As a brand, your products are important, but so is your packaging! Your packaging is usually the first thing a potential customer sees when considering your brand and products. 

If you want to make a positive, eye-catching first impression, you need packaging that’s been intentionally and intelligently designed. Here’s what you need to do to make it happen.

Plan Your Brand’s Packaging

Before you do anything, you need to establish the groundwork that will act as the foundation of your packaging design process. This is information that you will come back to repeatedly throughout the design process, whether you're creating a retail box design or a mailer box for e-commerce

Step 1: Consider the Product

The first step involves considering the product. What is it? What are its dimensions? How heavy is it? Is it fragile? The answers to these questions will inform your packaging decisions and design ideas

For instance, a small and light object won’t require any heavy-duty or protective packaging like a heavy or fragile object would. 

Step 2: Consider the Customer

The second step involves understanding the customer and your target audience. Who is buying the product? What do they care about? What would make them pick something off the supermarket shelves? If the product is expensive and high-end, the customer is going to expect expensive and high-end packaging. If the shopper cares about sustainability, they are going to expect eco-friendly packaging without tissue paper or other unsustainable design elements. Grab your customer's attention, then keep it.

Step 3: Consider the Brand

The third step involves considering your brand identity. What do you care about as a brand? For instance, if you pride yourself on being an eco-friendly brand, you need to follow through with sustainable packaging and ethical manufacturers. If you want your packaging to do more for your brand, consider customizing and personalizing components for successful packaging design

Select Your Brand Packaging

You now have all the information you need to start making your outer packaging selections! Here are some different options to consider. 

Budget

Before you do so, you still need to think about your packaging budget. When it comes to packaging, there are both one-time costs and per-item costs that you need to consider. Some examples of one-time costs include design work, stamps, and printing plates. While these elements may be costly, you only need to pay for them once. 

From there, you will pay per-item costs depending on how many units of packaging you use. While these elements will cost less individually, the costs can quickly add up when you’re purchasing them for every single order. 

And while it may be tempting to choose the cheapest cardboard box without a second thought, this might not be the best approach. Oftentimes, your packaging says something about both your products and your brand—so cheap packaging can give your target market the wrong idea. 

As a result, it might make sense for you to spend a little bit more on packaging to boost your brand image in the process, especially if your competitors have sprung for more expensive options. 

Packaging Type

Here are some different types of packaging to consider when making your final selections: 

  • Paperboard boxes: This lightweight packaging option can be made into a wide variety of different shapes and structures to fit your products. There are several different finishes to choose from ranging from the natural-looking kraft finish to the higher-end coated and bleached finish. 
  • Corrugated boxes: A lightweight packaging option that is more heavy-duty than paperboard, corrugated boxes have multiple layers of material to provide insulation and protection for the contents. Like paperboard, corrugated cardboard can be cut and formed into a variety of different shapes and comes in a number of different thicknesses. 
  • Plastic boxes: This protective packaging option is difficult to puncture and can easily keep out moisture if sealed properly. Plastic is also lightweight, flexible, and clear enough to show off packaging contents without the need for additional visuals. 
  • Rigid boxes: This heavy-duty packaging option cannot be easily manipulated or folded. Rigid boxes are usually regarded as “high-end” packaging options as they are used by expensive brands like Apple and Tiffany to portray value. However, rigid boxes can be one of the most expensive types of packaging available. 
  • Polybags: On the other hand, poly bags are one of the cheapest types of packaging available. These plastic pouches are ideal for lightweight and non-breakable items like clothing. At the same time, poly bags are quite durable and secure—while offering plenty of custom design capabilities. 
  • Padded mailers: If you like the idea of a polybag rather than a box but need a bit more protection, you may want to consider a padded mailer. These pouches look similar to polybags, but they have an extra layer of bubble wrap to provide insulation and protection. Padded mailers are ideal for skinny items like books and documents. 

Establish Your Brand Guidelines

Now that you’ve established a solid foundation for your product packaging design and selected your packaging, it’s time to design the packaging. Here are some of the different components you should include

  • Brand colors: Make sure your custom packaging design colors match your brand colors by using the CMYK values, Pantone Matching Values (PMS), or hex codes. 
  • Brand fonts: Make sure that your packaging fonts match the fonts and typography already used by your brand for a cohesive look and feel during the unboxing experience.
  • Brand logo and graphics: Make sure that your brand logo is ready to go in the form of a vector file so that you can easily incorporate it into your retail packaging and label designs. Logo design is an essential aspect of the branding process that you should determine before beginning your creative packaging design.
  • Written copy: Think about what information needs to be included. For instance, a good packaging design should definitely include the product name and a brief description, but simplicity is key.
  • Imagery: Think about what additional images need to be included within the packaging layout, design, and artwork. For instance, you might want to include a photo of the product on its own or being used. 
  • Required marks: Think about any product or industry packaging requirements and guidelines when it comes to things like barcodes, expiration dates, batch numbers, nutrition information, safety seals, association marks, etc. 

Design Your Packaging

Finally, it’s time for the fun part—design! This is when you can really have fun and let your creative juices flow. On the other hand, if you are lacking in creative juices, the work that you’ve done up to this point should provide some clarity as you build your mockup. All you need to do is combine all of the different elements that we’ve discussed thus far. 

Start with your packaging type and come up with a design that makes sense for your products. From there, you can add in your creative elements like fonts, bright colors, and pictures. Finally, you add in your necessary elements for a completed package design. 

But before you spend money on your packaging elements, it’s important to test your designs first to make sure that they have the desired effect. In an ideal world, you would conduct legitimate A/B testing with multiple different design options, perhaps enlisting the help of a graphic designer with experience using Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. However, if such rigorous testing isn’t in your budget, you can always show your ideas to friends and family members for their input. 

Final Thoughts on Designing Packaging for Your Brand

Even with all this information, designing packaging for your brand can be challenging if you’re not a packaging expert. The good news is that there are packaging experts at Box Genie who are ready and willing to help you come up with a design that makes sense for both your products and your brand. So reach out today for personalized guidance and inspiration. 

 

Sources:

  1. Why Your Product's Packaging Is as Important as the Product Itself | Inc.
  2. The Five Things Product Packaging Must Do | Forbes
  3. 7 of the Most Popular Packaging Types | Medium

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