We’ve all heard the old adage, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Good advice – no doubt. But, by human nature, we’re a pretty judgemental group. You only have one chance to make a first impression.
That’s why design is so important. A stellar design can set the whole tone for how your product is perceived. And it all starts with the initial packaging design your customers see.
Sure. You may have an awesome product, but if your packaging is lackluster, you probably won’t see your product flying off the shelf. Presentation counts, whether it’s in a physical store, or the shipping box dropped off on a customer’s front door.
Don’t underestimate the importance of compelling design for your boxes and other packaging. Look like you put some thought into it – and have it speak to your customers.
Your design needs to represent you and what makes your company special. Here are some things to consider when coming up with a box design:
First off, you need a clear idea of your brand identity. Without one, you’re just another faceless company trying to sell something. Don’t do that. Before you dive head first into custom boxes and branded packaging, start finding your brand identity by considering the following questions:
Ok, you know who you are. Now you’ve got to figure out your target audience. A few questions to consider:
Your packaging should reflect what drew your customers to your products in the first place.
Arguably the most important design element for your packaging is your logo. Your logo should be easily identifiable and set you apart from your competitors.
Just think of some of the most recognized logos in the world. A mere glance will have you recognizing brands like Coke, McDonald’s and Microsoft.
There are even games where you can guess the logo. Bet you know a lot of the logos shown below:
Now, not every business has a multi-million dollar budget to spend on logo development, but that shouldn’t stop you. There are all kinds of websites where you can design your own. Sites like Canva and Hatchful are easy to use and can help you generate a logo in minutes.
Once you have a logo design you’re happy with, don’t let it go to waste.
Start by using your logo on the outside of your shipping boxes. You can have it digitally printed directly on your retail box, or invest in some logo stickers, a logo stamp, or even packing tape emblazoned with your logo.
Patterns are good way to add interest to your design.
Try different size polka dots for a little whimsy, a classic striped pattern to appeal to one’s conservative side or a trendy chevron pattern for a youthful look.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your design.
Check out what your competition is up to, to see what’s working. You obviously don’t want to blatantly copy anyone, but it’s a good way to get the creative juices flowing.
Colors are another way to promote your brand identity, evoke a certain mood and enhance the overall design of your packaging.
Your customers may feel different emotions, depending on the colors you choose to use. For instance, yellow is thought to make people happy, whereas blue is said to be calming.
Think about what you want people to feel when they see your packaging.
You may not have the time, skill or desire to come up with your own packaging design ideas. If that sounds like you, don’t worry. There are many options to help you find the perfect designer for your needs and budget.
Here are some places to start your search:
When you’re checking out design portfolios, remember to look for those who have experience specifically with package design.
Design is more than a pretty look. You also have to keep in mind the practical aspect of your design, and how it plays into your customer’s overall experience.
The physical design of your box should take into account the more mundane necessities. First off, what are you shipping? Shipping an ornate, breakable statue is a lot different than shipping a t-shirt or a block of cheese.
You’ll want your packaging to be durable and protect what’s inside. You may want to try a custom top-fold box with inserts to cushion your goods and display them in a pleasing way. Or if you’re shipping perishable items, your inner design will need a way to keep your items cold. Or perhaps, you have to deal with shipping oddly shaped items. The size, weight, and shape of your boxes will affect your shipping costs.
It’s also important that your design makes for easy storage and distribution. You don’t want to have to store a bunch of oddly-shaped boxes that are cumbersome and waste space.
There’s also always that pesky matter of your budget. If you’re trying to keep costs down, you won’t want to go overboard with your use of colors, or the intricacy of your design, because that can pump up costs in a hurry.
There are also technical aspects to your design to keep in mind. You want your design to look good when it’s printed, so be sure to check that your file requirements will work with your print shop. If you’re unsure of the requirements needed, start chatting with custom print companies for some advice.
So what are you waiting for?
Go ahead and have some fun with your design.
Done right, your packaging may become an unboxing experience your customers remember as much as the actual product.
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