The Basics of Packaging Design

Grab with your heart, justify with your mind

While this may be oversimplifying, it’s good to think about when developing your packaging. Remember the book “Blink” and the discussion around how much more quickly your gut feelings can process and make choices than your logic? Think about how this applies to retail shelves: when a consumer is cruising through the aisles, those gut feelings will trigger someone to pick up one product over others. After that, the  consumer will evaluate logically and decide whether to put the product in is or her cart. 

This influences how we design packaging because first and foremost, we want to make the packaging catch the eye of consumers. Then we want him or her to feel something specific — a lot of times in food & drink this translates to flavor or texture, but it can and should also be an emotion that ties to how the product will make you feel (vibrant, comforted, energized, relaxed). Ideally, this isn’t just articulated in one thing — everything works in symphony to elicit the feeling. 

Once we’ve grabbed the attention of our consumer and they’ve picked it up, your chances of purchase have already increased, as 30% of products that are held are purchased, according to consumer market research firm Eye Faster.

What is it & why is it for me? 

Seems obvious, but these questions can sometimes get muddy in the fervor of explaining all the things about your beloved products. This is your closer — information to justify the purchase.  

Be very clear about making sure the consumer understands the product offering first. If it’s a new type of product, consider visuals to help tell the story. Only after there’s clarity about the product offering, you can point out why the product is great for the consumer. And here’s the challenge — keep it to a maximum of 3 things. I know there are SO MANY reasons why your product is amazing, but here’s the science: people can generally recall only 3–4 things maximum. It’s why phone numbers are in groups of 3 & 4 numbers. And your brand already takes away one element. The more you add, the less likely a consumer will recall any of the reasons why it’s for them. 

As mentioned before, there are a lot more intricacies and details that go into packaging design, but we really do go back to these basics every time we work with brands to ensure that packaging is working as hard as it possibly can! If you’re struggling with your packaging design, feel free to reach out anytime. We love what we do & are happy to set up a complimentary chat.

SD/CA