Join Gerardo Herrera for an in-depth discussion in this video The basic roles of packaging, part of Learning Package Design.
- In the past, present, and the foreseeable future, packaging will continue to play an important role in all facets of the global economy. No matter how simple or complex, packaging shapes the way consumers interact with brands, their products, and services. The roles of packaging are to protect the contents from the elements, allow for the ease of transportation, provide information, add convenience in stocking, marketing and communicating the value of the product, security of the product to keep the consumer safe, and finally, environmental responsibility.
So let's go through these roles of what makes packaging important. The packaging must protect the contents that it is carrying. For example, if the package contains food, it needs to keep products fresh and offer a longer shelf life to protect the investments of the retailer, manufacturer, and consumer. The packaging should also prevent contamination from microorganisms, light, moisture, chemicals, and other environmental elements. Or, in the case of electronics, which can have fragile contents small or large, the packaging must also be well-protected against dirt, dust ingress, impact drops, vibrations, and overall temperature and environmental fluctuations that may exist in different parts of the world and require careful consideration and testing.
Most importantly, during the shipping and handling of a product to its final destination, the pallet that it's packed in will most likely be dropped, and the package must keep the contents protected as accidents like this surely will happen. So this leads me into the ease of transportation role. Whether it's liquid, solids, powder, hard goods or soft goods, it must be easy for transporting the goods in the current system. And here are some things to consider. Can the contents stack well in a master pallet and increase efficiency during loading and shipping? Will it provide the stock person the ability to safely and efficiently stack the shelves, track the product inventory, and sell effectively to the customer? Make is as accessible as possible.
Does the packaging then work at the consumer level to provide the same benefits of transport and storage? And does it strike a good feeling towards a brand, meeting the expectations of the consumer while bringing it home? Specific package information is another component that should not be overlooked and must be taken seriously for any product categories that are being packaged. Special instructions help with the use of the product and how to handle it safely. Regulatory or governmental bodies will require certain information to be provided.
This will need to be adhered to. Ingredients lists, nutritional information, product makeup, and special certifications are all key in providing the confidence and credibility for the what, how, when, and why about the product and the brand that created it. Convenience expectations are met by providing features that help in the daily life of people who may welcome the ease of use of these packages, and how they solve their lifestyle with easy handles, thoughtful grips, special features for pouring, cooking, on-the-go, and sizing.
One of the biggest and most critical roles in today's market is the strategic use of marketing through visual cues and clues that connect with a consumer's heart and mind. Marketing the values of the product through visual triggers such as color, shape, brand identity, type, photography, illustration, and materials provides a brand the edge needed to position themselves as a mass market or premium product. Creating this value calls for the need of shelf appeal, and it provides brand awareness for the desired purchase.
Bottom line, a consumer can pass by nearly 600 items per minute. The pressure to compete is extremely high. Getting the mix right to effectively catch the consumer's eye and transmit this information quickly is highly tested to ensure it captures the intended audience or persuades new ones. Security of package is ensuring that the contents are not tampered with by providing a level of safety with security seals, special markings for tracking or lot numbers, labels that turn color to alert of contamination, and seals that provide a level of authenticity that guarantee brand quality and safety.
And finally, the sustainability of packaging components like package size, reuse of materials, and new technologies must always be considered to reduce the impact on the environment. So there you have it, the importance that packaging plays in global, regional, and local economies should not be taken lightly, as the roles of packaging will make a positive impact to your bottom line, clients' trust, vendors' view, and consumer delight.
- 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