What does it take to make a successful package design? Each case is individual, but here are six overall guidelines toward creating a strong, effective package that gets results.
- Be true to the product and brand. This involves factoring in the brand’s mission, vision and promise, infusing the brand story, analyzing the target market and having a true understanding on the product itself. Convey the essence and experience of the product through its outer package. Entice the viewer and engage the sale.
- Be timeless, not trendy. There may be a time and a place to leverage trendy looks, but in general you want a lasting look that will stand the test of time and not become outdated quickly, thereby forcing a redesign. A design can be fresh and modern without being trendy. Trends are more surface treatments, where timeless design goes deeper and stems from the core of the brand. Plus, with trends being ubiquitous in design, a non-trendy design is more likely to stand out from the crowd and get noticed.
- Inform the consumer. Over 70% of purchasing decisions are made in the store, so a package needs to work hard to sell itself and stand out from the crowd. Use the package to educate consumers on why they want to purchase this product. What’s in it for them? Better health? Does it make their life easier? Tell them what you want them to know, but do it succinctly and effectively.
- Integrate packaging with the product. Don’t make the packaging an afterthought—design it effectively and strategically to coordinate with the product itself. In cases where the product is revealed through the package—and in most cases it is more effective to show the product—the design must account for this to properly mesh with the product where it’s revealed.
- Plan for growth. It’s important to plan for future line extensions by considering products that may be added to the line and accommodate for that in the design. For example, if flavors in a line of products are color-coded, consider flavors that may share similar colors and how the design would solve that. If there might be sub-lines in the line, accommodate for that too.
- Maximize visual impact. The overall appearance of a package needs to make people stop and look, and entice them to pick up the product. That is the package’s first and most important objective in closing the sale. Understand the selling process a package goes through and consider each stage carefully. Visually differentiate among products in the line—don’t make the consumer have to read to distinguish otherwise identical products. Reinforce flavor or scent with visual cues (e.g., color, imagery). Make it easy for the consumer by ensuring they instantly understand the product just by looking at the package.