3 Easy Steps For Attractive Packaging Design
What brand do you recall when I ask you to visualize a white cup with a green logo in the center and a lid? I know you shouted out loud- “Starbucks”! That’s the beauty of memorable packaging and a strong brand presence.
Every popular brand that you use in your daily life generates a connection in your mind with the product or brand. Knowingly or unknowingly, every product’s packaging creates a space in your mind that helps you connect with the entire brand and triggers the brand identity even if a similar packaging is seen.
Every entrepreneur/solopreneur manufacturing products or a Product Line Head or a Product Manager making the vital decisions of product packaging starts looking at the products they use in daily life in a whole different way! Did you know that there is a validated process for product packaging design? A process that will help every product manufacturing brand to justify the packaging and match the nature of products in an Easy Way.
3 Easy Steps For Attractive Packaging Design
“Packaging can be theatre, It can create a story.” – Steve Jobs
You read it right! There are only 3 steps for designing a stunning product packaging. Following these 3 steps, you can convert your idea into an attractive product packaging that will catch your audience’s attraction.
- Validate & Design
But before we start with the points, let me tell you how potential customers interact with brands which is called Moment of Truth by Packaging Designers.
Is there anyone in your connections who has never shopped from online stores? Be it cosmetics, accessories, electronic devices, clothes, or even furniture, you can find everything online. To understand the entire process of Product Packaging, you will first need to understand the different Moments when your potential customers interact with your products and how those Moments are essential to your Packaging process.
There are 5 Moments of Truths; Stimulus, Zero, First, Second, & Ultimate. Stimulus is the time when a customer is first exposed to your brand through ads or direct encounters. Zero moment of truth is when the customer performs research about your brand & products. If you are going to sell your products offline as well as online, detailed Keyword Research is essential. This is the time when the customer pays more attention to your product specifications as well as brand image. The research can be influenced by anything such as reviews of other customers, ads, blogs, etc. The First Moment of truth is when the customer is confronted with the product. This is the stage where packaging is the hero! To push customers from FMOT to SMOT, packaging plays an important role.
Let us take an example of a Night Cream. Now that the customer has performed enough research about the product and the brand, the look & feel of the product can create a huge difference. After getting to know about the brand and searching about it, the curiosity of the customer increases. Customers create an image in their minds and the packaging matching their imaginations works well. In this stage of FMOT, the customer might not focus on the product itself i.e. the night cream but the packaging of that cream.
Whether the product is displayed on the shelf or in the search results online, you need to consider other similar products that are going to be placed beside the product. Make sure your product stands out from the crowd and creates an impact in the minds of the target audience.
SMOT is where the customer gets to experience the product. It can be a hands-on experience or a virtual experience. And finally, in the Ultimate Moment of Truth, the customer may choose to share their views about the product. This can be a Simulation stage for other customers.
One of our clients approached us for Product Package Redesigning for their Anti-Acne Ayurvedic Product called Real n Clear. The biggest challenge for us was to rethink the design part. In India, there is a huge market base for Ayurvedic Products and to position, a new brand in a way that outreaches more potential customers in less time was a big hustle to complete. In the following 3 steps, I am going to associate each element with the project to help you all understand what Product Packaging really is.
You must be wondering what different am I asking you to do. It goes without saying that every product packaging requires research. But in this process, research is the key ingredient that will make the rest of the two steps easier.
a. Study your own products
As you are the manufacturer or in charge of the product packaging designs, you must be knowing the products in and out. Do you really? While analyzing the product’s nature, you can ask yourself these following questions:
- How many products are there in the product basket?
If you have a brand for sports accessories, there can be sports attires, footwear, safety gears, etc. in your product basket.
- What sector do the products fall in?
Food, Cosmetics, Accessories, etc.; which sector are you entering?
- What are the categories of the product?
Convenience goods, shopping goods, specialty products, are the few popular categories of products.
- What are the characteristics of your brand?
Is your brand a premium (high-cost) brand targeting a niche market or a low-cost brand that targets a broader range of customers?
- What is the customer’s buying behavior?
Impulse Purchase & Rational Purchase are the 2 common buying behaviors of customers wherein rational buying, customers compare multiple other products & brands and make the decision. In impulse buying, customers purchase at the spur of the moment without having prior planning to buy that particular product. I have explained this in detail in this blog.
