Nowadays, packaging is a widely known field. Everything comes in packages, from clothes to food. It’s becoming increasingly clear that taking care of the packaging design and manufacture processes achieves far greater results than shipping your products inside the ugly and old-fashioned brown boxes.
However, not everybody knows the hows and whys of packaging design. That’s why we’re going to make a little crash course on the basics — easy so that anybody can follow along, (even those with little to no design experience). Without further ado, let’s start with:
This first step is, perhaps, the most important one: complying with the specifications. Packaging requirements can vary widely depending on your product. Food packaging is required to pass some health standards; long-distance shipping necessitates harder, more structurally stable packages; different products may need different storing temperatures, conditions, treatments, etc. You get the idea.
But that’s just the barebone of your concept. Once fulfilled, it’s important also to clarify your client’s objectives and needs within those requirements — and satisfy them as well. Packages might need to be stored flat, and be assembled later. Different shapes and forms may convey separate attitudes and concepts that may, (or may not), fit with your client’s brand. Budgets have to be kept in mind at all times, as well as product quantity and manufacture processes.
It’s important to write down all the concerns for both sides before moving onto the next step. Which is:
Take a look at your competitors: how are they solving this issue? What are they doing right, (or wrong)? Bigger businesses may have bigger budgets and shelf space, but uglier designs. Newer products may be hard to find, but easy to love. Each one of your competing products has different strengths and weaknesses, and fighting them is up to you. Assess yours: can you come up with a better, more polished design? Can you think of a more creative solution to break the mold?
This is where packaging thrives: the crossing of paths between needs and opportunities. Think outside the box, (pun intended). Be unconventional! Be distinctive! Think about your customer: what would make him wonder? Try to amaze and astonish him by going an extra mile. Secure the necessary functionalities, but add an unexpected touch. Differentiate yourself from your competitors as much and in as many ways as you can.
At the end of the day, there’s just one product that goes into the basket. And it’s usually the striking one.
To sum up: it’s important always to know the range of action you’re moving in. Each package implies its challenges, from clients and government needs to market competitors. There’s no product living in isolation — but that’s what makes great packaging designs great! Limitations have always been the most dominant fuel for innovation and creativity.
So much for a first lesson! And yet we’ve covered nothing else than the very basics. Stay with us for a next lesson on prototyping, and feel free to comment with any ideas or questions you have[hr]
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