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Product packaging is part of the product. Brands should consider package development an essential part of product development due to the fact that packaging profoundly influences the way consumers interact with products. Let’s take a look at a big survey from 2018 highlighting current consumer attitudes regarding packaging:

  • 74 percent of American consumers say that the design of a product’s packaging influences their purchasing decisions.
  • 67 percent of American consumers say that materials used to package a product often influence their purchasing decisions.
  • 87 percent say that packaging influences purchasing decisions when buying gifts for others.
  • 67 percent say that paper and cardboard are considered more attractive than other packaging materials.
  • 63 percent say that cardboard packaging makes a product seem like it’s of “higher quality.”

This means that brands have a big way to sway customer perceptions at the point of purchase! A plan for brilliant product packaging takes into account the two prongs of “tangible” branding. This means incorporating strong graphic design with a functional, value-adding physical container. Take a look at how to pull it off beautifully!

Getting Started: Learn Your Options for Product Packaging

The sky is the limit when it comes to selecting custom product packaging for your brand. However, the tried-and-true favorites being used by brands around the world should be enough to ensure a secure, attractive fit as your products fly off the shelves to get into the hands of consumers. Here’s a crash course in the best product packaging for appealing to modern customers:

  • Corrugated Boxes: Corrugated boxes offer a mix of durability and flexibility for easy assembly, transportation and storage.
  • Rigid Boxes: Perfect for high-value items like electronics and jewelry.
  • Poly Bags: Ideal for foods, trinkets, clothing and accessories that aren’t high-value items.
  • Chipboard Boxes: Ideal for dry food products.
  • Foil Seal Bags: Great for maintaining freshness for “loose” food products.

Of course, brands need to link up with packaging specialists to ensure that they are choosing appropriate packaging materials based specifically on the products they are selling. It’s important to consider if products are sensitive to moisture, perishable, easily jostled, or capable of shattering when selecting the right packaging materials. Brands have lots of room to explore various options within these options. What’s more, many hybrid options exist for creating durable, beautiful packaging with different materials. Next, take a look at how it all comes together using eight key points of good product packaging design.

1. Get a Customer Profile Established

The survey referenced above shows that people perceive product packaging differently based on demographics. For instance, adults who would be categorized as “highly educated” and “affluent” are more likely to say that packaging influences purchasing decisions. Attitudes toward packaging also break down along gender lines. While 70 percent of women say that paper and cardboard make them more likely to purchase products, just 65 percent of men feel the same way.

2. Go Simple When You’re Going Bold

One thing that many amateur brands fail to realize is that building packaging that “wows” doesn’t have to mean tons of complex bells and whistles. In fact, the general rule is that adding too many moving parts just creates opportunities for more to go wrong. When you work with packaging experts, it’s very easy to design attention-grabbing packaging that still fits all of your practical needs. Here’s a look at the needs your packaging must fulfill:

  • It’s easy to replicate.
  • It keeps your unit price within your goal range.
  • It can sustain the wear and tear of shipping.
  • It is easily stored and stocked.
  • It makes your product easy to identify.
  • Customers can intuitively open it.

Choosing an unorthodox shape isn’t the only way to make a product stand out! While choosing a shape that doesn’t conform to standards may seem like the easy way to drum up some “visual” buzz, the reality is that thinking too far outside the box can result in a complicated design that creates hassles everywhere from the assembly line to the store shelf. Focus instead on value-adding touches like graphics, messaging, color usage, or textures.

3. Be Cohesive With Your Existing Brand Identity

Packaging isn’t an avenue for reinventing your brand. In fact, the purpose of packaging is to reinforce all of the time-consuming, costly brand work you’ve already done. Take a “whole brand” approach when designing your packaging to ensure that you’re reflecting the qualities your customers have come to expect. Be conscious of the way your product will communicate your brand’s values when positioned on shelves. Additionally, it’s important to consider the way that product packaging will look when integrated into your online and print marketing materials. Choose packaging that photographs beautifully!

4. Choose Packaging That’s Appropriate for Your Product

Confusing customers is the death knell for brands. The entire purpose of product marketing is to create a clarified, confusion-free path from the consumer to your product. If customers have questions about what they’re supposed to be doing, an important step has been missed. Your product packaging needs to be intuitive for your products. This is why brands really need to focus on packaging that matches the product being sold in terms of size and design. If you’re able to make part of the product visible, this is a bonus. If you’re using a “solid” box, it’s essential that you display the product clearly on the box to make it seem as though the box is “transparent” simply based on the fact that you’ve used graphics and images effectively enough to break down barriers between customer and product.

5. Test Your Packaging in the Wild

The first try isn’t always gold. While it’s easy to fall in love with a design simply because it looks amazing, brands can’t stop there. Testing is a vital part of successful product packaging. In fact, brands should try several different prototypes in high-stress scenarios to test durability and performance. It’s important to know exactly how a product will look when it arrives in a customer’s hands. In addition, testing should be used to measure customer perceptions during the unboxing experience.

6. Consider Security

Brands have to consider the cost-benefit of investing in packaging security. In most cases, some simple theft-deterrent features can be added that greatly reduce the likelihood of product theft or tampering without greatly increasing the price per unit. Some common security features that are worked into packaging include:

  • Buffering products in simple tissue paper to increase the time and effort needed to access the product without being noticed.
  • Reinforcing folded areas with glue.
  • Adding stickers.
  • Adding seals.
  • Adding zip ties or cables.

Most security features can be added without altering the design or weight of the original packaging. In addition, they provide a sense of security without creating the sense that products are “locked down.” Many customers actually appreciate the use of visible stickers and seals because they can buy products with the confidence of knowing that no tampering has occurred.

7. Make Your Packaging a Treasure Trove of Information

Packaging is a great communicator! In fact, a product’s packaging allows you to activate an important conversation with the consumer. Make sure you’re treating your packaging like the valuable “real estate” that it is. In addition to conveying essential product information, brands can also use packaging to reinforce a customer’s purchasing decision. This can be done using quick customer tutorials, any outstanding product facts that will impress customers, promises of quality, or positive ratings. Don’t forget to use product packaging as an opportunity to invite customers to join the “brand family.” This can be done by sharing social media handles directly on the packaging. Placing company contact information on the product packaging also provides a strong sign of a brand’s commitment to customer service. Put your contact information on the box to let customers know your brand has no reason to hide!

8. Make Your Packaging Sustainable Whenever Possible

Going sustainable with packaging means good news all around for brands. Consumers want sustainable packaging because it makes them feel good about their purchasing decisions. In addition to helping brands meet their sustainability goals, eco-friendly packaging offers the added benefit of being a lightweight option that allows brands to ship goods for less money! There are many recycled, recyclable, and low-impact packaging options available today that offer extreme durability.

Product Packaging Design: Could You Be Doing It Better?

If your packaging isn’t meeting all eight points, it’s time to consider something better. Our team of packaging experts is ready to help you source packaging materials to convey a strong brand message that creates an intuitive, satisfying buying experience for customers. Reach out today to talk better product packaging design!