I’ve been hearing the same questions asked a lot lately: How do my logo and packaging work together? Isn’t the logo also the packaging design? What exactly is the packaging design? Some people think that you can just put a logo and a product name on a package and call it done. However, packaging is your single most important brand touch point and for so many it can be a wasted opportunity. When it is done strategically and with this importance in mind, your packaging becomes the gateway to your entire brand.
What Your Packaging Does
Think about it: a new product on a shelf, a consumer seeing it for the first time, not having any association with it. If the packaging is weak, plain and boring, it can be a deterrent. But if it is exciting, informative, creative and alluring, it can make a great first impression. Packaging is how a product introduces itself.
The packaging delivers the most prominent face of the brand, attracting attention and creating an impression. It is the worker bee doing the work for you, up front and personal with the consumer. Once again, it is the gateway to learning more about your brand.
The overall importance is the packaging, not the logo. Consumers will remember great, effective packaging, and this is why packaging becomes your brand identity more so than your logo.
What Your Logo Does
The logo supports the cohesiveness around the products and the brand overall. But the logo is not the brand.
Together, the key touch points of your brand comprise your brand identity: packaging, website, printed materials, social media, email marketing presence. Your logo must be consistent and prominent across all of these channels but it is secondary—a baseline. It pieces everything together.
The logo is the constant across all your branding. It is the common element that ties all your brand communication together.
Your logo plays a very important role, but your packaging is the star of the show.
Where Many Brands Go Wrong
I see many ineffective packaging examples that have the logo as the most significant element on the front of the package. This can work for major national or international brands that put millions into advertising and ingraining their brand in the heads of nearly every consumer. However for boutique and emerging brands, the product name should be the most prominent piece of information on the front of the package because the product itself is what is going to get them interested, not the brand name.
When the logo is primary, they need to seek out more information on the package to determine what the product actually is. At that point you’re making them work harder to understand the product, and they’re not likely to go any further. This is often the result of designing in a vacuum without considering the hectic retail environment where your product is not the sole focus.
When the logo is secondary, the package is showing the consumer what they are looking for—information about the product—when they are in a shopping mindset. The information you want them to see first is the product name so they can identify the product, and then the logo.
The Brand Family
It is essential that the different channels of your brand identity all feel a part of the same family without looking identical, or too dissimilar. Too often I see brands who have piecemealed their branding from different sources and their logo is inconsistent throughout it all, or their website looks like a different brand from their packaging in terms of the design. Likewise in the opposite direction, a brand can also err by having their channels all be too similar—a cookie-cutter copy of each—which becomes boring and stale.
A brand gets it right by having all the channels have a similar brand look and feel. Each is designed to be unique to its own medium, with designs and experiences that are complementary to each other. The overall look and feel has the cohesion of the brand identity itself, and is tied together by the logo.