Judging books by their cover – first impressions are important and the packaging on a product matters just as much as the product itself.

How many times did you stop to check out a product simply because the packaging caught your attention? When you had to choose between two similar products, did the way those products look influence your decision? While we should try our best to not judge things by appearance, the truth is, we care a lot about first impressions. And in a world like this, the way a product’s packaging looks matters just as much as the product itself. Because no matter how good your product is, poor packaging design is going to drag sales down.

There are a lot of things to take into consideration when choosing the packaging of a product. It needs to protect what’s inside, allow for easy storage, display information about the product and catch the attention of customers when displayed on a shelf. So how do you go on to create head-turning product packaging that is functional as well?

By learning more about product packaging and why it matters for the success of a product.

Main functions of product packaging

Design matters incredibly much, but packaging functionality is even more important. Here’s what good packaging should do for the product it contains:

  • Protection: the main purpose of product packaging is to protect what’s inside from damage during transit, in storage rooms or while it sits on the shelf in stores. Thus, product packaging needs to be reliable and sturdy, to prevent tampering with the product.
  • Attraction: when consumers see your products on the shelves, it needs to be attractive enough to get their attention. This can be done by using certain color schemes, intricate designs or custom boxes that are both functional and attractive.
  • Information: packaging needs to also include information about the product, including how to use it, ingredients it contains or expiration dates. This information helps customers decide if they want to purchase your product or not, without the need to speak to a store assistant.
  • Differentiation: packaging also helps brands differentiate their products from similar ones through logos, colors or shapes. Innovative designs will make your product stand out and attract customers.

Why does packaging design matter?

Product packaging is, above all, a practical tool, but it also means much more than that for the product and brand it represents. It is the packaging that, through its design, convinces a consumer to purchase a product or not.

Packaging design matters for many reasons, but here are those we believe to be the most important:

Gives a strong first impression

As we’ve already established, first impressions matter a lot, especially when your product needs to stand out in a sea of similar products. Eye-catching packaging design will differentiate your product from others on the market, be it on the shelves of stores or on the pages of an eCommerce website. This it you first chance to win consumers over and get them to know your brand, so take as much advantage of it as you can.

Creates and supports brand identity

Your brand has a story – an identity you have been working to create. What better way to emphasize on brand identity than packaging design? After all, it’s what consumers see first. To ensure packaging design tells an accurate story of your brand, make sure it clearly displays your company logo and makes use of fonts, colors and trademarks associated with your company. This way, consumers will be able to recognize your products anywhere.

Communicates with customers

No matter how much you play with packaging design, don’t forget that it must also be informative. It must communicate with customers and tell them everything they need to know to convince them of the product inside. Good packaging design needs to be able to answer the following questions:

  • Who is this product created for?
  • What is this product used for?
  • Where can I learn more about the manufacturer?
  • Does it expire? When?
  • How will this product improve my life?

How to create attractive product packaging

In order to design good product packaging, you need to first determine a few aspects. These three questions will help the designer create something that speaks to the values and image of your brand:

  • What product are you selling?

This is not supposed to be a difficult or tricky question, but one that helps you figure out the functionality of the packaging. The material, size and type of product you are selling are going to determine how sturdy and large the packaging needs to be.

  • Who is going to buy your product?

Knowing your audience helps you learn how to appeal to them as well. When creating the product packaging, it should be done with your ideal customer in mind.

  • What is my brand aesthetic?

Packaging design needs to represent your brand, so you need to tell the designer what aesthetics to use. This includes colors, fonts, logos and even imagery if that’s the case.

After determining the aspects above, it’s time to proceed to actually working on the packaging design. Here. The designer will take into consideration the product itself, the competition and your budget, to create a design that speaks to your audience, represents your brand and is functional.

After the design is ready, you need to evaluate it based on a few criteria:

  • Easily understandable: By simply looking at your product, will consumers be able to tell what it is and what it does? The last thing you want to do is confuse customers.
  • Honesty: Does your packaging honestly represent your product? Ensure that pictures or graphics used on the packaging are as realistic as possible. You should, of course, use your best images, but make sure they don’t make your product appear to be more than it is.
  • Versatility: Even though you may only have a single product available for sale now, you may want to expand in the future. Make sure the packaging design is versatile enough to accommodate additional products when the time asks for it.