Have you ever looked at a package in a store and couldn’t really figure out what this product actually was? Sometimes we see custom packaging designs and we shake our heads. What is this product, and what are the contents of this box or container? For example, shampoo and body wash packaging often have difficult to read and unclear copy. You don’t often see large print to identity what the contents of the bottles are. You do not see the word “shampoo” or “conditioner” in large bold letters. When you’re in a store and in a hurry it’s easy to make a mistake. Take a look at these bottles below, one for conditioner and one for shampoo. The description of what the actual product is, can be quite confusing. The exception for this type of design is when the brand is already established to the point that people can determine what it is without even reading the label.
You can clearly see the difference between the two examples. This is especially important for new brands creating retail packaging. In this article we provide some tips for designing packaging for new brands through copywriting and hierarchy.
As mentioned above, one of the most important things in packaging copy is clarity. Is it clear what you’re actual product does? Your consumer will not try and guess what you are trying to sell. Often they will not pick up the product to inspect what you may be trying to sell. Especially if there are competing products, on the shelf, next to your product, with much clearer copy.
When it comes to packaging design for retail packaging it’s important to recognize that copy and how you sell your product will be different than the online experience. Understanding this fact will help you be more conscious and focused on correct copy tailored for the retail experience.
In terms of clarity one of the most important things you can do is avoid using “fluff” words that are ambiguous and convey lots of subjectivity. For example, using words like “better” and “amazing” on your custom boxes or bottle packaging, is highly ambiguous, what do you mean by “amazing” or “better”. Clear, concise, and simple trumps complex and fanciful language.
There’s a huge difference between what product packaging copy looks like on your computer screen versus on product shelves. The effect you see on a flat screen will look much different on a shelf, where a potential customer is usually a few feet away as they walk by. One way to start thinking about this is by first understanding the type of container your product will be in. Is it a custom box or a glass bottle? Then as you go through various copy versions you can temporarily paste a printed version of your label and place your container next to competing products. Different combination of letters of different sizes will have a much different effect. The one thing to keep in mind during this process is that you’re not going to get it right the first time around. You need to make multiple versions and explore what will work best.
Take a look at blogs and websites that provide courses, or free ebooks, on marketing copy. Learning a little will go a long away