If Christmas movies are to be believed – it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The outside is just an added bonus, one that is quickly discarded and just as easily forgotten.
Unfortunately, while idyllic, the above assumption is not as applicable in the real world. Here, packaging matters, especially in the world of business. Apart from their purchase experience, brand packaging is the first interaction consumers will have with a product. In a way, product packaging is like a first impression – something that is not to be taken lightly in the business world.
Thus, because of the hidden power it yields, packaging design is a path worth exploring, especially in the case of small businesses eager to establish their brand. In this article, we’ll take a peek at just some of the possibilities of boosting your brand through out-of-the-box packaging design!
If you’ve ever skimmed an interior design magazine, you must have come across the notion of simplicity. In recent years, the less is more mentality has been the most notable design trend in everything from Paris couture to holiday table settings.
While it does come across as a trend like any other, there is something to be said in the favour of simplistic design. It is a welcome alternative to the swarm of visual cues that bombard us day in and day out. In other words, the simplistic design allows our minds to effortlessly center on the main message – something that great packaging should be able to do.
Therefore, regardless of the product hidden inside, brand packaging should remain simplistic. It should catch consumers’ attention and immediately inform them about the product, brand, and business. That way, each future interaction with the packaging will trigger a positive correlation making the brand easily recognizable and increasing business visibility.
Building a business from scratch is no easy feat. On the contrary, it comes with immense sacrifice, both personal and financial. Precisely because of this initial cost, most novel businesses are eager to save money wherever they can. As a result, most disregard the packaging design, rather opting to focus on the product itself. While this decision may seem logical at the start, it will cost the brand further down the road because the packaging is not a cost, it’s an asset.
As mentioned, attractive packaging design is the first impression that customers will have of your product. Investing in it will show your customer base that your product has value. Even before they test it, consumers will form a positive association with your product and thus with your brand. Therefore, even though packaging design is an initial expense, it will surely pay off further down the road.
More often than not, people overcomplicate relatively simple situations. The same may be said of packaging design. Thus far, this article has discussed the importance of simplistic design. However, there is another aspect to packaging in addition to brand illustration and that is typography – the style and manner in which messages are written.
When it comes to packaging typography, there is only one aspect worth considering – readability. In other words, will customers be able to read your brand name without breaking their necks? The brand name and message on the packaging should be written in a clear, simplistic, and straightforward font. In other words, overly complex cursive styles are highly discouraged.
Even though this may seem as if it will hurt the overall design, simplistic typography will ultimately do just the opposite. It will help customers easily interact with the brand, again establishing a fast and memorable connection, one that each and every business yearns for.
Thus far, this article has made it a point that quality packaging is key to boosting a business brand. However, we’ve left out one important notion and that is durability. Namely, to find its way to the (hopefully) satisfied customer, the product and thus the packaging must be durable.
Therefore, before settling on a logo or font, businesses should consider the kind of product being transported and the method of transportation. If the package is to travel across continents and oceans, it needs to be composed of sturdy and durable materials.
Upon delivery, customers expect their products to be in excellent condition. Creating a package that keeps the product intact will create a trustworthy relationship between your business and customer base – a solid start for whatever is to come in the future.
If this article had one goal in mind, it was to show that details matter, especially in the business world. Innovative packaging design contributes an entirely different level to customer experience.
It creates expectations, builds trust, and above all forms relationships between a business and its customer base. After all, when is it a better time to think about packaging design than during the holiday season?
By Brigitte Evans
Because e-commerce and remote experiences have become an integral element of today’s market, never mind why, it’s important to focus on your presentation. That is, how your brand is perceived by customers off-site, or within their homes.
When you ship a product to a customer, one of the first things they encounter is your brand packaging. If you ship the goods in a plain or non discreet box, not only will they notice, they’ll probably be underwhelmed. There’s a reason why you see that happy Amazon smile on every one of their boxes, parcels, or envelopes. Yet another layer down is the outer wrapping of a product, and it also matters how distinctive that is.
These days, the packaging is just as important for your branding and marketing efforts as any other strategy you might apply. How can you use this to your advantage? What are some ways that you can leverage your B2C packaging to boost your branding efforts? Let’s see how your rigid boxes can step it up with your branding.
To stand out from the crowd you must be unique. That’s why product packaging should be creative, engaging, and most importantly, brand-defining. A box is a box, but a cool and creative box is truly something special.
