You can have the most extravagant design ideas out there. But if the manufacturer cannot prepare your packaging bundles, it stays an abstract idea. Using your packaging as a form of marketing, sometimes they use the term “packetizing”. It is a crucial and often overlooked part of the box design.
O’Reilly provided a definition of packaging design as follows. “ Packaging designs a connection of forms, structure, materials, color, imagery, typography and regulatory information with ancillary design elements to make a product suitable for marketing.” To put it simply, your packaging is an element of your marketing strategy.
The following factors demonstrate the importance of considering packaging design.
- Appeal to a well-defined customer persona
- Promote your product’s unique selling point
- Communicate your brand’s identity
Consumers act when a brand makes them feel something. When someone looks at you, you comply to look back to determine the nature of attraction. That is how healthy commercial relations work. Evoking emotions is key. And packaging is the most natural medium to make customers care for the product, they did not even buy yet. A unique shape, color, and pattern can set your brand apart from competitors. Copy, imagery, and communication can build that rapport and trust between the product and the customer.
Corporate Identity encompasses the visual elements and corporate brand images that a company wants to portray to its target audience. When it comes to packaging, corporate identity ensures cohesiveness and consistency, aligning the design with the company’s values. From the choice of colors, typography, and logo placement, to the use of graphics and imagery – all serve as factors. Every element of packaging design should reflect the company’s identity. A strong company identity in packaging design helps to create recognition, instill trust and differentiate the product from competitors. It serves as a visual representation of the company’s values, quality, and professionalism. It makes a lasting impression on consumers and promotes good brand recognition.
The most common forms of product packaging are as follows.
Corrugated Cupboard: Cardboard is the most popular and sustainable packaging material. Typical cardboard fiber makes up at least 92% of recycled material. It is both common in e-commerce and retail. A cupboard is useful for products like:
- Dry food
- Subscription boxes
- Clothing and apparel
The corrugated part of the cupboard stands for sheets of cupboard that join together to form a flute. These layers provide cushioning and strength to the box. It is considered a perfect blend of minimum weight and maximum strength. This makes the cupboard a go-to packaging solution for heavy items like shoes. But it also works for e-commerce entities, as it can handle most impacts.
A corrugated cupboard is also a perfect canvas for packaging design. The natural craft texture can be printed directly. It can be a white canvas of any type you need.
Biodegradable and Compostable Materials:
Plant-based materials are also used as the basis of many packaging solutions. Usually, these materials are just printable and durable as a cupboard but also are biodegradable. Also in a more advanced case, compostable. Organic materials of course can be used in packaging. This refers mostly to plant-based ingredients, which is a rising trend in the packaging industry. For instance, wafers can be sold in edible packaging. While this version is sometimes too ambitious for companies, environment-friendly packaging is the right direction of planning. With the ban on single-use plastics, this innovation shall only continue.
Polyethylene is a form of plastic used in poly mailers and other light packaging solutions. It is a type of durable waterproof plastic layer that is ideal for shipping purposes. Bags made of polyethylene can be printed just like regular cardboard. Poly is popular more and more among brands that want to cut down packaging costs. A simple durable poly packaging suits best for clothing and accessories.
Glass & Aluminium Packaging:
Glass is commonly used for food and beverage packaging. Although it is completely non-degradable, glass can be recycled pretty cost-friendly. It is free from any plastic and petroleum-based materials. In terms of package design, glass also has limitations as it only allows for the formation of various shapes, but it lacks any print options other than a traditional sticker label. Finally, there is aluminum – a very light packaging material. Manufacturers use it for cans, bottles, mailer bags, and some types of food packaging.
After discussing critical components of quality packaging design, it is time to take a look at creative ideas.
- Innovative Packaging Supplies
- Minimalistic Design
- Design Inspired by Vintage Aesthetics
- Pattern Based Packaging
- Culturally Inspired Design
- Contemporary Design and Packaging
Packaging represents your entire brand. It informs the buyer about the product but also associates the product as being part of your brand. So your brand and product get more closely tied by packaging. Many brands get it wrong, especially newborn industries. An example is the legal cannabis industry and its packaging. Luckily there are CBD standards introduced to the market already.
During product packaging design making, you have to remember the following.
In the first place elements for packaging design should be the brand logo. It may be a simple black logo on a cardboard package. Alternatively, you may have an intricate design that covers all internal and external surfaces. Either way, have your logo at hand and use it in your box design process. Make sure you use a high-quality vector file to avoid pixelation.
Along with your logo, you probably have a handful of colors that your brand associates with. Echoing those colors into your packaging is a great idea to quickly convey your brand’s presence. Using one color palette in your store, on your product, on the website, and on your packaging is a core element of branding consistency.
Fonts are tricky, as a brand’s logo may be nothing more than a name in a specific font. But you may want to use a specific font to list your product’s UPS on product packaging. In that case, know exactly what they are, the ideal weights for them as well as letter spacing. Make sure your font has the native characters you need.
Is there a specific logo that your country uses on products? Logos that represent industry standards? Many people often overlook these little elements, but they bring together all the design elements.
Packaging is not just about protecting the product. Marketing collateral is a powerful tool to communicate and promote a brand. It is an opportunity to engage consumers and convey key marketing messages. Strategically incorporating marketing collateral, such as product labels, tags, inserts, or promotional materials, into packaging design enhances brand awareness and drives sales. These elements can include product description, usage, benefits, price, and others.
Packaging as Visual Communication with Consumers (conclusion)
After all, packaging design is far more than merely enclosing a product. If it can create a product identity that resonates with the target audience, making the product stand out on store shells and online platforms. Packaging design also plays a crucial role in storytelling, as it can tell a brand story, showcase its values and create a connection with consumers. By leveraging visual elements strategically, packaging design can communicate the quality, uniqueness, and desirability of a product. This can ultimately lead to purchasing decisions.