All the questions help you get a clear picture of what packaging will be needed. Be it a Go To the Market struggle of your business/product/service or the Product Package Designing, having a strategic approach helps you pose your entire process.
b. Study your target audience
Let me first tell you what I have often observed while designing product packages for our clients; most of the clients put consumers & customers in the same basket. I strongly recommend analyzing who is the customer (person going to pay for the product) and the consumer (person going to use the product).
For example- An acne cream for teenagers from 12 years old to 26 years old, their parents are going to make the decision of buying in most of the cases.
One more example- When a kid visits a mall with his parents, he is certainly going to influence the buying decisions of his parents. Let me simplify. You must have seen a kid throwing tantrums in the middle of an aisle in a mall to buy some toys or some snacks. In most cases, parents end up buying the product as the crowd stares at them! 😀
Hence, it is important to understand who is the target audience, who is going to buy the product, what are the factors influencing buying decisions, and factors attracting the consumers & influencing buyer’s decisions.
c. Study your competitors
It is important to observe how others are covering their products!
- What unique things do others do?
- What are the primary colors used in their packaging?
- What packaging material do they have?
- What is the copy on their packaging and what are the important messages they are conveying through packages?
- And most importantly, what is their brand’s positioning?
Once you get answers to these questions, you can easily understand their strategy or even find opportunities where they can improve their work. While analyzing competitors’ packaging, make sure you consider their target audience, the demography they are targeting, their product’s positioning, and the economical factor as well (cost & price).
After successful research, you will be able to explore a lot about your own product and brand, how others look at your product, what competitors are doing, etc.
For Real n Clear, we dived deeper to understand the product, the Ayurveda sector, how Ayurvedic Herbal products are perceived by customers, what is the demand of such products in the market, how tough is the competition, what are the top players in the market, and much more. The data we collected was qualitative as well as quantitative. Make sure whatever research you perform, you have it noted. We were then able to proceed to the Ideation part.
With in-depth research, you can start with the ideation process. Let me tell you a secret; with years of experience, I can surely make this statement that you cannot have the perfect product design in one go! You must be having multiple ideas in your mind by now and now is the time to give those ideas the right direction.
a. Understanding buyer’s perception
Now, this is a bit deep and super essential. While designing product packaging, understanding the psychology of consumers as well as customers is extremely important. According to the type of product, the category of product basket, and the other important factors, every packaging is perceived differently by the customers.
It is important to understand whether the product falls under the essential category of luxury. Does the product have tough competition? Any product that falls under the essentials category might have tough competition.
If we consider an example of Liquid soap hand wash, it is an essential product at the moment as the world is facing a pandemic situation. Let’s assume that you require one bottle every month and the cost of your regular brand is 200 INR. If you visit a mall to purchase liquid soap hand wash and you cannot find your regular soap brand, there are more chances of you buying another brand. If a new brand on the shelf has super-premium packaging, would you even bother to check how much the cost is? Most of the customers will pass as they might perceive the brand’s products as expensive. Another aspect can be the tough competition for such products. In a nutshell, if you are designing for essential products, make it look feasible for all and make sure it stands out from the competition.
But what if your product is a luxury item? Say a jewelry brand. If you are planning to design packaging for jewelry for a premium & elite niche, the packaging can differ from the previous example. To showcase that the product is a luxury product and indirectly showcase the price range of the product, the premium packaging can be considered. Another thing to consider is to match the quality of packaging with the quality of the product.
With Real n Clear, we had a bigger challenge. Since the brand positioning was not yet defined, we analyzed the buyer’s persona & started jotting ideas.
b. Perceptual Mapping
The next step is to place your brand in the right place through Perceptual Mapping. Perceptual Mapping is a proven technique that helps brands to analyze the perception of their brand amongst the customers. You can set any attributes as per the sector of your product in the Perceptual Mapping.
Whether your brand is a premium brand targeting an Elite group of customers or targeting a large market, it is vital to have packaging accordingly. As per the brand positioning, the communication, look, & feel changes of the packaging. The package should reflect the brand’s positioning as well as match the perceived image of potential customers.
