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The Beginner's Guide To Product Packaging Design

The importance of product packaging cannot be overstated. Packaging plays a huge role in evoking enough interest in the consumer for them to stop and examine the merchandise. Excellent products are often totally ignored because their packaging fails to capture the buyer’s attention. Oftentimes, mediocre products - that may pale in comparison to the quality of others - are purchased because their packaging has grabbed the customer's attention. 

Not only can good quality packaging grab someone’s attention, but it can also physically protect the product - ensuring it arrives intact, and ensuring that your reputation remains intact in the process! Packaging is also a brilliant way for a company to brand itself in the consumer's mind and secure loyalty. Therefore, it is vital that packaging is carefully designed with a great deal of care, so that it is perfected. 

The first step in designing the packaging for a product is to have complete information on three aspects:

1) The product and its fundamental nature and uses

2) The profile of the possible consumers of the product

3) The point of purchase

These three aspects will determine the basic requirements like size and choice of materials in designing the packaging. For instance, a delicate product will need to be packaged in a stronger material. If it is a liquid stored in a bottle, the packaging will have to be designed in a way that it prevents breakage and spillage. If the products are fresh and have a limited shelf life, like flowers and green leafy vegetables, the package must be designed to allow air to enter the box. 

Secondly, the package must be designed in keeping mind the profile of the possible consumer. Products for the elderly must be packed in a way that is easy to open and must have the product description in larger fonts to enable an easy read. Packaging for products aimed at the wealthy customer is most effective when the package is made from materials that exude a feeling of luxury. 

Thirdly, the package must be designed, keeping in mind as to, where the product will be purchased from. Packaging for products bought in a supermarket needs to be designed in a way that attracts immediate attention from among a thousand others. Packaging for products sold online need to be designed in a way that ensures safe and economical shipping.

After having gathered all the above information, the next step is to actually design the package. There are a few crucial factors that need to be kept in mind while designing the packaging. Let's run an eye over them.

Budget

It’s very important to fix the cost that can be incurred on package designing. Along with the cost for the original design and dies, there will be the cost of material and labour to consider. 

It would be absurd if it costs more to package your product than it did to make it. Ensure you budget smartly when it comes to custom packaging so you can keep your costs down. Remember, if you use quality material, your product is less likely to be damaged, meaning you’re less likely to have to deal with the expense of returns!

Size, Material & Layers

While designing the packaging, keep in mind the number of layers that the packaging must have. There are three layers of packaging - the outer layer, which is what the consumer sees: the inner layer in which the product is placed and the layer in which the product is wrapped. 

The nature of the product determines the number of layers. While biscuits might need just one layer, chocolate may need two and crystal may need all three. Secondly, decide on the size of the package and finally determine the material in which you will pack the product.

What Content Needs to Appear

The content that appears on the package is crucial. The consumer spends less than three seconds looking at a product in the supermarket, so the information displayed on the package must be brief but effective. 

Keep in mind that statutory information like institutional approvals, the expiry date of the product in case of perishables and the Maximum Retail Price also needs to be put on the package. Clever use of colors, fonts, icons, and images can highlight the USP of the product at a glance. 

Also, keep in mind that there are cultural and linguistic differences among consumers. For instance, showing people's eyes or soles of their feet is not acceptable in Middle Eastern cultures. Or the same word may mean different things to different consumers. It is necessary to design the package and its content without offending cultural sensitivities.

Brand Requirements 

The product may belong to a brand, or it may be a stand-alone product. If it belongs to a brand, the design needs to carry the colors, fonts, and logo of the brand. 

The package design embodies the brand like the black and white design of Apple products or the yellow wrap of M&M’s. Often, package designs themselves become the brand.

Competition

Study the package design of the competitors. While radical differences may backfire, it is necessary to design a package that creates the impression that this product is head and shoulders above its competitors. The design can distinguish itself either by using reusable bags or material that is eco-friendly. It can identify the product by giving information and suggestions that are not given by the competitors, or carry a personal story that is unique to the product.

Printer Considerations and Requirements 

Choose a printer who will have the necessary infrastructure to make the package of the highest quality. The printer should be able to open and process the file in which the design is given, give die line templates if required, match the colors to the maximum accuracy and provide visual mock-ups. Design the packaging based on whether your printer does offset or digital printing and state the preference clearly.

Beware of Designing Pitfalls

The drive to make the product succeed sometimes causes the design to exaggerate its positives and over-promise to the consumer. Building up the consumer's expectations and having them dashed when the package is opened can be disastrous for the product.  

Another common pitfall that happens in package designing is that designs tend to be similar to those of the competitors. Given that the product is similar, this is a natural tendency, but one that designers should beware of since this could lead to expensive litigation from infringement issues or even cause the consumer to skim over the product assuming that he has seen it.

Assess & Evaluate the Design Carefully

Once the design has been made, it is necessary to step back, assess it, and play the Devil's Advocate. Is the design relevant? Is the design different? Do the packaging and content reflect the product accurately? How will the package look on the shelf? Is the package reusable, eco-friendly, and cost-effective? Does the package design ensure efficiency in cost of logistics and transportation? Will the design support future modifications in the product?

Conclusion

The packaging of a product can make an enormous difference to the bottom line of a company. It is a weapon of strategy. It builds and strengthens the brand of the company and can actually increase the volume of sales. The expenditure incurred in creating a robust package design is an investment that will yield results in the form of higher margins.

Here at Arka, we provide affordable, world-class packaging solutions. You can choose from a range of Kraft boxes that are eco-friendly, durable and inexpensive. Or, if it is white boxes you want, then these are available in multi-color, clear print and with a high-quality finish.  

Arka can help you meet cost targets as we can undertake orders of as little as 10 boxes. You can even Custom Design your own package today at prices that are simply too good to miss.

Get in touch today to find out more! 

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