As the festive season draws closer (be it Christmas, Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali and etc), brands and businesses will only have one thing on their minds:
[Festive Name] Sales
After all, it’s a time for celebration as everyone will be out shopping for their loved ones and preparing their houses with all sorts of decorations to welcome guests, making it the perfect opportunity for capturing new customers and retaining old ones.
While you could slap on the festival’s usual color theme on your packaging design and call it a day, brands and businesses need to realize that there’s more to it than just changing up the colors to make their products stand out on the shelves.
So why don’t we jump straight in and learn how to create better festive packaging design for your products.
Part 1: The Important Mini-Steps
The first step to better festive packaging design is to identify the products (or product range) you’ll be selling in the various upcoming holidays.
Aside from the product’s actual benefits, understanding which products are popular amongst your customers gives you useful insights on the reasons (the ‘whats’ and ‘whys’) that attract people to your product specifically.
Doing so can lead to well-produced packaging designs as you’ll know what customers usually prefer or have taken a liking to, making it an effective competitive advantage to utilize for your brand so you can stand out amongst a sea of lookalike products.
Even if your brand is new in the market, it never hurts to do a little research and find out how you can outperform the big boys (i.e. market leaders) by differentiating through your packaging.
Once you’re past the research phase, you can start drawing up some ideas on the physical aspects (i.e. creating a mockup) before moving onto the actual design.
While it's much more exciting to jump straight into designing, it’s not recommended to do things this way as your finished design might not fit properly (or entirely) with the packaging when printed out, which will end up wasting your time and forcing you to revise the design constantly.
So here’s what you can do to avoid that:
Start with your measurements and know them!
You need to understand how your each of the packaging’s sides fold together to house your product so it is not only protected but presented properly.
Putting it in the perspective of festive packaging design, this is what some of them will look like:
As you gradually work on it, things can start getting technical in terms of getting your measurements right. Not to mention -- the finishing of your packaging.
So here are some common types of finishes you can consider your products:
Gloss is the most popular type of finishing used amongst brands.
Matte is usually used in organic products for its natural texture.
Foil Stamping is used when you want to communicate a sense of elegance or the product’s premium quality.
Embossed & Debossed
Embossed and Debossed is used for products where you want to make a certain visual element ‘pop’ through raising it (embossing) in the 1st picture or receding it (debossing) in the 2nd.
If you want more finishing options, you can head over here. But as long as you’ve got a mockup (even if it’s just a rough sketch), you’ll be able to communicate those ideas to the designers you’re working with.
To sum things up:
Understand your product, customers and work on the physical aspects of your packaging.
Part 2(a): Getting The 'Mood' Right For Your Packaging Design
In the days leading up to the festival, I’m sure you can easily distinguish which products are in the ‘festive spirit’ based on the primary and complementary (a.k.a. secondary) colors used.
For instance, red, green, and white are the obvious color choice in attracting customers who are looking for Christmas products, while multiple shades of red are used for Chinese New Year and various green and purple are commonly seen during Hari Raya.
But getting the colors right is just one part of the equation to better packaging design, as you need to consider other visual elements such as characters, objects, patterns, and other features that resemble the festival you’re selling in.
Put simply, you need to capture the festive 'mood' through colors AND different elements.
So how do you start? A simple way to start is to create a moodboard.
As shown above, a moodboard is simply a collage or collection of visuals, materials, pieces of text, etc. to help invoke a particular style when creating a piece of work.
Think of it as a style guide to keep you on track with your visuals so you can accurately capture the ‘atmosphere’ or ‘ambience’ within your products.
For instance, if you’re tired of the usual Christmas characters and want something different, you could change things up by imbuing everyday things with the Christmas colors and patterns such as this:
Too much red everywhere during Chinese New Year? Try standing out with an unused color like this instead:
If you’re working with a creative agency or freelancer, they can help you with that. But on the off-chance that you’re not, you’ll have to create your own moodboard and fill it with the necessary elements you aim to create.
Moreover, it not only provides instances of inspiration when you’re feeling lost with your packaging design but serves to establish the creative direction at the start so you can picture the finished visuals early on without being surprised at the designs looking different in the final output stages.
So, the lesson? Both colors and various visual elements affect your packaging design which creates a ‘mood’ to match the festival you’re selling in.
Hence, create a moodboard to accurately capture the festival’s ‘essence’ or ‘atmosphere’ so your products can be ‘festive-ready’ as the various celebration arrives.
