Making your product standout on the shelf is not an easy task. According to the Food Marketing Institute there are over 40,000 different products in the average supermarket. This $600 billion industry relies on consumers, manufacturers, distributors… and graphic designers. The form, clarity, creativity, authenticity, and originality of the packaging play an important role in conveying the products content and brand. Check out these five packaging design tips to make your product shine on the shelves.
1. Form & Function
When you are dealing with the actual shape, size, and function of the container, you are dealing with the form and functionality. First, the product needs to be in a safe package and then consider style. Practicality is one of the more overlooked aspects of packaging, with many manufacturers going with what is tried and true. The more practical the product, the more sales it will get. For example, when Heinz Ketchup turned the bottle over to create the squeeze bottle, sales skyrocketed.
2. Clarity & Simplicity
In packaging design, you would like to be as clear and simple about the contents of the product. Creativity can sometimes lead to ambiguity. Next time you go to the store, ask a very simple question about the packaging, what is the product for? Often times it is very hard to tell. Failing to identify the product in terms of content or usage will usually lead to products that don’t usually perform well in stores. Steve Jobs built one of the most famous consumer product companies in the world, Apple, obsessing about design by making technology as simple and clear to use as possible.
Originality and character are at the heart of great brand and can create the shelf impact you are looking to create with the packaging. Certainly, there are hundreds of products out that are all competing for the consumer’s attention; one way to express your product’s individuality is by being authentic. Giving advice on how to be original can be a challenge, and is simply a matter of creativity and exploration. Perhaps if you are stuck, try doing the opposite to create a bold and different look that will have strong impact.
There’s a fine line in packaging as you are often trying to portray the best product possible in a desirable way but not too the point where the product is something entirely different. This could lead to disappointing the consumer which would lead to poor sales and brand image. The ingredients also matter. An interesting example is the Honest Tea Company which uses organic ingredients which are barely sweetened, clearly they promote this and it matters to the consumer. Consumers have nothing against simple products as long as they know what they are buying.
With packaging design, creativity will convey high quality. A clever package will reveal to the consumer that a lot of time, effort and consideration went into the creation of your packaging. This will send a strong signal to the decision maker to buy a product, even if the product may be priced a little higher.