How To Design Your Packaging To Make Your Products Stand Out

It’s what on the inside that matters! I believe you have heard this little piece of wisdom somewhere. But when it comes to designing your packaging you have to forget it. In this case what’s on the outside matters as much as what’s on the inside.

Product packaging is not just about adding bells and whistles. It’s an important part of sales. There are some very compelling reasons for this. And it requires you to be very intentional to make sure your customer understands what you’re selling them. 

  • 81% of consumers have tried something new because packaging caught their eye
  • 63% of consumers are compelled to buy a product due to packaging
  • 52% of consumers have changed brands because of new packaging

Well now you know how much what’s on the outside matters. Packaging is not simply about looking good. It’s much more. 

The Benefits Of Well Designed Product Packaging

  1. Protecting products – Packaging can protect products during various stages such as shipping, stacking and storing. 
  2. Drawing customers’ attention – Your products’ packaging needs to stand out from your competitors in ways that are attractive to your audience.  
  3. Reflecting quality – Good quality products do not come in cheap, shabby packages. You know this and you can be sure your customer knows this too.
  4. Informing prospective consumers – You need to make your customers aware of the benefits of your product. As they compare your option to your competitors, you need to make sure you’ve explained why yours is better.
  5. Offsetting the price – customers are more willing to spend on a product when the package fits their standards of what quality should look like.
  6. Getting more marketing – great packaging leads to more Instagrammable moments and potentially an unboxing video or post or two.

Designing Your Packaging To Stand Out 

Setting Your Packaging Goals

Before diving into your packaging options, it’s important to narrow your focus. There are a ton of options out there. But you should first identify the limits/opportunities of the type of product you have, and where it’s going to be sold.

Depending on the type of product you have there will be certain things that you may need to factor in – or not at all. For example if you have a really delicate product, protective packaging is very important. So consider what are all the things that your product needs in its packaging to be protected and presented in the best ways possible.

And when considering where your product will be sold, you need to think about how your audience will be encountering your product alongside your competitors’. For instance, if your product is fighting for attention on the shelves of various stores you may prioritize elements that grab attention. This is as opposed to if your product is sold online. When selling online product mockups and lifestyle images of your product being used, all play important roles.

Collecting Your Packaging Content

What are the non-negotiables on your packaging? Depending on your brand and industry there are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind. Especially as there are legal implications for some. And the last thing you want is to spend time and money designing something you can’t use.

  • Text copy – all of the text that’s going to appear on your packaging to describe and sell your product.
  • Product images – professional images of your product, showing it off in its best light.
  • Mandated details – here we’re talking about things like barcodes, approvals by associations, nutritional details, any details pertaining to safety or risk.
  • A list of constantly updated content – things like expiry dates and batch numbers will constantly be changing and you don’t need to make them a permanent part of your packaging. But you should decide how you’ll add them (stamps, stickers, etc.) and where so that you save space for them.

Understand Your Audience

Now, back to your audience. Who are you targeting with your products? Once you have a clear-cut picture of your audience, you can discern some points about what would capture their attention. Your customer personas are very helpful here, along with any market research you can get access to. Using all these insights, you’ll be able to develop creative briefs that clearly explain the goal that needs to be achieved with your packaging.

In the hands of the right designer, that’ll get you some great options to choose from. This is an important point to emphasize here as your designer will rely on your expertise to help them understand which elements and information to play up (e.g. the visual hierarchy they should create in the design based on the priority that should be given to each piece of information).  

For example, a perfume designed for women in their 20s and 30s cannot have packaging that comes across as childish. This kind of confusion in how you represent your product and brand will reduce the value of the product, and may lead to you losing your customer base too.

Shine The Best Light On Your Brand

A home-printed label or a seal could be an option to test the waters with a product and a particular audience. Or it might sell well at a DIY trade show or Farmer’s Market. But in many other cases it wouldn’t be the best way to represent your brand.

Aim for a polished, professional look and figure out what that means for your brand and industry. Work with a professional designer and manufacturer. Invest some time into considering different options for the material your labels and packaging will be made of. Ask to see samples and consider doing test runs before you settle on a particular option.

If your product is handmade you might want to consider elements that reinforce this. Things like tying up your packaging with ribbon or twine. Meanwhile, if your product is more on the luxurious side, your clients are more likely to expect your packaging to be custom-printed and sleek.

It may seem like an extra expense to have your packaging professional designed and printed. But it will pay off. Especially because professionals have a ton of experience to draw on and contingency plans for when things go in unexpected directions. 

That being said, be sure to shop around and compare rates, reviews and services provided before committing!

Use Colours And Imagery Wisely

There are a lot of colour combinations you can consider when designing your packaging. One of the things that will help you narrow down your options is looking at your competitors. You want to stand apart from them, while ensuring that your packaging still makes it clear what you’re selling. And that it’s relevant to your target audience.

Consider the colours your competitors are using, the benefits of each and then work on an alternative combination that achieves a higher impact. There will be a bit of trial and error involved in this but it’s a process that will pay off in dividends.

As far as imagery, the same logic applies. Including an image or certain images, can help communicate what your product is offering, or what your brand stands for, in an impactful way. Market research and any data you can gather from existing customers will be helpful here to figure out which combinations create the best connections.

Make Sure The Package Matches The Product

If it does not match the product, or isn’t relevant to your market, your packaging is useless. Even if it’s made out of gold. When considering your competitors and looking for gaps where you might be able to position yourself, be sure to research why the gaps exist. Standing out shouldn’t mean becoming irrelevant.

There will be reasons they’ve chosen to use the particular shape, material, colours, elements, and fonts that they have. Figure these out before you decide how you can put your own spin on your packaging.

And make sure that your packaging and messaging are direct. Your customer shouldn’t have to guess at what you’re selling or what it’s benefits are. 

Keep Upgrading Your Package Designs

Over time you’ll gain valuable insights into which aspects of your packaging your customers are responding to or not. Especially as your competitors are constantly evolving too.

Don’t stay stuck on one package design for the sake of tradition or the emotional value it has for you. Keep researching your customers’ preferences and rolling out new options to test which perform better. Once you have enough insights from your tests, roll out your packaging more broadly. New packaging will signal to your existing customers that you’re growing and evolving, while recognizing their preferences. That will strengthen brand loyalty. And it’ll bring in new customers too.

Seasonal packaging is also important to consider. Holidays hold a special place in everyone’s hearts and adding a small tweak can help you take part in that. This will allow your customers to relate more with your brand, again strengthening brand loyalty and affinity.

 An Investment Worth Making

A package design can decide whether your product is sold out or thrown out. It’s not always an easy thing to figure out. But a worthwhile investment in your product and brand. Especially as it’s constantly evolving too, and providing new opportunities to forge meaningful connections with your customers.

One example of this is eco-friendly packaging. People are more invested than ever in sustainable products that have a small ecological footprint. And there are an increasing number of options available to businesses to take part in this movement.

So keep finding ways to design your packaging to connect with your audience. And we hope you’ll be watching your products being cleared off the shelves in no time.