The package your product comes in can have a major impact on how well it sells — sometimes just as much as the product quality or strength of your marketing efforts.
Strong package design stands out and lets a user know what’s inside the package and what kind of experiences they should expect to have with the product. Poor package design may be confusing or a little bit lackluster and may make a product slip into the background.
These are five reasons why a redesign can majorly influence your branding and business success — plus, how you can redesign your product packaging:
1. Strong Product Packaging Builds Your Brand
Your product packaging presents an opportunity to strengthen the overall coherence of your brand identity. When all the products you sell have some common graphic design elements, they can more obviously form a line-up of related items.
A distinct design will also help familiarize customers with your logo and other design elements you want people to associate with your company.
Strong design that aligns with your branding will also help customers pick out your brand from others when your product is on a store shelf.
2. Functional Packaging Can Have a Big Impact on Customer Satisfaction
Product packaging does more than just look good. It also needs to protect the product that’s inside — while also making it easy to access once it’s safely in customer hands.
Functional packaging can seriously affect how consumers feel about a product. Safety seals communicate that a product hasn’t been tampered with. Thick cardboard and packaging materials help protect products while in transit, ensuring no customer receives a damaged item. Bottles that come equipped with diffusers or eyedroppers make products like essential oils or extracts easy to use right away.
The apparent quality of packaging can also matter significantly. One study found that customers consider water bottles made from thick plastic, for example, to be more high-quality than bottles made from thinner plastic.
Packaging is an opportunity to make your products a little easier to use or a little less likely to get damaged in transit.
3. Packaging Can Communicate Values
In the same way, your packaging can do a lot to show off the values you want people to associate your company with.
For example, one online store may want designs featuring vibrant colors and unusual shapes — exciting designs that communicate a bit of playfulness and levity. A company with a more serious brand identity may want to do as much as possible with just simple shapes in muted colors or black and white.
This is sometimes called “selling and telling,” as you’re showing the customer what your product is about while trying to make a sale. It’s one of the best ways to maximize the effectiveness of product design while also shoring up your brand identity’s strength.
Both approaches tell customers a lot about what kind of experience they should expect from the individual products and the brand as a whole.
4. Good Aesthetics Can Draw the Eye
If packaging isn’t visually exciting, it may get lost among other products on a shelf aisle, or in a digital storefront.
Good design can drive sales by making your products easier to spot, potentially drawing the attention of customers who are passing by or scrolling through a digital catalog.
5. Packaging Techniques Can Reduce Costs
It’s also possible to reduce costs with the right packaging techniques. Getting clever with materials and package design can sometimes help you drive down packaging costs.
In some cases, unique designs may also help in other ways. The sustainable packaging materials market is growing fast, and eco-friendly packaging can be a big draw for customers looking to shop with green brands. Unusual or unique packaging can also grab a customer’s attention in the same way that good aesthetics can.
How to Redesign Product Packaging
To start your packaging redesign, you want to consider how you’ll approach each of the basic aspects of product packaging:
- Shape and structure: How is your product packaging shaped? What kind of materials will you use?
- Functionality: Throughout the design process, you’ll need to consider the practical aspects of your product packaging. For example, how stackable will your product packages be? Will they survive transit? Once a customer has the product, how easy it is for them to open the packaging and start using what they’ve bought?
- Graphic design: This includes the colors, shapes and text printed on the packaging itself. Design tells customers a lot about what they should expect from the product. These visual elements are probably some of the most important aspects of packaging design. Even if your packaging is average, strong graphic design can really make it stand out.
Each of these elements will play a key role in the overall look and feel of your products.
For basic package shapes like boxes, you probably won’t need an expert, like a structural designer, to help you design your packaging. More complex packaging designs may require outside help. In any case, getting expert advice may help you optimize your package shape and structure.
You can handle the graphic design on your own, or enlist the help of a graphic designer or branding agency. Your finished packaging design should account for brand colors and brand identity. The design’s use of shapes, typography and color should be good at both describing the product and linking it with your branding.
Testing prototype designs can help you know if you’re on the right track. Drop-testing, for example, will give you a sense of whether your package will do well in transit. You can also test product design for user-friendliness.
Planning a Product Relaunch
Once you’ve settled on a design, you’ll also need to plan your product relaunch.
Not all product redesigns need a relaunch, but if you’re making major changes to the look or design of your packaging, a relaunch campaign can be worth it. It will let customers know your design is changing and serve as an initial ad campaign for your product’s new look.
When designing your relaunch campaign, keep the look of the ads in line with your new packaging’s appearance. If possible, you can emphasize changes in appearance and cover major differences, like a new product name.
How a Product Packaging Redesign Can Grow Your Business
The look of your product packaging can majorly influence sales and brand recognition. Strong aesthetics, good materials and functional packaging can all draw customer attention and even improve how they feel about your business.
If you redesign your packaging, it may also be a good idea to have a product relaunch campaign — especially if you make significant changes to the look of your products.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.