The Importance of Packaging

Making a strong first impression is an important asset in all walks of life, none more so than when it comes to product packaging. When it comes down to it, no matter how wonderful, creative and useful your product is, if its packaging Is unattractive, unfamiliar and doesn’t accurately put across exactly what the product within can offer potential buyers, it won’t shift units. Packaging can be a make or break factor if it doesn’t take full advantage of those crucial few seconds that customers will spend perusing and debating over ‘which brand?’, ‘which model?’ or ‘which flavour?’. This is especially true of ‘small ticket’ items (groceries, stationary etc.), where less research will have been undertaken by the consumer beforehand.

The very best packaging follows a set of well-worn industry guidelines. Below are a number of questions all designers should be asking themselves before starting work on a fresh packaging design project.
  • Does it work as a physical representation and positive reflection of the brand and its identity?
  • Does it draw attention to itself in a positive way? And would it stand out amongst a crowded market space of similar and similarly priced products?
  • Does it adequately protect the product within from damage, contaminants and the atmosphere? (this is especially important with food)
  • Is the product immediately identifiable as a result of the packaging? Clear, printed information is perhaps the most important facet here.
  • Is the packaging safe and does it keep the product together and protected during transportation?
  • Is the packaging engineered to allow convenient and safe stacking and storage in a variety of situations?
  • Does the packaging reflect the price of the product? If it’s a ‘premium’ product, does it emanate a sense of worth and purpose that sets it apart from cheaper alternatives?
  • Is it attractive? This might seem a little ‘shallow’ but as with most things in life, the prettier it is, the more attention it will get.
Now that we’ve discussed exactly how important packaging is and how to get the most out of it, let’s have a gander at how two of the most visible companies in the world have taken the doctrines set out above and used them to achieve monumental success in their respective fields.

Apple

Though the company struggled  throughout the late 80’s and 90’s, Apple’s comeback is perhaps one of the greatest of modern times, with their bespoke ‘I’ range of home computers, phones, portable music players and tablets now industry leaders across the board. This is primarily down to not only incredible products (the late, great Steve Jobs really knocked it out of the park with the iPhone especially), but ingenious marketing nous and intelligent, attractive design. Not only were the products themselves incredibly sleek, ergonomic and desirable, but so was the packaging. Unboxing a new Apple product has become something of a semi-religious experience for the companies most evangelical fans. The sleek, compact curves and sparse lettering of the packaging is as immediately identifiable a marker of an apple product as the apple logo itself.

Coca Cola

A brand synonymous (thanks to some incredibly lucrative sponsorship deals) with everything from sports to reality television, coca cola has spent the last 100 years sitting pretty as the most popular soft drink on the planet. Is it down to the taste? Probably not. It’s all down to the marketing, and a crucial aspect of that marketing is the immediately identifiable coca cola packaging. From the iconic glass bottles of the 1950’s, to the ‘hourglass’, ridged plastic creations of today, coca cola is a company thats packaging has moved with the times and always comes out on top.

A genuinely genius move on the companies part recently was the introduction of the ‘share a coke’ campaign. Every bottle of coke produced within the last few months will have a name printed on its side, accompanied by the phrase ‘share a coke with’ and the genuine voracity with which the general public has been searching for bottles with ‘their name’ on it has seen a great increase in coca cola sales over the late summer (of 2013).

This post was written by the team at UKPackaging (http://www.ukpackaging.com) – experts in all types of packaging materials.