The 5 Golden Rules of Designing Amazing Packaging

The 5 Golden Rules of Designing Amazing Packaging

Take a look round any shop and you’ll find that the customers all have one thing in common. Etched onto their faces is a look of trepidation as they struggle to commit to relinquishing some of their hard earned cash for whatever product they’re after.

How exactly can you take that customer to the next step of actually taking that product off the shelf and paying for it? Sure, there are ridiculously low prices and even the threat of physical violence, but neither of these is going to get you very far in the long run.

You may not be aware due to the almost subconscious level it operates on, but packaging is the ultimate deal clincher for consumers. If you can confront consumers with packaging which suggests that the contents are full of nothing but endless wonder then your product’s going to fly off the shelf.

And if you want to design packaging which is this amazing then just follow my 5 golden rules.

  1. Don’t Get Carried Away!

Packaging is a fantastic opportunity for brands to sell their products, but remember that you need to avoid the ‘hard sell’ route.

For example, if a car salesman did nothing but blurt out the benefits of a car to you non-stop you’d get the hell out of that showroom in a second. And packaging is no different.

Sure, you may have been given a long list of fantastic features of a product, but you have to remember two things here:

You want to avoid information overload as it puts off potential customers

There’s only so much room on the packaging – don’t forget you’ll need room for all the boring business information too!

I’m not going to advise you on going down the completely minimalist route (although that is an option), but neither should you feel as though you need to cover every millimeter of the packaging in tempting slogans.

  1. Do the Shelf Test

It’s more than likely that the product you’re designing for is going to be housed on a shelf in a shop. And these are pretty crowded landscapes, so catching the eyes of customers is paramount for the product to fly off the shelf.

The best way to test the visibility of your design on a shelf is simply to pack a shelf full of other products and then place yours in the middle. Does it stand out? Is it swallowed up the designs around it? How can you improve the impact it delivers?

  1. Honesty!

We’ve all been disappointed by the promise of a huge, delicious cake on its packaging only to discover it’s a damp squib of flat sponge and sickly icing.

And this is where accusations of misleading customers can arise, so you need to really concentrate on making sure any images of the product are reliable depictions.

I’m not expecting you to feature a shady picture of a donut, for example, rotting down an alleyway, but neither do I want to see a huge donut overflowing with jam and its sugar magically reflecting the northern lights!

Keep close to the truth and you’ll find your design helps that product end up in people’s baskets time and time again.

  1. Production Issues?

One area that graphic designers often fall down with packaging is in understanding what is and isn’t possible. Sometimes this is defined by budget and sometimes by the laws of physics.

You see, the production techniques being employed may mean that the self-opening box which is integral to your design just isn’t possible.

To make sure you don’t fall down this pitfall, and have to start from scratch, buddy up with the manufacturing team behind the product to discuss what the potential is from the machinery used to manufacture the packaging.

  1. Typography

Without legible typography then your packaging is going to struggle to grab people’s attention.

Perfecting the size is essential to ensure it stands out and isn’t missed by busy customers for whom time is of the essence. And don’t forget that not everyone has 20/20 vision, so boldness is the key.

The font you settle for is also a tricky choice, but the main thing to remember is that it has to integrate into the products ethos. A lovely handwritten font is just perfect for a homely product such as jams and pickles, but is it really going to sit well with a computer mouse designed for hardcore gamers?

If you can stick to these 5 golden rules you’ll be designing more engaging and appealing packaging in next to no time!



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