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The Ultimate Guide to Product Packaging Design

Let’s face it: humans love packages. Think of the joy of small children on Christmas morning. The popularity of unboxing videos on YouTube. That tiny hit of dopamine that rises when you see a freshly-delivered package from your latest online shopping excursion.

It’s clear to see that consumers love boxes and packaging. This is why it’s so important to ensure your product packaging stands out from the crowd and represents your brand front and center.

So, how can you come up with custom product packaging that engages customers, represents your company, and saves your bottom line? Our guide will show you what you need to know.

What’s Your Brand Identity?

Before you start investing in the whole design to print process, you need to determine your brand’s identity. Your product packaging plays just as large a role in this as your logo. (The said logo should, coincidentally, feature on your packaging itself.)

How does your brand communicate itself to consumers? If you wish to project a sophisticated image, for example, bright, loud, and pop-y colors would not be the best packaging choice. If you want to seem bright, engaging, energetic, and hip, you don’t want to go too dull with your color choices.

Your font selection also plays a key role in your brand identity. Handwritten-like fonts play to a more rustic or homey crowd, where sharp, digital-looking fonts work better for techies. Consider your audience in your design.

Communicating Values With Product Packaging

Let’s say that your company purports itself to be environmentally-conscious. If you use packaging peanuts or plastic bags, your image and your packaging are at war with one another. With eco-conscious shoppers on the rise, you need to ensure your packaging stays on-message with the rest of your brand.

If you want your company perceived as an eco-friendly tour de force, you need to ensure you’re using sustainable packaging practices. Examples of this include recycled and recyclable packaging, and avoiding plastics where possible.

Your packaging should also be honest with the product and the consumer experience. Every customer has had at least one experience where the image on a food’s packaging looked appetizing, but the item itself looked far less so. Some companies do this with actual transparent parts of the container itself, but how you implement this transparency is up to you.

Don’t Fear Color, but Don’t Overdesign

This piece of advice may seem contradictory, but you need not fear colors, textures, and patterns in your packaging design. You want to ensure your product can get picked out among all the rest on the shelf. You want your consumers to know both who you are and what they’re getting from the moment they set eyes on your product.

However, the worst thing you can do for your product packaging is give in to the urge to overdesign. If there’s too much going on at once with patterns or colors, it can prove overwhelming, and turn consumers off.

Don’t Forget Practical Concerns

Don’t forget the “product” aspect of your product packaging design. The way you design your packaging will change depending on what your product is, and how you intend to ship it.

If you ship a perishable food item, for example, your packaging needs to have ways to keep your product cool and safe for transport. If you’re selling fragile items, you need to ensure they’re well protected during the often bumpy transport process.

How do you handle large or awkwardly-shaped items? Are you using the correct packaging size for your items? Each of these questions plays a role in your packaging’s practical design.

You should also keep in mind your shipping costs before you start piling up too many big boxes, loaded with product. Overweighing yourself on design can leave you underweight on freight.

The “Wow” Factor

You can have well-designed product packaging, and pack it in there. However, to do so would be to open the doors for your competitors to come in and sweep you away like old wrapping tissue when you’re not looking.

Every company should search for their product’s packaging to have a “wow” factor. Something that helps them stand out over the rest.

This could be as simple as a contrasting color to your competitors. Or, it could be something as complex as a highly-detailed shipping box with layers of stuff to add to the unboxing experience.

Customers love pleasant surprises. If your packaging has secondary uses beyond its original purpose or a nice contrast color on the inside of the lid, it can make the customer feel special. If nothing else, it makes you stand out in their memory, which will make them more likely to purchase from you again.

Listen to the (Packing) Peanut Gallery

Don’t be afraid to turn the reins loose to your customers when developing your product packaging design. Consumers know what they like to look at, and the unboxing experiences they like to have. Let that work for you, and crowdsource their opinions before release.

Let’s Pack It up

If you want to ensure your business’s product packaging is a smashing success, you need to first research your market. Know your target audience and what designs appeal to them.

Then, you need to find ways you can stand out from the crowd without losing track of your practical needs. When all else fails, your customers themselves can provide valuable insights about the type of packaging you should use.

That’s a wrap on this article, but if you want to read more marketing, design, and business content, check out our blog daily for more!