Once the basics are laid down, is time to think about the final package. On the past lessons, we already covered fundamental topics such as requirements fulfillment, market research, and the prototyping process. Now, for the last lesson in our small course, we’ll hover over the final steps: design and production.
After some time tinkering with multiple ideas and prototypes, you’ll reach a final version of your package. You’ll already understand what it does, how it does it, and how does it relate to the product itself. Time to pick up the brush! Now, how will you design it? Which colors will you choose? Whom do you want to appeal? Who are your customers — or who do you want them to be? Different targets have differents tastes, habits, and customs.
Take a look at the reference guide: there should be the answer. Is your competitors’ design dull and boring? Go for a striking, high-contrast design. Are they too flamboyant? Go for minimalism, (sometimes, the best packages are those who succeed in pure functionalism). Add a personal touch. Design for legacy, not mediocrity. Accept your product history and familiarities, but challenge them as well.
Have in mind that your package might well be the deciding factor in any customer’s purchase. The best product in the world could go unnoticed due to inadequate packaging. Your maximum time span might be less than a few seconds. You’d better create something eye-catching.
The last step in packaging is always production. How will you make your packages? We already though about different materials and manufacturing processes in the packaging stage, but will them stick at scale? Does your client have the means and resources to produce all the packaging in its factory, (if he has one)? Does he know someone who has? In this stage, collaboration is key, both for efficiency and a well-balanced cost-benefit relationship.
Albeit being the last phase, production shouldn’t ever be overlooked. Design thoughts and aesthetics have prevailed over practicality one too many times. And they’ve ended up blowing up the budget that many. The quality of production should never be compromised either: cheap solutions and workarounds only produce cheap packages and the feeling of a cheap, half-assed product. Quantity is as important: will the producer of the manufacturer be able to make as many packages as we want him to, and will he do it in the time span that our client wants it to?
Every past stage might well be considered useless on the basis of a sloppy production scheme. Our best packaging idea won’t be such if it’s deemed impracticable or conducted hazily.
Our little crash course ends here! We’ve rolled by all the different stages that packaging design has to look after, but there’s much more depth that we haven’t covered, like distribution, storage, protection, environmental concerns, etc.
Please comment with some thoughts, (good or bad), and tell us whether you liked it or not as well as what would you like it to read about in advance![hr]