January 4, 2024

Best Practices for Product Package Design

Jason Burg | Advisor (He/Him)

Best Practices for Product Package Design

If you’re reading this you must have a product to sell. And that product probably needs some cool packaging to excite and enthrall potential buyers. Good news, you’ve landed in the right place. Because even if you don't consider yourself to be someone who is "into design," good product package design is crucial for attracting customers, communicating your brand identity, and ensuring the integrity of your product. And there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun with the design along the way. Here are some best practices for product package design mixed with a side of witty banter (cuz why not?).

Colors that pop: Choose colors that are so vibrant, they make other packages jealous. You want your product to be the life of the packaging party, not the wallflower. Unless, of course, your product would be seen in Kinfolk magazine in which case you’ll want packaging in subtle, peaceful earth tones like a Gwyneth Paltrow sweater.  

Branding: Slap your logo on your package like your branding depends on it—because it does. Make it memorable, feature it in a prominent place, and let the world know it came from your rad business.

Function-forward: It's not rocket science (unless you're packaging rockets). Your packaging should protect the product, not be a puzzle or frustrating to open (looking at you clamshells). Keep it simple—even astronauts need to snack on the go.

Try to be eco-Friendly: Because saving the planet is pretty important. So, if possible, consider going green with your packaging, because cutting down trees is so last century. But seriously, customers (especially millennials and GenZers) are more likely to support a company who has a social conscience and considers Mother Earth in their business practices.

Avoid information overload: Put the important stuff in big, bold letters—the name of your product and its cool features, for example. This is your product’s billboard and the best opportunity to catch an eye. Strategically use fonts to make the important information stand out, and make sure your customers can read about your product packaging without needing a magnifying glass. Leave the microscopic fine print for the terms and conditions.

Have fun with your typography: Mix fonts like you're a master chef concocting the perfect dish. Just remember, too many fonts is like too many spices—it can get messy.

Think about the unboxing experience: Create an unboxing experience that’s so thrilling, your customers will want to record themselves while they do it and share it on social media. Add inserts or even more information about your company or think of it like a record album—front, back, much to look at!

Don't be square: If it makes sense, stand out with a shape that says, "I’m not your average box." Triangles, trapezoids, maybe even a parallelogram—let your package design have some personality (as long as it doesn't mess with your ability to merchandise it).

Lean into limited-edition shenanigans: Because FOMO is real. If you can afford it, release limited-edition packaging that's so exclusive, it makes unicorns jealous. Create FOMO (fear of missing out) with your customers.

Hire a professional: If packaging design isn’t one of your skills, hire a professional designer. There are thousands of freelance designers who are great package designers. Look at portfolios and find a designer who shares your aesthetic. You can work closely with them to make sure your vision is being brought to life! Once you have the completed design files, send them to a printer who specializes in printing packaging. Many affordable options can be found online and price will depend on the quantity you wish to print.

When working on product package design, think about the packaging that has caught your eye in the past. Maybe a toy from childhood, a candle in a boutique gift shop, or a favorite record album. What drew you in to take a closer look? Keep that mind when designing your packaging. Packaging can enhance your brand image, improve customer satisfaction, and increase the likelihood of success in the marketplace. But most importantly, have fun when designing—after all it’s part of your brand’s personality!

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