Join Gerardo Herrera for an in-depth discussion in this video Choose a form that communicates the brand, part of Learning Package Design.
- How do we choose a form that communicates the brand? What exactly do we mean by form? If you look in the dictionary, it's the visible shape or configuration of something that may convey meaning. There are many reasons why a packaging designer may choose a certain form over another. One of them could be for pure aesthetics. Another could be for functionality. Or another may be just the way the shape portrays an attitude or emotion. Whatever the reason you decide to go with the shape of your packaging, just remember, you must always portray the brand's essence, attributes, and values.
Let's take a look at the bottled water industry. For some, the expression of the bottle may represent natural, refreshing purity through soft forms, with flowing contours to make it easy to spot on the shelf, feel good in the hand, and safe. Some shapes may be more square, rectangular, or have angled edges to represent confidence, safety, sterility. Shapes can take on an emotional meaning and convey a certain amount of cache or approachability. The shape and the image it portrays for the brand of water is relying primarily on first impressions.
What does a tall and skinny bottle say about the brand and the water it holds? How about wide and short bottle? What feelings first come to mind when you see these on the shelf? What about a similar bottle, with a beautiful, blue color added to it? Or, short and wide bottle that has dark, amber color? The shapes and colors are providing clues for the audience on value, type, and quality, as well as inviting the consumer to pick it up so they can feel the brand's essence through touch.
By working with your client and design team, you'll be able to articulate the values of a brand and define the design attributes needed to begin to develop a form of packaging that exemplifies the spirit of the product and brand. For example, if a company's brand values are friendly, honest, trustworthy, and easy to understand, the design attributes may look approachable, pleasurable to use, functional, and friendly. How would you interpret that into a shape? Let's take friendly as a value and approachable as a design attribute.
The shape can then start to take a soft form, such as a soft shoulder, soft, rounded corners, or maybe soft dimples applied to the overall surface. Let's now take honest as the value and functional as design attribute. This can translate into a rectangular or circular shape, with an easy-to-open cap. Maybe a larger mouth, and sides that fits nicely into the hand, a box, or car bottle holder. The shape can signal the brand is innovative and uses technology to create products that work.
The shape itself can help in the reduction of material, signaling to the consumer that the brand is environmentally friendly. Finally, the shape can signal that the brand understands its customers by making it easier to open, use, and interact with, especially if the customers are elderly or physically challenged. Bottom line, the shape and form of the package needs to quickly distinguish itself on shelves, and what you do to communicate through these little or big details can play an important role in a jump in sales, and create an iconic symbol for the brand.
- Why is packaging important?
- What makes a successful package?
- Choosing a form that communicates the brand
- Finding a packaging vendor
- Designing and testing
- Typography choices
- Color considerations
- Materials, texture, and finishes
- Shelf appeal and consumer response