CAS Production & Branding • 2019
he world of packaging design has changed and continues to evolve every year, to solve new problems and expectations in the minds of ever-more-savvy and informed consumers.
If in the past consumers cared mostly about flavor and price for example, now a clean label, eco-friendliness and sustainability play a part in the purchase decision, and even more so, in building loyalty to achieve lifelong customers.
A typical supermarket in the U.S. holds about 40,000 different items according to the Food Marketing Institute. That means a crowded shelf full of products competing for eyeballs, to be picked up and to be considered and sold. It is a $600 billion a year industry involving many groups of people who research, compare, analyze, design and improve the products to remain ahead.
At CAS Production & Branding, we have been designing and producing packaging for over 20 years. No packaging project is the same, no client is the same because their own customers have different needs. That is a key point to consider when entering a new project, the wants and needs of the final consumer.
While past packaging focused on information-heavy presentations, modern-day packaging focuses on clean, clear communication of a single idea. Consumers often spend 2-3 seconds looking at your product and the message of “what it is”, “what it does” and “how it is different” (from the competition) must be clear.
Consider the following points in deciding the look of your new (or updated) packaging:
- What problem are you helping your customers solve? (will it help them lose weight? Get over a cold? Have better sound in their cars?)
- What key differences are between your product and your competitors or alternative solutions, that you can easily communicate in the front of your package? Minor difference may not cut it. Being 1g of sugar instead of 2g may not convince a customer to abandon his or her’s regular brand, but your product being organic versus the competition might just do the trick!
- If you had to describe your product in one quick sentence in an elevator pitch, what would that line be? That should be reflected in your product name, description and visuals on the most important part of the package: the PDA. The Principal Display Area is the very front, the area usually facing the consumers walking the store shelves (or viewing your products online) and it will determine whether or not they turn the product to look at the back side for more info.
- If using photo on the front of the package, communicate what the product offers in a beautiful, colorful and honest photo that doesn’t oversell the product leading to disappointment after the purchase.
- Branding: Does your product have multiple flavors, sizes, or perhaps related products somewhere else in the store? Branding is key to be recognized and to earn the respect and trust of customers. Clear branding is the best way for customers to spot your products on crowded shelves as their eyes have already been trained to recognize your color palette, fonts and products. All communication ecosphere that revolves around your product, from your website, to ads, instore sampling to tradeshows and social media should carry the same look and feel to maintain a cohesive message and be known as yours!
- Differentiation in design: If your competitors all use photographs, consider using an illustration or uncommon colored background with patterns. When all products in your category use glossy packaging, considering using matte instead. Taking a step out from the line will surprise your customers and make you stand out with distinctiveness that will define you.
- Design in context: A product never sits alone on a shelf, or even on Amazon. Place your new layout and design side by side with all your competitors to see how it performs in a store full of colors, messages, sounds, and sometimes bad lighting! Sometimes a great design will vanish within a long row of other colorful products. How to make it stand out? Would the product be visible on the top shelf? How about the bottom? If the lighting is not idea, can your message still be read?
- Try to imagine where your brand will head next? Line and brand extensions are commonplace and a good packaging will allow the freedom and flexibility to build an entire line of products without losing the brand appeal. Plan your color pallets, styles, fonts and product extensions in advance to account for growth. “Luck favors the prepared!”.