Insights / Branding
I think we can all agree that creating a product takes a very, very long time. From ideation to prototyping to tweaking and finally, arriving at the end product that’s usable and ready for consumption. But when it hits the shelves, you realize that what you've made is just… well, like any other branded goods out there. It doesn’t even stand out from the competition. This begs the question: how do you make sure it stands out from the rest?
One of the simple answers is packaging design. It’s human nature that we’re naturally drawn to attractive things - and that goes for the packaging of your product as well. So, here are 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, you wouldn’t want to misrepresent your brand!
Even customers have certain expectations such as:
- How it makes them feel (their emotions)
- How they look with it (their attitude towards the product)
- How it reinforces who they are (their status and beliefs)
And if you launch a packaging 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. It is essential to understand these factors in order to give you a better sense of the elements you need to include in your packaging. Think about it from your customer’s perspective! What would they like to see from your designs? What would they want to feel? Does it reflect how they want to present themselves?
2. Keep It Simple & Hassle-Free
After nailing down the idea of what your brand and customers would identify with, it’s time to move on to considering user-friendliness. In packaging design, the term ‘less is more’ holds true. However, this doesn’t mean excluding important facts and details about your product (i.e. ingredients), which could get you into serious legal trouble. Instead, choose not to overdose your customers eyes with visuals, and create something clean and simple. After all, no one wants to be constantly bombarded by various products and ads that look like each other. Overdosing on tacky visuals would only make it distracting for customers, as they’d likely filter you out along with the rest of the packaging that are seen as less “visually-freeing”.
You’ve probably heard of the term “minimalism” and have seen it being used more and more in designs nowadays. That’s because brands have realized that many modern-day consumers are gravitating towards simpler and intuitive designs, which are straight-forward in showing them the point of focus. This ultimately makes it less complicated and easier to use.
Here’s a cute example:
We’re living in a world of constant bombardment from different products and ads, and having a sensory break from flashy visuals can be nice! As you can see, these designs communicate simple ideas with their visuals, while not overcrowding the packaging with a myriad of different elements.
The main idea is to create space in your design and let the packaging breathe so it can help drive focus on your main visuals without requiring customers to put in too much effort to understand the entire design.
3. Get Creative To Differentiate Yourself
Another useful tip is to get creative with the actual packaging itself. This extends beyond the design elements added onto it and leans more into the idea of your packaging as a whole. Based on the examples above, you can clearly imagine how these products would stand out from the competition as customers fawn over the unique features of the packaging. In fact, they might even buy it just for the design itself!
4. Extra Functionalities To Make It Useful For Customers
Besides differentiating with creativity, it's important to include functionality, which adds extra advantage to your packaging, as customers can now use it for other purposes. This gives customers an added value they’d gladly pay for. The packaging from Bee Bright shown above was created with sustainability in mind. It is a honey container made of 100% beeswax, which customers can reuse as a candle, making it a waste-free product. Again, considering what your brand stands for and what your customers would feel good using plays a big factor!
It’s as simple as making your packaging useful for daily convenience while keeping your product in the best condition possible.
5. Jumping In On The Latest Market Trends
Finally, use trends to your advantage and consider jumping in on what’s trendy with your customers!
This could simply mean scrolling over social media to see what everyone’s buzzing over. Is there a new movie coming out? Is there a popular event coming to your town? Or did something incredible happen lately around the world or where you live? For instance, Malaysians have experienced a “Boba Milk Tea” trend, where multiple different brands of boba milk-tea surfaced and took the market by storm. And from it came product and packaging designs like these:
Here’s another example for good measure:
Nevertheless, you have to consider the type of customers you’re serving as well, because an overly specific trend-related design may attract only particular types of customers. In fact, you could even use special days (holidays, festivals, global celebrations) to inspire your design too! You should consider major celebrations such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali, Christmas and so on.
Couple these 5 tips with proper planning as well as a workable idea and differentiating yourself from competition will come easier than you think! It will not only help you identify opportunities with your packaging, but also help to avoid certain mistakes that could risk losing new potential customers.
It will take some time and experimenting with the packaging’s design before you land on something groundbreaking, but just know that the effort you spend will be worth it. Alternatively, a professional packaging design agency would sure to have some out-of-the-world ideas to impress your customers!