A complete guide to packaging design: Benefits and key steps

A unique, visually appealing, and aesthetic product packaging design is important. In fact, it’s essential. Did you know that it only takes consumers less than twenty seconds to make their purchase decision? That decision is heavily influenced by the brand, the product packaging, and how it is displayed – either online or in-store. Let’s delve into how packaging design impacts your brand, what the 5 key elements are of packaging design, what the repercussions are of mistakes in packaging design, and how to eliminate this risk.

How do consumers decide what to buy?

As marketers, we are passionate about showcasing our brands in-store with the hope that consumers will engage with them. But the simple truth is that for most categories, consumers have a small set of brands that are part of their purchase repertoire. In general, consumers are time-poor and therefore spend little time thinking about purchase decisions. Their purchases are habitual. In fact, it can be said that the average consumer’s purchase window is less than 20 seconds. For purchases in-store, decisions can be made in as little as 13 seconds. For online purchases, this is a slightly longer 19 seconds for the average consumer, although the majority spend less than 10 seconds.

“The average consumer spends 13 seconds purchasing a brand in-store.”

The Ehrenberg-Bass study

How does packaging design impact the success of your brand?

There are many elements to packaging design. First and foremost, the packaging itself protects your product when it is handled, and shipped. Adequate protection is key to conveying a sense of quality. Secondly, good packaging design is easily identifiable. Product packaging must communicate the benefits of the product itself as well as portray the brand story. Since consumers only spend a fraction of their time making purchase decisions, the design must grab consumers’ attention. It must stand out from the competition.

Packaging that is well-designed can create a strong emotional connection with consumers, establish a sense of perceived quality, and differentiate it from similar products. Therefore, packaging design influences the consumer’s behavior, experience with the product, and purchase decisions. Packaging design has a direct correlation to the success of your product, its value, and therefore your brand.

5 elements of packaging design

1) Communicate your brand

Branding is one of the most important factors when it comes to product packaging design. It’s what makes consumers recognize your product and remember it, even after they’ve bought it. Your brand guidelines, including the logo, color palette, font, and other visual elements, should be used consistently across all packaging and supporting marketing materials.

2) User-friendliness

Simplicity is key for packaging design. Packaging should be easy to open while having robustness and functionality for usage and storage. It should also provide relevant information about the product, such as ingredients, instructions, and expiration dates. It must have accurate functional information such as weights and barcodes too.

3) Creativity

Product packaging is the first thing a consumer sees of your product. It is their first interaction with your product and, in some cases, your entire brand. Therefore, it is ideal to be unique and eye-catching making it stand apart from competitors. Your packaging design should have a varied feel, vibe, appeal, and finesse, depending on who you are trying to reach.

Colors are an essential part of visual brand style. They add to creativity as well as connecting emotionally with consumers. Consumers determine whether or not to purchase a product within the initial 90 seconds of interacting with it for the first time. Furthermore, 62% to 90% of this evaluation is based solely on the color of the packaging.

4) Multi-purpose

Packaging can serve more than one function, such as providing storage or serving as a gift box, and that can add value to the product. Therefore, it is imperative that the quality of the packaging is good. Research has shown that people tend to reuse packing bags and boxes when the quality is good – increasing brand awareness. Some consumers will even put packaging on display post-purchase if it’s visually appealing.

5) Material

The materials you use play crucial roles in creating the ideal package. You should use top-notch quality materials that safeguard your goods and make them simple to transport. Only invest in materials that can withstand wear and tear. The target consumer of your product should also be reflected in your choice of material. For premium products, you should use top-quality products. If a product uses sustainable and eco-friendly materials for its packaging, it not only reduces its impact on the environment but also enhances the brand’s image. This can particularly appeal to consumers who prioritize sustainability and look for environmentally conscious brands when purchasing.

Change is constant. In an ever-changing world, the design trends for 2023 are focused on: sustainability in many forms, bold designs, tactile and inclusive designs, smart designs, and those focused on a human touch. Which one will inspire you? Find out more.

No mistakes are essential

People trust successful brands. Therefore, spelling mistakes, color issues, and questionable design layouts will leave your potential customers wondering about your company’s professionalism.

And if packaging with an error has been distributed, it’s a tough thing to take back. It’s costly to recall the product. According to a study by Deloitte, food and beverage manufacturers can expect to lose up to USD$10 million in wasted stock, logistics, and penalties resulting from a product recall. 

Ensure your print-ready packaging design is pixel-perfect

PageProof enables companies to fast-track the review and approval process for packaging artwork. It is simple to engage necessary stakeholders to gather feedback and approvals, and utilize smart features along the way to ensure full compliance and accuracy – as well as reduce time.

Here are 10 reasons to try PageProof for your next design project:

  • Proof from anywhere, on any device
  • Manage stakeholder input easily, and enhance collaboration with everyone commenting on the same file
  • Avoid excessive artwork revisions
  • Save time with smart features including ColorSep® for color plate previews, an automatic barcode scanner, and a range of magic tools to ensure designs are pixel-perfect and errors are avoided
  • Stay on deadline with alerts and to-do lists
  • Reduce compliance risk through the use of checklists to help guide reviewers
  • Be confident in the accuracy of the proof with side-by-side compare, and the populate smart compare mode too
  • Promote increased visibility, traceability, and accountability
  • Save time and money
  • Foster creativity with no limits on reviewers you want to involve in the creative review process
PageProof has a range of powerful features perfect for checking packaging proofs

Wrap up

Product packaging design is critical to creating brand loyalty, which in turn drives sales and business growth. 

Well-designed packaging can influence consumers by creating a strong emotional connection, differentiating a product from the competition, and enhancing its perceived quality.

By putting stringent pre-press and proofing processes in place, a company can reduce the risk of costly packaging mistakes. See how PageProof can help ensure that packaging proofs are perfect.