Massive growth in the e-commerce space has meant that product packaging must serve more functions than ever before.
Not only must packaging do its primary job of protecting what’s inside, it must also address consumer sustainability concerns. And it must look good not only on a store shelf, but also on e-commerce pages and on the social media platforms where consumers share news of their purchases.
Technologies like double-sided printing on cardboard and advanced tactile finishes are opening up new possibilities. Brands, however, must design packaging with even greater care and consideration than they always have.
Test Packaging Designs Under Realistic End-User Conditions
Your packaging may look beautiful after having been styled by a skilled photographer with state-of-the-art lighting and camera equipment, but how does it look when snapped in ordinary lighting with a typical camera phone?
When people share their purchases on social media, you have a great opportunity to extend your brand’s online reach, but you can’t do that if the packaging is dull or unreadable when snapped by an ordinary camera phone.
Before finalizing packaging design, be sure to test it under the conditions in which most consumers receive it, and photograph it under conditions consumers typically do. Ideally, you want your brand to be recognizable at a glance, and it will take skillful use of color, font, and other branding touches to make that happen.
Pique Interest with Outer Surfaces, Add Personalization Within
“Unboxing” videos have become tremendously popular on YouTube and Instagram, and your packaging designs can play along with this phenomenon by including simple touches. For example, the closed package can offer “teaser” text to build anticipation (“You’re a few minutes away from your best cup of tea ever!”) or other additions like custom stickers, which add interest to the unboxing process.
Many brands are adding large, easy-to-read hashtags onto outer packaging. And many are experimenting with the tactile feel of the packaging and what is conveyed by it. For example, a sleek, smooth finish indicates high-end elegance, while simple Kraft paperboard container is more down-to-earth.
It doesn’t stop there, however. Inside the package is space where you can get more personal. It’s best to avoid utilitarian filler material like packing peanuts and air pouches in favor of camera-friendly materials like tissue paper. Bundles can be held together with twine rather than zip ties. And you can add other personal extras like small, personalized branded cards. All of these make the online unboxing experience more entertaining.
Make It Easy and Delightful to Open On-Camera
Great packaging does its job without being difficult for customers to use. Excessive or unnecessary use of packing tape, brads, or other packaging binders that require tools detract from the unboxing experience. Of course, tools will be necessary sometimes, but there are many instances when a cleverly designed single-piece folded box, secured with a branded sticker does the job admirably, while still being easy to open. An unboxing video isn’t as enjoyable when it requires the use of box cutters, screwdrivers, or other tools simply to get at what’s inside.
Ultimately, extending your product’s reach in the age of social media requires thinking like a consumer. What would you like the unboxing experience to be like if you arrived home to find a package of your product on the doorstep? Be specific, and think in terms of visuals, kinetics, and even tactile experience.
Attention to details can extend your brand reach in new and exciting ways, placing your packaging and branding in front of new people every day. PKG Brand Design is always on the forefront of new CPG branding and packaging initiatives; please subscribe to our blog for the latest package design industry news!