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The art of product packaging design: a complete guide

12 Sep, 2023

Product packaging design is a key to your business succeeding.

Think about it: you’ve invested significant time and resources into developing a product. Now you want to sell it and grow your business.

The first thing a potential customer usually sees while browsing the shelves is a sea of branded packaging. First impressions count: research shows people may form an opinion within 100 milliseconds! Packaging may come with a production cost, but done well and it can also be a massive opportunity for your business. If you’re packaging isn’t up to scratch, it’s probably costing your business even more.

But where do you even start when it comes to product packaging design?

Let’s dive into why product packaging design is important, some best practices to make your product pop and why Rawson is the best choice for your product packaging design and printing needs.

Product packaging design best practices and why they’re important

Product packaging design is so much more than just giving your product a nice wrapper. Product packaging design best practices take a holistic approach to the design process: they consider your product, its target demographics, and your overall brand’s identity and story.

Let’s explore a few key areas you should think about.

1. Stand out from the crowd

Globalisation means that most products are not unique and we can order products from anywhere in the world at the click of a button. In a saturated market, eye-catching and innovative packaging can help your product stand out online, on the shelves and even when it arrives in the mail – and influence how consumers view and interact with your brand.

This doesn’t necessarily mean reinventing the wheel, but high-quality and visually appealing packaging can create a positive impression and indicate a quality product is inside.

2. Tell your brand’s identity and story to build brand loyalty

Your product has an identity and a story – its packaging must too! Packaging design is an opportunity to tell your brand’s unique perspective, identity, story and values via strong visuals and messaging.

Done effectively, it will sell your brand and create a consistent brand experience that resonates with potential customers.

3. Know your target market and industry

Knowing your consumers should inform the design and type of packaging you pick. Are they children? Senior citizens? People in a certain location? People specialising in a particular industry or skill set? Are they concerned with environmental impact? Are they e-commerce users? Are they social media influencers posting “unboxing” videos as they open their newly delivered parcel?

Similarly, are there industry regulations on what text may appear on packaging or what kind of packaging may be used, for example, tamper-proofing for pharmaceuticals or to meet food safety standards?

4. Embrace sustainability

Sustainability matters: consumers care not just about what’s inside the wrapper, but what material is used to make the wrapper. A 2021 study of 15,000 consumers showed 54% say the sustainability of packaging factors into their product selection, and 73% are willing to pay more for eco-friendly packaging.

5. Collaborate

Connect the right people at the start of the design process. An early meeting between your designer, other product-related staff and even your print and packaging company will mean everyone is on the same page and make a successful outcome far more likely. It also helps you establish what’s actually possible from a printing and budget perspective – and may even give your designers more ideas!

Effective packaging design techniques

There are two equally important parts to design: graphic design (the visual look, branding and colours), and structural design (the composition of the carton or packaging). When designing your packaging, consider:

Visual impact

Visual impact can wow or flop! Colours, fonts, graphics and messaging must align with your brand and capture a customer’s attention.

Less is often more: don’t use more than a couple fonts, don’t overcrowd packaging with excessive text, and think about how certain colours may evoke certain emotions or be related to certain cultural observations.

Structural design and functionality

Unique packaging helps your product stand out. Unconventional shapes and innovative opening mechanisms can create a lasting, positive impact on a customer, increasing the chances they’ll remember your product and become a repeat customer.

But don’t forget functionality: a package that’s impractical, hard to open or close, leaks or breaks quickly can just as easily turn customers off. Packaging is often “over-engineered” for no apparent reason, such as using the wrong structural design or board substrate (base layers), or “under-engineered” for the purpose it needs to serve. Cosmetic products, for example, have vastly different packaging requirements to frozen goods.

Incorporating branding into packaging design with consistency

Your logo, colours, fonts, graphics and messaging should be consistent not just across all your products but across your whole business: products, websites, social media, stores (including online stores), vehicles, uniforms, etc. Consistency builds brand recognition, reinforces your brand identity, and fosters trust.

How Rawson can help with your packaging design

You name it, we can print it! When you work with us, you’re partnering with a print and packaging company with more than 45 years of expertise. Rawson produces packaging for everything from beauty and cosmetics to food and pharmaceuticals to fast-moving consumer goods and promotional materials. Our speciality is fibre-based, folding carton packaging used across all consumer sectors.

Our clients are recognising that traditional packaging concepts of extremely bright colours produced with environmentally harmful UV inks and plastic laminations (or coatings) don’t align with their customers’ environmental values. At Rawson, we provide far more sustainable solutions because we’re committed to sustainability.

We offer:

  1. Certified carbon-neutral production.
  2. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accredited printing.
  3. Eco-friendly soy and vegetable-based inks and water-based coatings.
  4. PH neutral, acid and chlorine-free substrate choices.
  5. Recycled and environmentally sustainable board packaging including FSC certified substrates – allowing you to include these world-recognised logos and accreditations on your packaging.

Our closed loop manufacturing facility also means we’re not only giving you the highest quality packaging, but we’re doing so responsibly. We recycle or reuse any materials that are able to be recycled or reused, such as recycling ink for future jobs, to drastically reduce what goes to landfill.

Need further support? At Rawson, we understand the symbiotic relationship between presentation, purpose, longevity and ultimately cost.

Our expertise in structural design services, including assisting with construction design, mock-ups and sampling, can help your business create the best packaging solution for your specific needs and make your products walk off the shelves!

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