When a consumer walks through the isle of a retail store they are faced with dozens of options of products to choose from. Of course consumers make choices based on price and brand name but consumer buying behaviour is also in large part determined by the packaging aesthetic. According to a 2015 research paper, The Role and Impact of the Packaging Effect on Consumer Buying Behaviour, within a 30 minute shopping session, consumers can be exposed to up to 20,000 product choices. Companies use product packaging to help differentiate themselves from alternative choices. But what packaging design factors help to influence buying behaviour? One of the ways to grab the consumer’s attention is through typography. But it’s not enough to design your custom packaging by picking any font and putting it on your custom boxes. Picking a font for your packaging is both an art and a science. There are however a number of things to consider when assessing which typeface is likely to be most suitable.
Understand your audience: One of the the keys to picking the correct font type is understanding your audience. You need to consider the type of message you want your audience to receive. For example picking a font type for a product aimed at millenials is much different than a font type for products aimed at an older demographic. Sugar free and low calorie soft drink products require much different fonts than ones used for energy drinks.
Balance, symmetry and readability: Whether it’s a cardboard box or a cylindrical container, think about your package size and dimensions and how it will sit on the shelf. A bag of rice will likely be positioned at a lower level and laying flat versus a cooking sauce which will likely have a cylindrical shape. The objective is to always make the words on the package legible and clear. Do not, for example, use large fonts on a small packages and small fonts on a large packages.
Typeface tips: Tastes, attitudes, and perception are constantly changing. What worked twenty years ago doesn’t necessarily work now and the research certainly suggests preferences are constantly changing. One current trend is minimalism. Less is more is a safe bet. When conveying information to the customer you want clean simple font styles that give an uncluttered feel. The way to achieve this is by limiting the number of font styles you use on your custom package as well as the number of font sizes. This will provide a feeling of consistency. However, you can break up different informational sections by using upper and lowercase versions of the same font.
Color and contrast: Think about your product size. When dealing with smaller products you want white text on a dark background, this has the effect of making the letters appear larger. In contrast when dealing with larger product sizes use dark fonts with a light background, this allows letter to appear smaller so as to not overwhelm the reader.
Telefon font is a Norwegian style sans serif font perfect for various types of surfaces and packaging textures. This font also works well for minimalist packaging design.
Helvetica is a classic sans-serif font type. It’s a very clean font type that has withstood the test of time. Updated variations of this font are seen every year.
Formular is a very clean and modern font perfect for high end technical products. Take a look at the Terra Kaffe espresso maker. The company used this font for every aspect of their branding.
Alio is a sans serif cursive font. It’s fun and playful font perfect for use with bold and bright packaging design.
Omnes is a font created back in 2006 but updated recently in 2018. There’s something that just works with this font. It’s bold and clean but still subtle.
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