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Packaging has been around for a lot longer than most people realize and is more than “wrapping” a product. Our ancestors used natural materials like leaves and animal skin to wrap, protect, and contain products. Today, brands use a vast array of options like Paper & Carton Packaging, Film Packaging, Plastic Boxes etc depending on the purpose, product characteristics, transportation distances, environmental considerations and desired customer experience.  Packaging combines science, art, and technology fascinatingly and innovatively that help protect a product, preserve the quality of a product, reduce costs by preventing damage, maintain hygiene, make transportation easier, deter tampering or theft, and provide information to customers. 

Additional Reading: How to Design a Customers Journey, Designing a Brand's Tone of Voice,  How businesses can avoid Death by Commodity Design, The Power of ColoursWhy Brand Archetypes still matter,  How to use TypographyWhy does professionally designed Logos matter, Why customers love Experiential Marketing

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Packaging design at the surface is simply the delicate dance between aesthetics and functionality to create an attractive exterior for a product, but in actuality is incredibly important because it is the first thing that customers see. It can influence perception, communicate a brand’s identity, and impact customer purchase decisions. The material used, the shape of the package, the graphics, colors, and fonts all play a complex and subconscious role that bridges the gap between brand - product, and customer. Poorly designed packaging can and will result in customers leaving the product on the shelf. Here are a few examples of well designed packaging design.

Coca - Cola - Packaging

Oreo - Packaging

Apple - Unboxing 

Star Bucks - Packaging

Planning for Packaging Design 


Packaging design requires clarity. Clarity begins from a space of authentic collaboration - understanding who the client is as a person/people, what is their vision, understanding the problem(s) being faced, the actual scope of the project and real-world requirements and limitations, understanding the budget and time available. A broad questionnaire like the one below can help brand leaders articulate what is in their minds and help design agencies find solutions

  • Which brands INSIDE your category/market do you find aspirational? What do you think sets them apart from the rest of the herd?

  • Which brands OUTSIDE your category/market do you find aspirational? What do you think sets them apart from the rest of the herd?

  • Are there any other brands that you admire strictly based on aesthetics? (ie. Graphic styles, Illustrations approach, Photography, Iconography, Typography, etc)

  • What are 5 words that best describe your brand/ you would like your customer to associate with your brand (for example - Trustworthy, Femininity,  Royalty, Strenght, Purity, Elegance, Spiritual etc)

  • What are some of the positive emotional associations you want your customers to have with your brand?
    (for example - Trust and Loyalty or Happiness and Satisfaction or Excitement and Anticipation or Belonging and Community or Empowerment or Safety and Security or Inspirational or Relief or Admiration or Affection or Comfort or Pride or Surprise and Delight or Gratitude etc)

  • What sentence/tagline best encapsulates the essence of your brand? 

  • If your brand was a person describe their week? (what’s their weekends like, what’s their daily schedule like, what do they do for fun, what do they look like, sound like, act like, what are their hobbies, preferred activities, etc)

  • What is your brand’s packaging design style?
    (for example - Masculine or Feminine, Simple or Intricate, Monochrome or Colourful, Conservative or Liberal, Approachable or Exclusive, Authoritative or Submissive, Necessity or Luxury, Playful or Serious, Formal or Casual)

  • What words best describe your Brand Voice?
    (for example  Brand Tone - Passionate, Authentic, Bold, Dynamic, Exciting, Inspirational, Vibrant, Energetic, Playful, Adventurous, Empowering, Fresh, Innovative, Spirited, Uplifting, Warm, Welcoming, Youthful, Zesty, Zealous, etc. Brand Purpose - Advocate, Catalyst, Champion, Change-maker, Connector, Creator, Defender, Educator, Enabler, Explorer, Guide, Healer, Innovator, Leader, Mentor, Nuturer, Provider, Supporter, Transformer, Visionary etc. Brand Language - Articulate, Clear, Concise, Conversational, Direct, Expressive, Fluent, Informative, Insightful, Intelligent, Intuitive, Persuasive, Precise, Reliable, Respectful, Simple, Straightforward, Thoughtful, Transparent, understandable, etc. Brand Persona - Ambitious, Caring, Charismatic, Confident, Dependable, Empathetic, Friendly, Humourous, Imaginative, Independent, Optimistic, Passionate, Reliable, Respectful, Sincere, Trustworthy, Unconventional, Unique, Visionary, Wise etc)

  • Which Brand Archetype(s) - primary and secondary best encompass your brand?

Design directions and Guard-rails before beginning

  • What the product is.

