3 Important Rules for Creative and Effective Packaging Design

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

Gone are the days when packaging simply functioned as containers and labels for products. Now, marketers and businesses know how packaging influences consumer behavior and brings in sales.

Packaging design has become an art and a science. Like art, packaging design has beauty and meaning. Like science, packaging design is governed by rules.

Making creative and effective packaging designs is not all about attractive colors, patterns, and visuals. These three important rules also play a huge role in the success of your packaging.

Clarity Is King

The first thing your packaging should do is to answer these three important questions customers ask when they shop:

  • What is the product?
  • What does it do?
  • What is the brand behind it?

Other than containing the product, telling the buyer what it is, what it does, and who made it is one of the primary purposes of packaging. If the packaging fails to deliver the answers in a few seconds, the buyer may move on to the next product, one with clear labels. This is why clarity is the first rule of packaging design.

The patterns, colors, and graphics on the packaging must also clearly communicate the answers to the questions above to avoid misleading customers. One popular example is a certain cleaning product that is packaged like a fruit drink, using transparent plastic bottles, quirky fonts, vibrant color, and pictures of fruits.

Be informative, and avoid misleading consumers. Use clear and precise labels and graphics in your package design. Choose fonts that are legible too.

Beauty Meets Functionality

In one marketing and psychology study, researchers found that, between neutral and attractive packaging, the good-looking one elicited positive emotions in the participants. However, unattractive packaging triggered the part of the brain related to negative emotions.

This research is one evidence of the importance of eye-catching package design. Consumers would more likely buy a product with attractive packaging despite not knowing the brand or not needing the product.

While appearance matters a lot, it’s not everything in packaging. There should be a balance between beauty and functionality too.

Firstly, the packaging should do its job, which is to hold and protect the product inside. Secondly, the container should be easy to open and make the product accessible. Finally, it should be made from sustainable materials or can be recycled or repurposed into something useful.

Be Honest and Authentic

As a rule in packaging design, what you see should be what you get. Don’t exaggerate in depicting and describing your product in the packaging. Don’t set the bar too high if you’re only going to disappoint your customers.

Consumers know how to use the resources available to them (courtesy of the internet) to fact-check anything, including the products they buy and the brands they like to use. And they’re not afraid to call out the questionable products and brands and tell everyone about their experience.

You have nothing to fear if you can back the claims of your product and brand. Plus, you gain your customers’ trust and loyalty without resorting to dubious marketing ploys.

Honestly is vital, but it won’t always win your consumers’ loyalty. In a sea of similar-looking products, you can stand out first to gain a faithful following. You can do that by using authentic and unique packaging that reflects your brand.

If your brand believes in sustainability, it should show in the materials and design of your products and packaging. Your packaging is part of your identity. Your brand’s vision, mission, and values can be seen in the way you present your product.

The Takeaway

Creative and effective packaging design isn’t all about eye-catching graphics and compelling copies. First, there should be clarity in communicating what the product is and does, as well as the brand behind it. Second, attractive packages should also be functional and practical, meaning they can secure the product inside. Finally, packaging should contain honest information, be able to stand out above the rest, and showcase what the brand is all about.

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