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PACKAGING IS OFTEN THE FIRST CONTACT A POTENTIAL CUSTOMER HAS WITH YOUR COMPANY AND IT'S PROMISE. YOU HAVE SECONDS TO MAKE OR BREAK THE SALE, TO DIFFERENTIATE AND STAND OUT, HERE'S HOW…COLLAPSE ARTICLE

 

A potential customer is standing in front of your product. What draws them to your product? In today's cluttered retail environment, you have to be clever, cunning and agile to make your product reach the check-out counter. Here's how:

 

1.Who:

It is paramount that you have a good idea of your target market before your design starts. How old are they? What colours do they prefer? Predominantly male or female? Income statistics and lastly: Communication preferences...how would you communicate with them to intrigue and excite them? For example: A predominantly male orientated product for over 50's will have a different tone than that of a mainly female targeted product for 20 year olds.

 

2. Texture:

Packaging has visual texture as well as physical. In a row of elaborate designs, your product will stand out of you simplify, and vica versa. In a row of glossies a matt finish may catch the eye, or metallics may do the trick. It's all fine and well to look at initial packaging cost and going for cheapest - but where does that put you in the ROI food chain? Know your competitors, their merchandising positions and their bestsellers. Then only can you make an educated investment.

 

3. Type:

Plastic or box. Square or round. Big or small. At first, its only natural to look at price comparisons and make decisions based on that - and you won't be wrong if it's the first time. The big question you have to ask yourself is what kind of "return" reputation do you want. If you believe in the quick fix, lets-get-it-out-there attitude - Points 1 and 2 will be irrelevant, and return sales (customers coming back for more) a null. If you believe in building a silent relationship with your retail audience - gaining their trust and letting them do some word-of-mouth for you - then type becomes essential. For example:

If your target market is environment conscious, your packaging type should be recycled, glass or re-usable. For a young and impressionable market, your type should be flashy, stand-out and collectible. For average income, keep it cheap and let the words do the talking. For high income sophisticated market, make it clever with a copy or conceptual twist.

Chris van Uffelen (Packaging Design) says: Product packaging is much more than just a kind of container made of glass, wood oder plastic protecting its contents: It is also the face of the product."

 

4. Pinky Promise:

Speaking of words, advertising and consumer protection acts across the globe have detailed laws and guidelines regarding what you may say and how, on your packaging. Be careful of saying "kills 99% of all germs" if you can't prove it. Make sure your wording and information can be vaildated. Despite what you may think, wording is the first promise you make to customer. You are promising him/her "fresh, crispy rusks just like mom makes", so imagine the disappointment when your newly purchased product is everything but. Don't be surprised if you get negative comments in social media and always make sure to supply a quality report contact number.

From a visual perspective, keep your wording simple. Remember, potential customer "X" will grant you an average of 5 seconds and then move on. Try not to use colours that are difficult to read, fonts that are overly ornate and backgrounds so vivid that you cannot read the information.

Catalpha.com says: "...keep your copy succinct and to the point. Think of your text on your package like a Google adword Ad—make the copy say the most with the least. Consider photos or illustrations to describe your product or how to use your product. A good picture is worth a thousand words".

 

5. Display & Position:

Just suppose your wheelchair product is on the top shelf or a toddler driven product out of reach. Same goes for things pensioners or older people buy, don't make them bend or stretch to find it. You will loose sales in seconds. Be vigilant what your retailer does with your point of sale displays. Don't be insensitive to people's sense of privacy and space. I am often amused at a world renown condom manufacturer's lack of empathy with ordinary people. Not all of us want to explore such a personal product at the check out counter...

 

Packaging is phsycology, science and sincerity combined. If applied correctly, your product will be marvelled, enjoyed and spoken about. It's more than a box, it is an adventure - an invitation to a stranger to explore your product. Remember when you look at sales figures, every number was a pair of hands holding your product...deciding.

 

VIEW PACKAGING SAMPLES I DESIGNED IN THE SQUARE, CLICK ON THE NUMBERS ABOVE

 

 

 

 

Worthy Browsing:

Designing for practicality by David Pettitt

"The key to successful packaging in any market is, of course, thorough research and a clear understanding of your demographic together with their reasons for purchase."

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The Dieline

"The Dieline is dedicated to the progress of the package design industry and its practitioners, students and enthusiasts. Its purpose is to define and promote the world's best examples of packaging, and provide a place where the package design community can review, critique and stay informed of the latest industry trends and design projects being created in the field."

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Packaging Design Magazine

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