I think we can all agree that creating a product takes a very, very long time.

You start from simple ideas to developing a working prototype for it. After that, you’ll have to go through several rounds of tweaking to smoothen out the edges so you can arrive at the final version, where your product becomes usable.

But when it hits the shelves, you realized that you've made is just… well, like any other branded goods out there.

It doesn’t look like it could even stand out from the competition around. From there, it feels demotivating because of the hard work you’ve put in over the last few months (or even years) as it was all for nothing.

So this begs the question… how do you make sure it stands out from the rest?

One of the simple answers - packaging design.

People are naturally attracted to pretty things. It’s human nature. You can read more of that here, but for now, let’s stick with the idea that having well-design packaging is something that can do wonders for your product.

So, let's jump straight in to the 5 useful tips to create better packaging design.

1) Consider Your Brand & Customers To Better Understand The Design Elements Needed

Before getting down to the actual packaging itself, it’s important to first understand your own brand and the people you’re selling to.

After all, a luxurious brand wouldn’t include anything that doesn’t showcase their brand to be grand or classy right?

Even their customers have certain expectations such as:

· How it makes them feel (Their emotions)

· How they look with it (Their attitude towards the product making them look classy)  

· How it reinforces who they are (Their status as a classy person)  

And if you launch a design that contradicts with what your brand and your customers stand for, they won’t think twice about dropping you for another brand they can identify with instead.

So it comes down to this.

Understand what your brand stands for and what your customers are like. When you do that, you get a better sense of the things you need to include in your packaging.

You could even think about it from your customer’s perspective on what they’d like to see from your products as well!

For instance, if you’re selling to someone who’s big on living a healthy lifestyle, it makes sense to go with showing healthy foods like this.

Your customers will be attracted to the visuals as the design showcases a nature-theme to complement what you’re selling which enhances the attraction customers feel towards the packaging. Hence, this conveys the idea of being ‘healthy’ to your customers.

Image: Essential Living

Blend ‘nature elements’ with whole foods to bring out the idea of being ‘healthy’.

Your customers will be attracted to the visuals as the design showcases a nature-theme to complement the products you’re selling which enhances the attraction customers feel towards the packaging?

Hence, this conveys the idea of being ‘healthy’ to your customers.

2) Keep It Simple & Hassle-Free

Image: Saana Hellsten

When you finally nailed down the idea of what your brand and customers would identify with, it’s time to move into something simpler and hassle-free.  

In packaging design, the term ‘less is more’ holds true. However, this doesn’t mean excluding important facts and details about your product, which could get you into serious legal trouble if you do so.

Instead, by choosing not to overdose on the visuals, you’ll be creating something that's clean and simple. After all, no one wants to be constantly bombarded by various products and ads that look like each other.

Overdosing on the visuals will only make it distracting for customers as they’ll likely filter you out along with the rest of the other packaging that are seen as less ‘visually-freeing’.

For instance, if you’re going for a minimalist direction, you could play around with space and the quantity of your designs like this.

Image: Mova Ice Cream

Image: Strong Nutrients

If you’d prefer a modern but simple approach, you could try this:

Image: Olivia Land Studio
Image: Luz l Design Crowd

When you’re living in a world of constant bombardment from different products and ads, it’s good to have a sensory break from flashy visuals and vibrant designs.

As you can see, all these designs communicate one simple idea with their visuals. It doesn’t crowd the entire packaging with different elements which are kept hassle-free for customers as they only have to focus on one thing.

Alongside the main visuals, the packaging includes a few complementary visuals to enhance its main design, which helps customers recall your product better.  

But the main idea is to create space in your design, which lets the packaging breathe so it can help focus your main visuals without requiring customers to put in too much effort to visually understand the entire design.

3) Get Creative To Differentiate Yourself

After keeping your designs simple, another useful tip is to get creative with the actual packaging itself.

This extends beyond the design elements you put on it and more into the realm of how your packaging is actually designed.

Here are some examples:

Based on these examples, you can clearly imagine how these products could easily stand out from the competition as customers will be attracted to the unique features of the packaging.

