Each year, more than 30,000 new products are introduced into the market. Only 5% of these products will survive their first year.
Consumers are busy. Most don’t have the time or energy to compare the pros and cons of different brands in the grocery aisle. The best way to save time and energy is to pick products based on their attention-grabbing packaging.
Package design is one of your most powerful tools to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Apple’s clean and minimalist packaging is a great example. The experience of unwrapping a new iPhone or MacBook is unforgettable, especially compared to the unwrapping experience of their competitors. Apple products stand out. You cannot walk past the electronics department without noticing a new Apple product and its packaging.
Growing startups need to create a noticeable package design to succeed in a retail environment, and packaging becomes increasingly important as companies grow larger. Here are 7 ways to create an unforgettable package design for your product:
1. Focus on Clarity
Your packaging should be as easy to understand as possible. Next time you go to a supermarket, take a glance at a random product that you find. Just by looking at the packaging, can you tell what the product is for? Do you know the brand behind it? If you could not figure it out in less than 4 seconds, then chances are you won’t make the purchase.
The average consumer only dedicates a maximum of 4 seconds to a product before determining whether they will buy it. Some products have a great design but no clear brand name or benefits, while other products will clearly show their brand name and benefits but have a poor design.
Companies need to be clear about what the brand is as well as what the product offers. Not sure if your packaging is effective enough? When in doubt, use the eyeball test: ask a focus group to identify what product you are selling after taking 2 seconds to look at your packaging.
Think about clarity in the case of designing instruction manuals for more complex products. Some products, such as lawn mowers, come with complicated and bulky instruction manuals. However, companies are increasingly pushing for more intuitive instructions. Nima®, for example, is creating instructional design right on the product or its packaging to make usage clearer.
|The Future Of Flower Packaging by Linn Karlsson, Nina Klose and Jonathan Alonso Jonsson|
2. Identify the Right Materials
There are several materials available for packaging, with paper, plastic, and Styrofoam being three of the most common. Most packaging materials are inexpensive. However, companies should evaluate their options to determine if it makes sense to invest in more premium packaging materials.
Consider the positioning of your brand, as well as your pricing in the market. For example, Styrofoam packaging may be the best option for those trying to offer the most competitive prices, but would not align with an eco-friendly brand.
Graze packages their monthly subscription boxes with lightweight and sustainable cardboard design for their snacks. On the other hand, luxury brands like Chanel make it a priority to match their packaging design with their brand’s reputation for all-natural and unique quality products.
3. Keep Your Product Secure
How delicate is your product? Whether your brand sells fountain drinks or personal computers, your package design must protect your product from breaking or easily cracking before the consumer opens it. Companies need to consider the path that their products will take before reaching the consumer. Fragile or perishable products may require investing in more secure packaging, such as extra padding, protection from glass scratching, etc.
Apple’s iPhone case keeps each iPhone secure from the time that the manufacturing team sends it to stores all the way to when a consumer unwraps the package at home. 23andMe is another company that secures their product safely for DNA Analysis and Ancestry; their package includes all of the equipment needed for consumers to spit in a vial for DNA collection and send it back without risk of losing or breaking the sample throughout the shipment journey.
4. Consider Practicality
The practicality of a product’s packaging deals with the shape, size, and functionality of packaging. Companies need to ask themselves: Does the packaging make the product easier to use? Heinz’s sales skyrocketed when they recreated their packaging to allow for easier usability, even when the ketchup industry was in a growth crisis.
While many businesses focus on the eye-catching appeal of a product’s package design, practicality is often overlooked. Think of ways to make the product easier to use, carry or store at home.
It’s also important to consider how easy it is to remove your product from its packaging. Have you ever purchased scissors? They tend to be packaged in thick plastic that is almost impossible to remove unless you happen to have a pair of unpackaged scissors already at hand. If you’re not sure how practical your design is, then create some user tests and collect any feedback necessary. all necessary feedback.
|OLIVENÖL packaging designed by Philandi|
5. Keep Copy Minimal
Think of your package as a billboard or real estate; you only have so much room on your package to show its benefits. If your product is the size of a television, then you should have plenty of room to display its features and benefits (and perhaps even the instruction manual). However, if the product is small, then you’ll need to get creative.
Use only the words that you need to in your copy and keep it minimal. Your copy should be concise and to the point. If you had to fit your product’s copy in one tweet, what would it say? Photos and imagery are also a great way to describe your product or instructions without the need for words.
6. Make It Stackable
Will your product be easy to store on shelves? Aside from practicality, make sure that your product is easy to store in consumers’ homes. Customers prefer products that are easy to store away or stack together, rather than a product that is bulky or cannot stand up on its own. For example, snacks and foods that are usually stored in a cupboard must be ideal to fit within the average shelves in each household. Generally, packaging should be able to sit on its own and not take up too much space for storage.
A product must appear distinct and appealing when sitting on an actual shelf. Test your package designs by imitating the placement of your product on an actual shelf next to competing products. How does your packaging compare? Does it stand out, or blend in with the noise? When in doubt, hire a third party to run a focus group to determine how your packaging performs compared to competitors.
7. Don’t Skimp on Printing
Invest in high-quality printers to ensure that your imagery and copy look as professional as possible. Don’t skimp on printing costs at a corner printer store unless you know that they deliver quality work. Ink can stain, smear or wear off when low quality work is done, and the last thing that you want is to leave consumers unable to read your images or copy. The quality of the printing will reflect the quality of your product.
Package design is a very demanding field of design with near-endless opportunities for improvement. Anything from enhanced storability to improved usability presents the potential to better resonate with your customers and improve sales. Packaging can be the make or break for most consumers choosing between several brands. Clarity, security, practicality, and quality in packaging all play an important role in the process.
Looking to rebrand or create a new design for your product? Come explore our product design services and see how we can help you with package design.
Emerson Stone is a product-centric design agency based in Boulder, Colorado. They help brands to take their business to the next level through branding, strategic consulting, application development, product development, and much more. Link up with them over on Facebook and Twitter.