Picture this: you’ve done your market research, found an audience, developed a great product, and built a solid marketing plan to get the word out. There’s just one problem – your product is being sold in a plain cardboard box and, in a crowded marketplace.
One of the best ways to stand out from the competition is with compelling packaging design. If you don’t spend the appropriate time thinking through how your product packaging looks, you are risking more than just immediate sales. A consumer’s perception of your brand is strongly influenced by your packaging and something that is poorly designed or confusing can leave a strong and lasting negative impression that’s hard to shake.
Fortunately, with the help of a good designer, you can develop product packaging that represents your brand well and makes a positive impression on consumers. Below are five tips to help you develop packaging design that stands out.
1. Focus on what matters.
A recent consumer survey by the label manufacturer Luminer found that 60% of shoppers are unlikely to buy a product if the label doesn’t provide enough information. On the flip side, if you put too much information on it, your design will end up cluttered and confusing.
The key is to focus on the information that matters to customers and that means prioritizing. When working with your designer, make sure to have a clear idea of what information is most important. Is there a unique product claim that you simply must feature or a particular ingredient that deserves special attention? You may find that as you go through design options, the information you thought was important changes.
2. Get multiple options.
Whether you’re working with a single designer, or sourcing designs from a variety of artists, it’s important to get multiple options. Because package design is such an important component of how a consumer experiences your brand, it’s not something that you should settle on too quickly.
If you have the budget and time, consider testing not only multiple designs but also multiple materials. You may find that a more premium material enhances the experience so much that it’s worth the extra cost.
Using sustainable material is another way to stand out and something that is increasingly important to consumers. According to research commissioned by Asia Pulp & Paper, more than half of Americans consider packaging waste to be a serious environmental issue.
3. Tell a clear and consistent story.
You don’t have to literally tell a story in your packaging – though some companies have had great success incorporating humorous or compelling narratives into their designs – but your product should say something meaningful about your brand. In keeping with the first tip, you should prioritize the information that matters, but make sure that it’s all working cohesively together.
From your logo to the colors you use, the choices you make in your package design tell a consumer what matters to you as a brand. Are you playful? Are you serious? Are you premium? When you’re thinking through your package design, consider how it fits within all of your other marketing communication including your website. Your packaging design is just one part of your overall brand identity, so it must be consistent with everything else to avoid confusing your customers.
4. Know your competitors.
Think of the thousands of different packages you see on a store shelf. How do they stand out from each other? What catches your eye as you’re walking down the aisle? You should do this same exercise when considering your own brand’s product packaging.
If you’re competing for space on a store shelf, or on an ecommerce site, it’s important to know how your product matches up to your competitors. Compare things like your font, colors, and package size. If you see that your product is blending in too much, work with your designer to identify areas where you can stand out.
5. Test your design.
Let’s say you’ve gone through the design process and come up with something that you really love. Congratulations! Odds are, you’re your own toughest critic, so that’s exciting. Before you launch your product to the world, though, it’s important to get it into the hands of real consumers.
As much as your opinion matters, you are not necessarily your customer, and doing real research to see if it meets their needs is vital. It doesn’t even have to be focus group research or anything overly formal. Sometimes getting advice from a friend or neighbor is good enough, but make sure you’re asking somebody besides yourself. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you’ve wasted money printing thousands of labels that are missing a key piece of information because you didn’t ask for an opinion.
With these tips in mind, you can build more than just a great product package, but make a lasting connection with a customer that keeps them coming back.
What do you think makes great package design? Tell us below!