For Real n Clear, we had prepared a Perceptual Mapping diagram to understand the customer’s perception about the brand rather than what the brand thinks the perception is.
We considered the key attributes as Ayurvedic/Herbal products, Chemical based products, High Cost, & Low Cost. Whether the brand wished to position itself as a Premium Ayurvedic brand, or a Premium Chemical-based brand, a Low-Cost Ayurvedic brand, or a Low-Cost Chemical-based brand?
It helped us with multiple design attempts justifying different brand positioning.
c. Functional factors affecting buying decisions
Once you identify in what quadrant your product packaging is going to be, the next step is to consider the functional factors influencing the buying decisions. There are two primary functional factors- Rational & Impulse.
Hypothetically, you are planning to purchase a new smartphone. You want it to have all the latest features. Here, you can either visit an online store or a nearby electronics store. No matter where you purchase it from, it goes without saying that you will do a lot of research before buying. What are the brands in the market, what are the various versions in that brand, what are the price differences, what unique features are available in each model, what are the reviews, etc? There are near to Zero chances of you going to the shop, looking at a smartphone, and directly purchasing it. This buying journey is known as Rational Buying. Most of the customers perform Rational buying at the time of buying expensive & technical products. Though there are very few people who will perform rational buying, there are still some people who buy a small sachet of coffee after comparing various other brands & specifications. 😀
Let’s take another example. You are window shopping with your friends/family and you see a packet of cookies wrapped in a beautiful package; a bag of Khadi fabric with an attractive logo wrapped in a silk lace. You look at the packaging, you immediately buy it. You are not hungry, you haven’t had those cookies before, and you haven’t even heard of the brand. Still, you buy it. This is called Impulse buying.
Both the functional factors affect the buying psychology of potential customers. Every designer must consider these factors while designing the product packaging.
For Real n Clear, the product is a Herbal Ayurvedic Anti Acne Cream. Since it is used as a medical solution, the buying is going to be Rational. Hence we analyzed how we can make the product stand out from the competition and generate a sense of effectiveness to encourage people to try it out.
d. Deciding the shape & consumption of the product
The shape of the product package is not always about aesthetics. There are multiple factors to consider while you ideate the shapes of the product packaging. Standard shapes, customers’ habits, convenience, etc. are considered while designing the product packaging shapes.
Example 1- What if I ask you to imagine your toothpaste in a small box? Imagine you get up every morning, dip your toothbrush into the box of toothpaste and brush your teeth. Sounds weird right? That’s because we all have habits of years of using toothpaste tubes. There are certain products that are packed in standard shapes and people have habits of seeing & experiencing those products in those standard packages.
Example 2- Wonder why all liquid hand wash soaps are packed in a bottle with a dispenser pump cap? That’s due to the convenience of people using the soap in the amount you want without touching the entire soap liquid. You don’t want to use a soap dispenser where you have to hold the bottle directly like many others with their dirty hands.
Wonder how do brands consider the consumption of products while designing product packaging? Depending on the product, manufacturers make sure that they mention the usage or consumption periods on the package. For instance, ‘Apply this beauty cream 3 times a day to get glowing skin in 4 weeks’. But have you seen an exact measure on the packaging of beauty cream; take X amount of grams on your palm? This is a tricky part! If your product is herbal and there is no harm if your customers use it a bit more than usual, you can consider this part in your package designing process.
Here’s a funny one! Using a tube of beauty cream instead of a box to restrict users from putting the extra cream back in the box. We do not recommend practicing such activities 😛
Let me explain the importance of consumption with an actual example
Heinz, the brand that is popular for its super tasty ketchup, sauces, etc., did a tiny change in its packaging. The brand that is extremely successful in their sector has a great record of demand & supply. The team pushed their limits a bit and got a few steps back where they studied the actual User Experience of their customers. They identified a common problem where customers were having trouble pouring the right amount of ketchup. Some of them tilted their bottle too down and got an excessive amount of ketchup and some experienced the exact opposite of the first ones. To overcome this issue, the team did a small study and concluded that if you tilt the bottle to 45 degrees, you get the perfect amount of ketchup out of the bottle. So what did they change in their packaging? They simply tilted the label 45 degrees indicating the perfect angle to pour the ketchup.
Understand the consumption habits of your end consumers and consider the analysis while you design or redesign product packaging. Make sure your packaging offers ease of use.
