Almost as important as the product it houses, packaging should play an integral role in your marketing strategy. Your packaging has the ability to carry your brand message, crate brand awareness, market your product, and even communicate your company’s ethos. Most importantly, well-executed packaging can move your product and boost your sales.
So here’s what we know: no matter how amazing your product is, it may not mean squat if your packaging design dissuades potential consumers from picking it up off the shelf.
With that in mind, let’s dive into some common mistakes packaging design falls prey to (and how to fix them):
1. Keep it Simple
Overcomplicating design can be confusing to consumers. You want people to know what is inside and what they can expect. You want to strive for an equilibrium where you are able to effectively communicate pertinent product information while still focusing on simplicity. Consider minimizing distracting graphics, or unnecessary words. This also conveniently follows the ethos of the ever popular trend of minimalism. Hot tip: think defining hierarchical information with bold wording or graphics to emphasize what is important to know about the product.
2. Reduce Unnecessary Waste
Have you ever opened an Amazon delivery to find a product 10 times smaller than the cardboard box it was shipped in? How annoyed were you about having to throw away packing peanut after packing peanut, that at times seems to flow like Niagara out of the box it was delivered in? In a world with an ever-growing eco-consciousness, it’s imperative to remain mindful of the waste that we are generating. Our solution? Think about designing a “right sized” box for your product. Retail packaging can be customizable for your product, and can be constructed using corrugated (or just plain ol’ cardboard). Cardboard is one of the most easily recyclable materials and is always compostable. Designing a cardboard house for your product that is ‘just the right size’, not only appeals to the eco-conscious, it can also better protect your product.
3. Spelling or Grammatical Errors
Any savvy (or not so savvy) consumer can sniff these out with quickness. These small (albeit mighty) mistakes can embarrass your brand. Not only does it convey a level of laziness, but consumers can be quick to equate poor design with a sub-par product. The fix? Don’t rush the proof process! Make your list and check it twice, no three times, oh what’s the harm, check it a dozen times. And have multiple people look it over. Let’s face it, we are all human, susceptible to error. It’s always safer to have a fresh set of eyes go over the spelling, grammar, and copy.
4. Trends are Just Fads
Wrong! Trends are popular for a reason. A common mistake any designer can make is not paying attention to what is happening in colour, fashion, social media, design, and so on. All things that make our aesthetic world interesting. There’s a reason why trend forecasting is a thing, it’s the ability to predict what is going to be hot before it’s hot! It might seem shortsighted and not worthy of investment, but trust us when we say that design sells. Especially in a world consumed by social media, designing a highly ‘instagrammable’ package can mean a serious boost in sales, and a boatload of free advertising. What do we recommend? Pantone is your best friend. They set the global benchmark in all things colour. Pay attention to places like the Dieline AKA the holy grail of all things packaging. And lastly, keep a close ear on what is happening in social media. All of the above can inform and elevate your packaging design.
Kirsten Crisostomo is a freelance copy and content writer based in Vancouver, BC.