Packaging 101 - 5 Do’s and 1 Don’t
1. Choosing The Right Format
If you are choosing from available options from a packaging supplier, whether it’s a box, a bottle or a sealed zip lock pouch, pick something that disrupts the category. Analyse how much area is available for design and typography. Successful brands are ones with the foresight to create a distinct silhouette that can be spotted on the shelf from a distance and can be recognised in a 100x100 thumbnail across digital advertising. At these sizes text is barely readable. Thats why the silhouette matters. Choosing a unique format instantly sets your brand apart in a crowded category. Think how this strategy worked for Paperboat juices when they came in to the market. Imagine if they had packaged the same drink in a tetrapack.
2. Plan Your Branding
The first thing to identify in any packaging layout is the position and size of the brand logo. What if its a cube with six sides? Where should the branding be? Should it be on all faces? Once you’ve defined the area for branding, the next step is to define the area for mandatories. Whether its ingredients or nutritional information, it’s better to place them early on in the design process to avoid running out of space. Do remember that sometimes packs are available in different sizes. Planning for the smallest pack size is a good place to start. Smaller packs, unless part of a bundle, are usually produced and consumed in larger volumes. So best to develop the design system for the high volume segment of the brand’s product portfolio.
3. Create New Touch Points
Break down the consumer interaction journey with the product. It may involve three or four steps. Convert each step into a touch point to engage with the consumer. Surprising consumers with copy or visuals where they least expect is an effective way to leverage design to drive brand recall in a crowded category. Use the inside of the box to say something nice. check out what we did for La Di Da in Goa.
4. Differentiating Product Range
When a company has a wide range of products, then it becomes essential to create coding systems. The simplest coding systems are colour coding systems. My experience on the Flander’s Dairy packaging taught me the value of colour coding for supply chain efficiency. Everyone may not be able to say or remember Mascarpone. But everyone can sort using colours. There is no one way to develop coding systems. The focus should be to increase efficiencies across the product life cycle - from manufacturing to disposal. The veg and non veg logos may not rate very high on aesthetics, but are effective and minimal.
5. Be Mindful Of Stacking
Imaging how your product will be handled across the supply chain. Shippings costs add up due to extra weight and volume. While keeping consumer experience on top of the priority list, tiny design decisions can simplify the logistical journey before the product reaches the consumer. For example, beer cans are more space efficient than beer bottles, less likely to break and easier to handle. Also, stacking can be fun and can add a flair to your packaging. Taking Raw's Almond milk as an example, they created two different packaging for the same product only to complete the picture when stacked at stores.
Don’t under package - Find the sweet spot - Remember packaging is what more than 50% consumers will have to throw at some point. Consumers should never feel that they’ve spent more on the packaging than the value of the product. You can make an exception if it’s a festive gift set or a limited edition, but if the product is to be purchased on a regular basis, then minimise the packaging and earn more brownie points from your consumers. Using eco-friendly, recyclable materials, with waste disposal advice is the sign of progressive brand that cares about the planet. See how Uniqlo does it.