What was the last thing you picked up off a supermarket shelf? A daily essential perhaps, or maybe a special treat for the weekend? Possibly something new that caught your eye, or was it a regular purchase you barely gave a second thought?
Whatever it was, you probably didn’t stop to think about the packaging but, whether you realised it or not, you were likely influenced by the design subliminally. It evoked a certain emotion in you and got the desired reaction. Maybe you were intrigued by its blaze of colours or curious packaging. Perhaps its simplicity appealed to you most. Even the shopping basket ‘essentials’ – the tin of beans, the toothpaste – with their decades-old styling and packaging that are vitally important for brand trust and loyalty, still evoke emotions, different emotions from never-seen-before products, but emotions nevertheless.
These trusted brands will never veer too far from a proven formula in the presentation of their design and visual identity. It’s essential that they continue to give their customers confidence and trust in the brand and, by extension, the specific product. This loyalty is, in itself, what influences the consumer.
So what messaging do we need to consider for effective packaging design?
Of course, the overall brand messaging is hugely important – and how it ties in with the product that is being packaged. A good packaging designer will work alongside brand developers to consider the right key messages, i.e., luxury, homely, or eco-friendly, to create work that conveys the desired idea to the target audience.
Next, there are key design elements to consider, as well. Get the colour – even the shade – wrong and we’re fighting a losing battle. Shapes and patterns send out messages. Do the messages you’re sending complement your product? Do they help tell your story? What typeface should we use? Again, how we present our messages – written as well as graphic – has a direct impact on how the consumer sees our brand and product.
Then there’s the packaging itself: the materials, the tactile qualities, the size, the shape. Again, we’re thinking about how the target audience will respond to all of these. Are we creating something that aligns our brand with consumers’ desires and expectations?
It’s vital to remember that we’re designing not for the brand, not for the organisation, and certainly not for a designer’s ego (sorry, designers!). We’re designing for the audience who will buy and use the product. What appeals to a retiree in their 70s is unlikely to speak to skateboarding teenagers in the same way. We need to use design elements to create an overall look and style that resonates with the people we wish to purchase our products. Part of this thinking is also how we make the consumer feel about his or her purchase – the status attached to owning an item. We all know people who revel in the reflected status of sporting a logo or using a luxury brand bag as their everyday carryall.
In conclusion, don’t be fooled into thinking that the consumer is not influenced by even the most common or simplest of looks and styles when it comes to packaging design. The skill in creating effective and meaningful designs that resonate with your consumer is to blend all of the elements into a seamless artwork. You plan your strategy carefully, you should consider your design team with equal deliberation!
Check out the packaging we developed for Bacardi- Dewar's.
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