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How to brand packaging

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While the importance of product design is never really in question, have you ever stopped to consider just how essential a product’s packaging is in the marketing process? If the purpose of a product is to fulfill a customer’s needs and wants, it is the job of the packaging to both protect its contents and advertise and sell the individual product and your brand as a whole through recognisable branding. For this reason, how you choose to brand your packaging is essential. 

According to a recent Ipsos survey taken on behalf of the US Paper and Packaging Board, nearly three quarters (72%) of all customers say that packaging directly influences their decision to purchase a product. Whether your company sells premium perfumes, subscription food box sets or stylish fashion items, ensuring your product packaging is not only functional but also well-branded is always a good idea. 

In this guide, here at 1HQ we look at why packaging design is so important before providing our top tips when it comes to branding packaging

Why is packaging design important?

More than anything else, potential customers are drawn to products that look good. It goes without saying that products that are well designed and interesting to look at are bound to attract more attention in the retail environment than products that are badly designed and/or unattractive. Put simply, the importance of product design and packaging in branding boils down to this. 

Perhaps surprisingly, a significant 70% of consumers admit that they form their impression of a brand solely based on packaging. This makes packaging design and branding one of the most important aspects of marketing. Indeed, product packaging not only protects the product in question and helps it stand out on a shelf, at the end of the day it also has the power to ensure you permanently associate a brand to a certain thing, for example a specific colour, font or shape. Think about it – you see a glass bottle with a cherry red label, you immediately think of Coca-Cola. Similarly, when you see colourful cylinders sitting on the shelf in the crisps aisle of a supermarket, you know you’ve found Pringles. 

Customers are drawn to, and are more likely to remember, products and brands that make use of original, attractive and innovative packaging. Similarly, if your packaging fails to register with customers, no matter how good the product is, this can keep it from selling. With this in mind, below we have outlined the best ways you can design and brand your packaging. 

How to brand your packaging

While package design and branding can be a complex and long process, we have focused on five essential aspects of the process that can help you on your way to designing branded packaging that is not only functional, but also enhances your brand. 

Learn from the competition

Before starting the process of designing and branding your packaging, it is essential that you conduct thorough market research to learn and analyse the ways your competitors design and brand their packaging. This research can tell you what works well, what doesn’t work, and where there may be gaps in the market that you can fill with your innovative new ideas. 

During this process, it is also important that you explore the different packaging options available to you. Remember, not all material or design options may yet have been utilised by competition, so speaking to expert designers at this stage is key. 

Justify your branding decisions

While it may sound obvious, some of the most important factors when it comes to creating engaging packaging are your choice of colours and font types. Your product needs to stand out on a shelf or webpage, and the best way to do this is by choosing  colours and font types that help to ensure your product is recognised as a brand almost instantly. This could involve sticking to a tried and tested brand style guide or conducting fresh focus group research to get an idea of what potential customers will respond to. Either way, make branding decisions based on consumer research. 

Be innovative

One of the best ways to help your product stand out is to incorporate packaging that is original and innovative. While there is an element of not wanting to over-complicate your package design and branding, at the same time if you want your brand to come across as forward thinking, fresh and edgy, your packaging also needs to exude these qualities. Really try to think outside the box and design something a bit different. You might even surprise yourself – while this may make the design process longer, in the long run intelligent design and smart use of different materials can reduce manufacturing and shipping costs going forward. 

Align packaging with your brand’s tone of voice

For many brands, a strong tone of voice can be as effective when it comes to packaging branding as strong visuals, such as colours, logos and font types. For example, if your brand is built around the promotion of sustainability, ensuring your products are packaged using materials that are eco-friendly doubles down on your brand’s commitments and strengthens its values in the eyes of potential customers. Similarly, if your brand is focused on building a community of young, like-minded beauty enthusiasts – such as cosmetics brand Glossier – a trendy ‘Instagram-friendly’ package design that fits with your brand’s overall tone of voice can be a very powerful tool. 

Incorporate logos intelligently

Naturally, a business’ logo is a massively important part of brand identity. However, based on the nature of your logo, the way you incorporate it into your product packaging may vary. For example, if you have a bold logo that is loud in terms of colours, font type and imagery, you may wish to focus on the soley placement of one logo on your packaging to avoid it overwhelming the product. On the other hand, if your logo is subtle or minimal, think about placing it in a prominent central position or using a repeated design to ensure it is noticed. 

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ISSUE 14

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