Effective Retail Packaging Design

Effective Retail Packaging Design

Posted 26 November 2014 by Angelique Blankson

When there are only seconds to capture someone’s attention, only the strong survive. Choosing the right type of packaging can be crucial to getting products safely onto store shelves and into consumer shopping bags. The key is in knowing which packaging factors will influence your product’s success – or failure.

Here are a few of the fundamental criteria for effective retail packaging:

Make sure the packaging represents the product

Great packaging not only reflects the product inside, but also manages to communicate its values and market position. In the design business this is known as being ‘brand-centric’. “Think about where your product sits in the market, its values and purpose and ensure the packaging adequately reflects this,” says Celia Jarvis, from the Design Council.

Keep brand consistency

Jenny cairns, Brand Guardian at Nirvana, advises on the importance of brand consistency, “If you’re a brand looking to expand, your consumers need to be able to recognise you. Make sure all of your packaging is in the same realm and that there aren’t, for example, any colour variations. Most people would recognise Cadbury’s signature dairy milk purple or can identify the famous pantone 109 as Selfridges’ yellow – there’s an automatic association. Brands like Gucci will often dye the paper so as to ensure that raw materials stay consistent.  It all needs to be in line”.

Focus on your target market

Consider your ideal consumer and package the product for them,  keeping in mind that if you try to appeal to everyone, you risk appealing to no one.  Once you know who you’re targeting, ensure your packaging ‘speaks’ to them through every stage of the buying journey. “From product selection on the shelf, to the use, storage and display of the product at home, it’s not just the outer packaging but also the appearance of the product once unwrapped that will determine whether a re-purchase is made,” adds Jarvis.

Package for travel

“The packaging has got to fulfil its purpose”,  says Matt Taylor, Creative Producer at Nirvana, “It’s no good having the most beautiful packaging if it can’t safely distribute the product it’s designed for”.

“The protective packaging, storage and distribution elements of the process are there not to add cost, but to preserve value and should be planned into your workflow from the start, rather than when the product itself is completed,” explains Amelia Boothman, director at global branding agency 1HQ.  “Typically, it costs far more to replace damaged goods than pay for adequate protective packaging from the outset. There will be a point when the cost of product damage equates to the cost of protective packaging – this is the ‘optimum’ packaging specification businesses should work to.”

Use standard sizes

Using as many standard sizes across a range as possible can significantly reduce production costs and gives greater flexibility on pallets, both in the warehouse and on lorries. “Round bottles leave more space between them than square cartons, flexible bags can leave the contents open to crushing, and fragile containers could collapse if they have to be stacked,” adds Boothman.

What’s your experience with retail packaging? What catches your eye? Feel free to continue the discussion using the comment box below.