Part 2(b): Product Presentation On The Inside
In this day and age, customer experience is a value that’s highly sought after amongst brands and businesses as they need to differentiate themselves from their competitors by offering more than just their products alone.
So how do you improve customer experience aside from giving them the best products in the world?
Two words -- product presentation.
Like the packaging’s design on the outside, your product’s presentation in the consumer’s eye can be the difference between attracting them and purchasing your products. While you can only do so much with your product’s display on the shelves, the inside however can play a vital role to ‘wow-ing’ your customers before they even get to using your products.
In simple terms, you could call this the ‘unboxing experience’.
Remember how children get overly excited whenever they receive a gift wrapped like this?
That’s the same experience you need to recreate in your customers when they buy your products.
Even ‘unboxing’ videos are a hit within certain industries (beauty, toys, tech, and etc.) as customers usually encounter them online through influencers and popular figures.
As your product’s packaging design gets shown on video, not only will you be impressing your current customer base with the amazing packaging on the inside, but it creates the potential to attract new customers as they would like to experience (and buy) the same things too.
Here are some examples:
Now, wouldn’t you feel special if you bought something and it came to you like this? It’s as though the brand went the extra mile to take care of you by making sure you receive your product in the best way possible, which creates the experience of using their products a memorable one.
And if you’re lucky, you’ll get a shout out from them online which draws attention to your brand and products as your customers feel a surge of overwhelming happiness to talk about you to all the people they know.
In essence, it’s free advertisement and builds brand loyalty over the long term, so consider this option if you really want to up your packaging game for the holidays.
Part 3: Think About The World Through Sustainability
Some might call going ‘green’ a nice thing to have for your products...
But as consumers become more socially responsible towards the environment, brands and businesses have to start considering sustainable alternatives when selling to them, especially in their use of product packaging.
This is even more evident during the holidays as seasonal products with new packaging designs are released, which pushes up consumer purchase that leads to creating waste from the materials once the customers have finished using the products.
But what do brands and businesses get from going sustainable aside from preserving the environment and an applause for their actions?
For one, consumers (especially Gen Z) are likely to choose brands and businesses who opt for the sustainable route. Unlike their older counterparts, they are more proactive in fighting for sustainability, which makes sense in the context of their future as they foresee inheriting the world’s problems left behind by the previous generation.
After all, wouldn’t you be acting the same way if you were expected to live in a world filled of environmental disasters?
With that being said, brands can incorporate sustainability in multiple ways, especially through their packaging design.
Here are some options to consider:
a) Do you really need that much packaging?
While we’ve touched on the topic of going the extra mile to make your customers feel special with a great packaging on the inside, there’s still a fine line between being ‘extra’ and wasteful.
What is the point of all that packaging to house a single product?
On the other hand:
If you were selling something like this, the topic becomes debatable as the box could still be recycled or reused for other purposes, instead of a one-time use for its packaging.
Which brings us to the next point.
b) Can you use other packaging materials instead?
In basic terms, can your product’s packaging be made from recyclable and renewable materials?
Sourcing for alternatives might be difficult but the world we live in is becoming increasingly innovative with each passing day.
A Taiwanese company called Green in Hand, created a sustainable yet aesthetically packaging design to sell its rice. The packaging is made from simple materials such as kraft paper, tissue paper, and paper rattan, which can be recycled and reused several times when passed through the right process.
This duck egg carton uses newspaper to create a carton while including small bits of hay at the bottom to provide protective cushioning for the eggs. Once the eggs are slipped in, a recyclable strip of card with the product’s basic info is wrapped around the carton to keep everything in place.
c) Assess on how to create less waste
Although creating sustainable packaging helps in preserving the environment, the main goal is to reverse the effects of climate change. One way of doing so, is to identify how your brand can create less waste from your products.
For some, this means reducing shipping box sizes to decrease the weight, resulting in smaller shipping costs.
Another way would be creating single-serving products, which seems counter-intuitive as compared to bulk packaging but serves to discourage food-waste as it is easily consumable.
But that’s not to say that you should create a single-serving product just because. Rather, you need to understand your customer’s consumption behavior of your product and create a packaging that helps optimize the product use without creating unnecessary waste.
For more info, head over to this article.
With regards to that, these are some strategies brands could use to reduce the waste they create from their products (which is different for every industry).
Hence, running an assessment on how you can improve your product’s packaging (and even the packaging design) can open up new windows of sustainable opportunities for your brand, making you the go-to choice for an ever-increasing consumer base (especially Gen Z and beyond).