Thelma’s Treats, a Des Moines Iowa cookie maker, packages its delicious and fresh cookies inside a to-go oven. Granted, the oven is made of cardboard, but when it arrives on your doorstep, and you slide the tray of cookies out, it’s just like pulling them out of — you guessed it — your oven!
You don’t have to be quite so elaborate, but the takeaway should be that you need to create a unique and captivating experience for your customers. These kinds of experiences are always memorable, and they’re certainly buzzworthy.
There are entire communities dedicated to unboxing appealing products during video recording or a live stream. Influencers and audiences alike love when product packaging is top-notch.
Content creators often start by capturing footage of the unopened packaging. Soon after, they will begin opening up the package, whether it’s a box, parcel, or something more elaborate while commenting on the setup, what they find inside, and the initial presentation of the products.
It’s a communal experience, which involves the audience, as much as the creator. Everyone gets the opportunity to experience the event, whether they have the product in their hands or not. All of this generates buzz, and the content is shared across the internet from social media to messaging boards.
You can encourage your customers to hold unboxing events, not just by saying that outright but also by providing a tailored experience — this ties into the strategy above about getting creative. When designing your packaging, think about how people will be interacting with it. What will it look like on those live streams? Will people enjoy it and want to get in on the action?
Product packaging, for the most part, exists to protect the goods contained within. That is a critical element of a successful package design, but it’s also important to ensure usability. Can your customers remove the packaging easily or is it frustrating?
It’s important to strike a good balance between protection and usability. We see this a lot with tamper-proof solutions. The design is more complex to prevent tampering or to improve safety — like pill bottles meant to keep children out — but that can lead to more frustration. Even so, tamper-free designs are necessary for select goods, so it becomes about deploying them in a smart, efficient way.
The same balance must be honored with your product and brand packaging. It can be difficult to achieve with certain materials, like hard plastic, but a solid workaround is to create a viable entry point, like pull tabs, perforated edges, and beyond. These helpful additions make it easier to breach the package, without compromising integrity. Smart designs can also help, where the packaging is lovingly crafted, from the onset, to provide a pleasant unwrapping experience.
It reflects on your brand, like it or not, so when it’s difficult to open packaging or the entire experience becomes a hassle, it leaves a sour taste in people’s mouths.
Although it’s something that has applied for dozens, if not hundreds, of years in retail, the presentation of your product packaging and how it looks on store shelves still matters.
You may wonder how shelf appeal differs from doorstep appeal, and the distinction is quite easy to quantify. When a package lands on a customer’s doorstep, they’ve already invested. But for a package sitting on store shelves, you’re targeting people that haven’t yet purchased your product.
It means that you need to catch their eye, more so than the competition, and the packaging needs to provide a good representation of your brand, at a glance. That’s no small feat.
Above all, any packaging you create needs to be universal. It must have appeal in-stores and online. Here are some ways to make that happen:
Over 80% of consumers from North America, Asia, and Europe believe it’s “important” or “extremely important” for companies to develop eco-friendly products. Moreover, 77% of respondents say that plastic is the least environmentally responsible packaging material.
What does this tell you? People want to do business with environmentally-conscious companies, and they value the ideals behind sustainable operations.
Applying this to your brand packaging means going eco-friendly for the materials and design. You’ll likely find that people love eco-friendly packaging, especially when it’s not overtly harmful — such as those plastic soda rings that wreak havoc on ocean creatures.
Slapping a QR code on your packaging can generate a lot of buzz and fun for customers. Even better, they can be used to create augmented reality experiences, or alternate reality games (ARGs). It’s also a neat little way to incorporate technology into your packaging, without actually embedding electronics or devices.
Most QR codes are designed to open a website or app store page after being scanned, but they can be used for much more than that. They can show nutrition information, product sourcing, deliver messages, or share marketing details and promos. They’re also extremely accessible because most smartphones include QR support built-in.
So, there you have it! Those are some excellent ideas for reimagining and boosting the perception of your company through product packaging.
Be creative and unique. Consider the usability of the packaging and how easy it is for customers to open or engage with. Prioritize the presentation for both in-store and online experiences. And finally, think of the ways you can use customer sentiment to boost your brand, through events like live unboxings, incorporating eco-friendly materials, or leveraging modern technologies.
There are truly some amazing opportunities if you know how to unwrap them!
Eleanor Hecks is the editor of Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.