hurry aren’t going to hunt for allergen information on one package if it’s clearly available on a competing product. Customers who are unsure if an item does what they want will simply move on to the next option on the shelf.
What you see is what you get
Allowing customers to see the product they’re buying, rather than just a picture of it, is an important aspect of high-quality package design. Many types of food packaging incorporate this principle, from pasta boxes to chips bags. People like to be able to see that there really are three colours in their box of tricolour rotini and that the blue corn tortilla chips are both blue and intact, rather than a pile of crumbs.
Form follows function
Another factor to consider when designing a package is how consumers will want to use it. Does it need to be easy to open and reseal? Should it be easy to carry or stack? What’s the best way to provide those functions and make them obvious? One handy innovation employed in large plastic juice containers is a shape that makes them easy to grip and pour with one hand, a useful design element that’s also been adopted by at least one pasta sauce company.
There’s no question that to sell more products than your competitors, you need more than just a better product. The truth is consumers will choose which product to buy based on a number of factors, many of which can be embodied in well-designed packaging.
What are some of the best packaging designs you’ve seen?
Brittany Giles is the Social Media Specialist at The Printing House.