In fact, they might even buy it just for the design itself which could become the differentiator from other products.  

It might take some experimenting with the packaging’s design before you land on something creative, but just know that with proper planning, the time and effort you spend on it will be worth it.

4) Extra Functionalities To Make It Useful For Customers

Image: Vita Pack

So what can you do besides differentiating with creativity? You could try including functionality (or utility), which gives your packaging an extra benefit for customers as they can now use it for other purposes.

Aside from looking visually attractive to pull in customers, a creative packaging design with an extra function gives customers an added value they’d gladly pay for.

To illustrate this point, check out these examples:

Image: Tiana Spellman

A pistachio-shaped packaging for pistachios. The functionality in this lets customers use the packaging as a bowl to hold their food.

You could even use it to store other small snacks once you’re done with it as well.

Image: Bee Bright

Next, this packaging was created with sustainability in mind. This honey container is made of 100% beeswax, in which customers can reuse it as a candle, making it a waste-free product.

Functionality for your packaging could even be about going green if your brand is about preserving the environment as much and as well as possible.

Examine your packaging from a different angle and see how things can be done better.

Image: GÖRTZ l Heiko Freyland

In this third example, functionality gets simple and creative.

At first glance, you could tell that shoes are being sold by this brand. This creative packaging design involves a simple visual of a converse shoe as the main focus, with multiple shoelace holes in the packaging to be used with a shoelace string for customers to carry their product.  

Here’s a video on the shoelace shopping bag by Görtz in their converse 17 collection, to show how everything works.

But keep in mind, you don’t have to go all out on innovating your packaging if you don’t want to.

It could be as simple as making your packaging useful for daily convenience and keeping your product in the best condition possible. Think resealable bags for your food or even a holder to carry multiple items.

A creative packaging design with an extra function gives customers an added value they’d gladly pay for.

5) Jumping In On The Latest Market Trends

Image: Pak Factory

Besides innovation and creativity, you could jump in on what’s trendy with your customers. This could simply mean scrolling over social media to see what everyone’s going crazy over.

Is there a new movie coming out? Is there a popular event coming to your town? Or did something incredible happened lately around the world or nearby where you live, in which you could easily jump in and make some light banter over it.  

For instance, Malaysians have recently experienced a ‘Boba Milk Tea’ trend, where multiple and different brands of boba milk-tea quickly surfaced to capitalize on this unique trend.

So if your brand happens to operate in Malaysia or you’re looking to expand your business over there, you could consider a boba themed packaging design to capture the attention of Malaysian Customers who would be attracted to boba milk-tea related products.

For instance:

Image: Bao Bao Restaurant

If not, you could consider a different approach instead…  

Malaysia is well-known for its diverse culture of food, in which your packaging design could draw some inspiration from it.

Here’s an example:

Image: Lee Ann

Image: Says.com

Even if your brand is a multinational corporation and you want to include said design into your products, you could do so like this.

But of course, you have to consider the type of customers you’re serving as well, because people from other countries might not be familiar with the country’s national dish such as ‘Nasi Lemak’.

Hence, product packaging design in Malaysia, for example, can be tailored to their culture of food.

In fact, you could even use special days (holidays, festivals, global celebrations) to inspire your design too!

For Malaysia, you could consider major celebrations such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali as a start, with the following examples:

Image: Cornflakes Canada

Image: Photobook Worldwide

Image: The Park Hotels

Each of them takes on the inspiration of the individual cultures celebrated by each race, which makes it special for the customers as they hold their heritage dearly.


To sum it all up:

  • Know your brand and your customers
  • Keep your design simple
  • Get creative innovations to product packaging
  • Inspire your designs with some social or market trends

Couple this with proper planning and a workable idea, you could stand to differentiate yourself from the competition when thinking about your product packaging design.

Keeping these 5 handy tips at hand will not only help you identify potential opportunities with your packaging, but also avoid certain mistakes could risk you the possibility to attract potential new customers.

When all that's said and done, you just have to invest some time and effort while making room for experimenting to work towards creating a spectacular product packaging design.

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