  • Who the product is for.

  • What the purchase frequency is.

  • How and where the product will be bought.

  • Who are our direct and indirect competitors (for research and competitive analysis).

  • Does the primary packaging require secondary and tertiary packaging.  

  • What the design goals, brand objectives, production budgets, environmental sustainability requirements, supply chain requirements, and distribution store requirements are.

  • What the Brand Identity guidelines (ie brand colors, fonts, logo) are.

  • What is the must-have content that goes on the packaging (ie content, images, barcodes, nutritional information).

  • What the legal compliances and requirements are.

Tips for Good, Eye-Catching Packaging Design

Good packaging design doesn't stop at aesthetics. Its eventual success lies in creating an emotional connection with a brand’s customers so that they buy the product. Good packaging design must have


  • Brand Consistency: The packaging should be consistent with the brand’s identity, including its logo, color scheme, and overall aesthetic. This helps to reinforce the brand in the consumer’s mind. It should also reflect the brand ethos and ideology.

  • Clear Information: The packaging should communicate what the product is, who it’s for, and how to use it. This includes the product name, description, ingredients or materials, instructions for use, and any other relevant information. Use Typography to emphasize the message

  • Attractiveness: The packaging should be visually appealing to catch the consumer’s eye and stand out on the shelf. This can be achieved through the use of colors, images, typography, and other design elements. The design should be simple, have visual balance, and incorporate textures.

  • Quality Materials: The packaging should be made of high-quality materials that protect the product and give a sense of the product’s quality. The choice of materials can also reflect the brand’s values, such as sustainability.

  • Innovation: Unique and innovative packaging can make a product stand out and create a memorable unboxing experience. This could include interactive elements, unusual shapes, or creative use of textures and materials.

  • Target Audience Appeal: The packaging should appeal to the brand’s target audience. This includes considering factors like the consumer’s lifestyle, values, and preferences.

  • Sustainability: With increasing consumer awareness about environmental issues, sustainable packaging is becoming more important. This could include using recyclable or biodegradable materials, minimizing packaging, or using renewable resources.

  • Functionality: The packaging should be easy to open, easy to use, and appropriately sized. It should also be adaptable across SKUs.

  • Cost-effectiveness: The packaging design should be cost-effective, considering both the production costs and the perceived value it adds to the product.

  • Customer Experience: The packaging should offer a positive customer experience, from the moment the customer sees the product on the shelf to when they use it at home.

Other key considerations in Packaging Design 


It is important to state that several legal and regulatory requirements are required to be included in the packaging such as


  • Labeling Regulations: Packaging must include certain information depending on the product type. For example, food products generally need to include nutritional information, ingredients, allergen warnings, and expiration dates. Similarly, cosmetic products often require ingredient lists and usage instructions.

  • Safety Regulations: Some products may need to meet specific safety standards in their packaging. For example, child-resistant packaging is required for certain medications and potentially harmful household products to prevent accidental ingestion by children.

  • Environmental Regulations: Many regions have regulations regarding the environmental impact of packaging. This could include requirements for recyclability, restrictions on the use of certain materials, and regulations on packaging waste.

  • Trade Regulations: If the product is being sold internationally, the packaging may need to comply with the trade regulations of the destination country. This could include specific labeling requirements, import restrictions, and customs regulations.

  • Accessibility: In some cases, there may be requirements to make packaging accessible for people with disabilities. This could include using larger fonts for visually impaired consumers or easy-open packaging for consumers with limited dexterity.

  • Trademark and Copyright Laws: Packaging design must respect intellectual property laws. This means not using copyrighted or trademarked material without permission.

  • Truth in Advertising: Any claims made on the packaging about the product must be truthful and not misleading, according to advertising and consumer protection laws.


How to evaluate a packaging design

  • Is it clear what the product is?

  • Does the packaging represent the product accurately and honestly?

  • How will this packaging look like in 3D / Mocked-up?

  • How will this packaging look like in stores? (is it visible, how does it look if it is stacked, how does it look if it’s side-to-side or back-to-back)

  • How does the packaging compare with competitors? 

  • Is the packaging adaptive and versatile? (is the design extendable to brand extensions)

  • Is the packaging reusable?




Packaging is more than just a container and great packaging is more than just looks. It should also offer a tactile experience, and communicate effectively through smart color choices, shapes and angles, and fonts to deliver compelling messaging. When done right, packaging design can significantly enhance the customer’s product experience and contribute to a brand’s success. It’s not just a box … it’s a window into the soul of a brand.


~ Trigger Worldwide

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