For Real n Clear, we sketched various box packages with different and unique shapes. The intent was to make potential customers stop and notice the tiny boxes on the shelves. We purposely chose tiny boxes that are easy to carry, easy to open & close, and allow customers to put back the excess cream in the box.
e. The right message on the packages
The text on your packages is an important part of the packaging. Packaging is beyond unique looking beautiful boxes or sachets with vibrant colors; it must convey the right message to your target audience. Whatever you write, less or more, it has to be precise, has to attract the audience, and more importantly, it should have all the honest information.
Whether yours is a food product or a cosmetic product, the manufacturing company is supposed to display important information on the package such as details of manufacturer, ingredients, quantities, warnings (if any), price, expiration date, certificates, brand logo, and the most important part; the copy.
For products like Real n Clear, recommending the amount of consumption is very important. You can also add the right way to apply the cream and what steps to follow after application for best results.
3. Validate & Design
Once the ideas are clear in your mind as well as on the sheet, you can get those ideas validated by experts or by end-users. Starting with the actual designing part is a tedious task and hence validating the ideas allows us to make designing decisions with confidence.
Validating by experts has its own benefits. Experts with years of experience in Product Package Designing can help you understand whether your designing process is heading in the right direction or is there a scope for improvement.
On the other hand, validating the ideas by customers can give real insights and help you understand whether the assumptions made on research are right or need rework.
The validation process also helps you identify which design has the potential to perform better amongst all the ideas.
For Real n Clear, we validated the ideas from our team of Creative Designers as well as by customers. It helped us get a clear idea of what ideas are going to perform better.
a. Deciding color schemes
Wonder what colors to use in the packaging of your product? Everything in packaging is interlinked. If you look into it, it becomes easy to get answers from the research conducted earlier. While deciding the color scheme of any product packaging, the sector of the product plays an important role along with the brand’s characteristics, colors used by competitors, etc.
The colors for the brand’s umbrella of categories are defined first. Right from demographics to user’s perception, everything is considered while deciding the colors to be used in the packaging. Later the primary brand colors and secondary brand colors are decided. One thing to take note of is that all products should look like they come from the same family.
For Real n Clear, the different design ideas were fitted in different quadrants of Perceptual Mapping. To match each positioning, we tried out different colors & shades.
b. Have you considered Marketing?
One small tip at the start of this point- While designing anything; web page, banners, social media post, or even product packaging, I strongly recommend considering the Marketing aspect every time you play with your creative mind.
The ultimate goal of any design is to increase the sale of the product and to enrich brand awareness. Considering Marketing. Any product design that stands different from the competition, has unique features, offers convenience, and feels elegant makes the marketing easier for the brand and adds value to the comprehensive business growth procedure.
As explained at the beginning of the blog, potential customers perceive the brand & its products in a certain way after watching ads or performing research about the product. The right packaging reinforces the perceived value of the product and allows potential customers to relate to the brand in a better way.
For Real n Clear, we made sure that the multiple attempts are associated with future Marketing campaigns and it gets easier for customers to relate to the brand once they are redirected from the organic marketing campaigns. We also conducted detailed Keyword Research for Online Marketing. Did you know that in the year 2017, the number of people looking for solutions for Keyword Acne was less but by the end of 2020, the volume for Keyword ‘Acne’ has seen a hike? Our team of Marketing performed in-depth research and helped us what keywords to target and include on the Package Design.
c. Actual Designing
With all the detailed study, ideas, and validation; you can confidently start Packaging Designing. Make sure you consider all factors in the design process and have a variety of designs. Having options can help you compare and choose the best one.
I have been telling you so much about Real n Clear and now it is time to show you the end results. But before I do that, have a look at the old design that the client wanted to redesign completely.
As per our research, we drew a perceptual map for Real n Clear and tried out 4 Design Attempts; one for each positioning.
Designing is fun, isn’t it? Following the above process, you can get your products aesthetically stunning designs that are going to protect your product as well as help you build up your brand identity. Any brand perceived in the minds of customers has a deep relation with Brand Colors, Tag Lines, and Packaging. If you loved our blog and the Real n Clear Packaging Designs, you can check out our other work and explore more creativity by PugMarker.