Join Gerardo Herrera for an in-depth discussion in this video What makes a successful package, part of Learning Package Design.
- Let's take a look at a few key criteria that make up a successful package. Shelf impact is one of the first things to observe during your retail audit. Will your package stand out from the sea of sameness? Will it just blend in because you're following everyone else's cues? You'll need to figure out strategy to break up the pattern so that a consumer can spot you. Surrounding packaging design may all be screaming at once, so try the opposite approach and stand out quietly. You might want to test out a few design options that range from simple to complex, and then decide on which best creates the desired impact.
Once you're able to capture the consumer's attention for that split second, you need to be able to communicate what the product is for and whose brand it is. Again, you only have a few seconds to help your consumer know the what and who. Really focus on working with your client on packaging that's easy to understand. Don't make it confusing, clear and simple design is best. The packaging can look amazing, but says nothing, or there are so many listed benefits that you lose sight of the brand.
Don't make the mistake of simply not telling the consumer what the product is, what's it about, and who's it from. When making claims about a product on the packaging, make sure you're true to the product and brand. If you're visually telling the story, make sure it's as close as possible to what the actual product is about. For example, if you're showing an illustration of a chocolate chip cookie, accurately depicting the cookie is important to avoid misleading the consumer.
So, when representing the product, show it with honesty in the best possible light and your consumer will trust your product and the brand. When thinking about the function of your package, always design for the best possible ergonomic shape, size, and ease of use. Form over function or function over form, either way they should both be considered. For example, when you think of ketchup, you might think of the Heinz classic glass bottle, or the commercial that shows someone smacking the bottom of the bottle to get the ketchup out.
But since they introduced the first squeezable ketchup bottle in 1983, and then in 2001, the squeezable upside down bottle, customers love the convenience and speed this offers, while Heinz has enjoyed a huge rise in sales. So, if you have the opportunity to redesign a packaging form, be sure to keep function, shape, and size in mind to ensure your customer's experience is a good one. Also, let's not forget about flexibility in line extensions in the development of the successful packaging system.
It's good to stress test your designs to see if they all stand up to future introductions of things like new graphics, photos, illustrations, and colors, while keeping the brand cohesive and consistent across the entire product line. Work with your client to see the big picture so that when success hits, you can introduce a new product or sub-brand with ease. Finally, regarding branding principles, authentically reinforcing the brand's message, product, and values is what consumers will resonate with.
Only you will be able to dig deep into what makes a brand and it's products authentic in how its depicted. Everyone will be competing to be authentic, and it's your job to truly identify what makes a product special and unique and then apply that on the packaging, easier said than done, of course.
- 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