Package design or initial presentation of your goods and products can, believe it or not, make or break your business. This is despite the fact that many owners see this element as more of a hindrance. How does something so seemingly insignificant, make such a difference for presentation and support?
This is especially true today, where customers demand cross-platform, online experiences — meaning products also ship to their doorstep as opposed to being offered via brick-and-mortar stores. They also want to see that the companies and brands they do business with are responsible. That means cutting down on excess waste and environmental impact — one common method includes offering packaging with recyclable materials.
But what’s the process? How do you design an attractive packaging setup, while also employing environmentally-safe, sustainable and reusable materials?
Tip One: Determine Your Budget
Before you consider designs, materials, support and anything else that goes along with the development of product packaging, you must determine your budget. What are you willing to invest, and how far will that take you — what is the scale? It matters because the amount of funds you have available will determine the materials and methods you have at your disposal.
For larger organizations, capital and financial investments are readily available, at least in comparison to smaller businesses and Mom and Pop operations. Glass, natural fibers and various bio-degradable plastics can be relatively expensive, especially in bulk. Some alternatives include food-grade cardboard or bio-based food packaging.
Tip Two: Consider Package Durability and Protections
Of course, you also have to factor in the conditions and durability of the packaging you’ll work with. If you ship valuable or fragile goods, you’ll need something sturdier, obviously. This is part of the initial planning process, which calls for researching the materials you might use.
If your package is vulnerable to damage or breakage — such as potato chips — you need to ensure there’s sufficient support used, as well. Will your goods need to remain refrigerated during transport? Will you need leak protection for transporting or storing liquids?
One unique type of can is used in the UK to store and house carbonated beverages. Since carbonation requires proper storage and protections, it’s difficult to find new packaging materials for it. What makes this particular example so interesting, is the company has developed a cardboard-based can for storing carbonated beverages. Yes, cardboard.
Ensuring that the materials and packaging you deploy can appropriately protect your goods is as important as any other step on this list. Make sure you do your due diligence.
Tip Three: Consider External Factors
Does your product ship internationally? Will it take a long time to reach its destination, or is it simply transported to a local source? These are also important factors to consider because it will help determine the conditions with which your packaging must face.
If located in the United States, for example, and you ship internationally to a European or Asian country, the packaging will need to withstand various climate conditions it wouldn’t experience here. This is especially true if you ship to a region with above-average heat or incredibly cool temperatures.
Tip Four: What Message Do You Want to Send Your Customers?
When designing the aesthetics of your packaging, including logos, colors or themes, it’s important to consider your brand’s message. What would you like to convey to your customers? What do you want them to see when they first receive your package? Is there a particular experience or emotion you would like to evoke?
Are you a local contributor, offering plenty of support to the surrounding community? Then you should use local goods and materials, and flaunt that fact. Are you more eco-friendly in nature, then make use of biodegradable and reusable supplies?
As for the overall design, do you want to thank your customer and promote joy? Use bright blues and reds and adorn your packaging with attractive imagery. Many of the amazing package designs shown here use nothing more than vivid colors and imagery to make an impact, and it works wonderfully.
These are rather vague, nondescript examples but you get the gist of it. Incorporate your brand’s message and the customer experience you offer into the design process of your packaging and materials.
Tip Five: Stick With a Standard Size and Form Factor
Packages come in all shapes and sizes, undoubtedly, but that doesn’t mean they’re all ideal. Do your best to honor the standard sizes and dimensions across your range of packaging. This means designing and constructing them for efficiency and safety even during initial transport. Round bottles, for instance, leave a lot more space between them than square cartons, making them more susceptible to damage and movement during transport.
Unique dimensions and shape definitely capture the attention of those who see them, but that’s all for nothing if the goods inside don’t make it safely to their destination. Thinking outside the “box” — almost literal in this sense — is okay in some circumstances, but it’s not always smart in regards to size and dimension.
So long as you honor the tips discussed here, you should come up with some truly unique and engaging packaging designs. More importantly, you should find materials both safe for the environment and safe for your company’s reputation.
Guest blogger – Megan Ray Nichols
Megan Ray Nichols is a freelance technical writer. She also runs her own blog, Schooled By Science, a blog dedicated to making complicated scientific topics easier to understand. You can follow Megan on Twitter @nicholsrmegan to keep up with the latest news.
Header Image: george tsartsianidis – Getty Images