Can Packaging Design Make Your Business?

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Written by Amina AlTai, Marketing Director, Imagemme.

Design, though often subjective, is not arbitrary. Certain design elements resonate with different demographic cohorts and it’s very important to consider these cohorts when designing.
Packages have a huge responsibility to cultivate intimate and long-lasting bonds with consumers. They are the only brand touch-points that you have 100% control of in-store and thus become a vehicle of mass persuasion that can make or break your business. Here are 4 sure-fire ways to make sure your package designs are successful and bring you the most ROI:

Know Your Consumer: Design, though often subjective, is not arbitrary. Certain design elements resonate with different demographic cohorts and it’s very important to consider these cohorts when designing. By the time you get to your package design you’ve already decided on your brand personality and have defined the consumer group your brand is targeting. It is of the utmost importance to design for your market and to test those designs within the market. A package design that is misaligned with your target market’s patterns of behavior and level of taste can certainly break your business.

Ole Henriksen’s Seven Skincare Sensations
Consider Shopability: With packaging design, it’s important to have a design strategy in place before the process is begun. Identify the hierarchy of information, copy points, which elements are constant, and which are variable. Ensure that your variable elements are obvious to the consumer for easy shopability. If you have a fragrance line with 10 different SKUs and the only difference is scent, make sure that difference is obvious to the consumer. The skincare brand, Ole Henriksen has done a tremendous job when it comes to shopability. Skincare can be so confusing with all the lotions and potions in the same tiny jars. Each category of their skincare has been assigned a color that pertains to the consumer’s specific skincare concern. If you fall in the “pink” skin category you know instantly which products are right for you because they are labeled…in pink. Being able to easily decipher between products has been proven to minimize consumer confusion between products and thus lessens returns, which makes retailers much happier with you.

Think About Logistics: Often times we want to create a really elaborate package that breaks the mold in every way. Groundbreaking innovation is wonderful and necessary, but make sure you aren’t losing business because of it. Package designs have to adhere to certain shelf-height regulations. You will also be a favorite among retailers if you don’t take up more space than is necessary. The challenge as packaging designers is to get the most on-shelf signage as efficiently as possible. The size, shape and weight of your product will also affect shipability and cost. Make sure that you are maximizing your usage of space and not paying absurd shipping rates because you’ve made your package out of plutonium.

Clarasonic Pro Sonic Skin Cleansing System

Balance form, design and function: The type of product you are selling plays a big role in the design of your package. If you’re a category leader and consumers are familiar with your brand and product, there is actually less onus on you to get things right (think coke’s design faux pas that celebrated its relationship with World Wildlife Fund). However, if you’re a new brand and you launch with a breakthrough innovation, there is a ton of pressure on your packaging. Consumers need to understand what your product looks like, what the specific functionalities are, what the benefits are and so on. The packaging has a significant role beyond aesthetics to educate the consumer and convince them that they need this product. Think about the Clarasonic Pro Sonic Skin Cleansing system. Consumers had never seen a sonic brush for their face before. We had no idea what this little sonic brush was meant to do for us. However, the packaging clearly displayed the tool, it alluded to its utility by featuring a model washing her face, the package clearly displayed the product benefits and came in a convenient carryall. Clarasonic has been very successful and a lot of that success is owed to the packaging. When it comes to innovation, be sure your package balances that innovation with transparency so consumers can make an informed purchase decision.


The packaging has a significant role beyond aesthetics to educate the consumer and convince them that they need this product.

Good packaging delicately balances design, form and function to create a harmonious experience that stops the consumers in their tracks (with their alarmingly good looks) and convinces them to buy (with their smooth-talking copy and brand promises). Consumers have been proven to make purchases based on color, package utility etc, and with almost 75% of purchases being impulse today, your packaging has to cue the right emotions and make the right statement. In cut-throat retail environments, where every brand is clamoring for shelf space, market share and mindshare, packaging has a big job to do and it’s important to invest the right resources in it to make it successful. Good packaging, simply put, is good business.

About the author
Amina AlTai is the Marketing Director at Imagemme, a New York-based packaging design and branding agency.