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7 Steps In Product Packaging Design Every Designer Should Know


October 27, 2023


October 27, 2023


Steps In Product Packaging Design

Hey there, design aficionado! So, you’re into the whole designing gig, huh? Creating eye-popping visuals and turning blah into “Woah!”—that’s your jam, right? Fantastic! But let’s talk turkey for a sec: Design is more than just putting together something snazzy. It goes way beyond that—it’s about how it feels in your hands, how it works in your daily life, and yep, even how it makes you feel deep down. And nowhere is this more true than in the arena of product packaging. Yep, you heard me, we’re stepping into the ring with the big dog of the design world—product packaging. So, slap on your seatbelt and put your creative hat on, ’cause things are about to get real!

Imagine this, you’re strolling down the aisle of your fave store. Your eyes are darting around like a pinball—bouncing from one thing to the next. But wait, what’s that? There, amongst a sea of meh, is a product that’s practically jumping off the shelf, screaming “Pick me! Pick me!” Its packaging is just that killer. Like a moth to a flame, you can’t resist; you’ve gotta see what’s inside. That, my friends, is the sheer magnetism of kick-butt packaging. It’s like the cool kid at school you can’t help but wanna hang with.

So, what’s the game plan? We’re going on a wild ride through the twists and turns of why packaging design is like the VIP of the design world. We’ll dive into the must-knows, the “Hey, did ya think about this?” and the “Whoa, never saw that coming!” moments. From the “Why should I even care?” to the “Holy smokes, I gotta get this right!”—we’re covering it all. By the time you hit the end of this rollercoaster, you won’t just be sitting in the audience, you’ll be up on stage, rockin’ out like a true packaging design superstar.

So, are we jazzed? Ready to lift the curtain on this unsung hero of the design universe? Well then, let’s roll!

Why Product Packaging Matters?

Alright, let’s chew the fat about this whole packaging deal. You might think it’s just a throwaway thing—a box here, a bag there. Boy, are you off the mark! Packaging is like showing up to a first date dressed to the nines. It’s that killer first impression that’s gonna make someone say, “Wow, I gotta learn more about this!” or “Eh, hard pass.”

Need more convincing? Let’s talk about those viral unboxing videos, shall we? I mean, come on, who doesn’t love the thrill of slicing open that tape and flipping the lid to see what goodies await? It’s like Christmas morning over and over again. That packaging? It’s not just a box; it’s part of the show! If it looks like something you fished out of the recycle bin, no one’s gonna care what’s inside. And let’s be real—those videos would be a total snooze-fest if the packaging was as exciting as watching paint dry.

Now, let’s gab about branding for a sec. Good packaging ain’t just a pretty face; it’s got to shout your brand from the rooftops. Think of it like your product’s personal hype man. It’s gotta say, “Hey, look at me! I’m awesome, and you know you want to try me!” all without uttering a single word. It’s your logo, your colors, your taglines—all that jazz, wrapped up in one neat package. Literally.

And get this, it’s not just about making people ooh and aah the first time they lay eyes on your product. The packaging has got to stick in their minds. It’s the thing that’s gonna make them go, “Oh yeah, I remember that! That was cool!” the next time they’re cruising down the shopping aisle. So, in other words, your packaging is like your product’s wingman, its LinkedIn profile, and its own personal cheer squad all bundled into one sweet deal.

Here Are The Top Considerations To Make While Creating Your Product Packaging Design

1. Get Inspiration

So, where do you even start, right? Well, first thing’s first—you don’t have to start from scratch. There’s a whole world of design magic already out there, just waiting to spark your imagination. The point? Don’t be shy to stand on the shoulders of giants!

Imagine you’re on a treasure hunt for ideas. Dig into what’s making waves in the market. Is it that sleek, futuristic vibe, like something out of a sci-fi movie? Or maybe it’s the rustic, homegrown look that’s stealing the show? I mean, we’ve all been caught in the “just one more scroll” loop on Pinterest or Instagram, haven’t we? So, go on and let those platforms be your idea playground for a while.

And don’t think you have to stick to your industry! Maybe you’re designing a package for a tech gadget, but it’s the organic curves and warm colors of a skincare product that catch your eye. Nothing wrong with a little cross-pollination of ideas! Just remember, it’s one thing to be inspired and quite another to copy. Keep it original!

2. Know The Product and Its Functional Requirements

Alrighty then, let’s get down to brass tacks. You’ve soaked up all this inspiration like a sponge, and you’re raring to go. But hold your horses! Before you jump into the design deep-end, you’ve got to know the product you’re working with like the back of your hand.

Think about it—you wouldn’t wear a tuxedo to a beach party, right? The same logic applies to your product. What’s it made of? Glass, metal, fairy dust? Is it something that could break if you look at it the wrong way, or is it built like a tank? And hey, don’t forget the perishables! If it’s something like food or cosmetics, you’ve got to consider factors like air, light, and moisture.

Why does all this matter, you ask? Because function has to walk hand-in-hand with form. You can design the most drop-dead gorgeous package in the world, but if it doesn’t protect the product or isn’t user-friendly, then it’s all just window dressing.

So, before you unleash your inner artist, make sure you’ve got the practical stuff down pat. Trust me, your clients (and their customers) will thank you for it!

3. Know The Target Audience

Whoa there, Nelly! Hold your horses and pump the brakes for a hot second. Knowing your audience is like finding the North Star in a cloudy sky—it guides everything else. So before you unleash your inner Picasso and start sketching like there’s no tomorrow, you gotta ask yourself: Who am I actually designing for? It might sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people skip this step and end up with a design that’s a Jack-of-all-trades and a master of none.

So, let’s break it down. Is it the kiddos you’re targeting? Well, bright colors, playful fonts, and maybe even some cartoon characters will be your best friends. Are you aiming for the tech-savvy young adults? Sleek, minimalist designs with a dash of innovation would hit the nail on the head. What about the older generation? Maybe something more classic, more straightforward, yet elegant will do the trick. Knowing who you’re designing for is half the battle won. It’s like having a GPS for your design journey; it keeps you on the right track. So go on, do some digging, run some surveys, stalk some social media—do whatever you gotta do to understand your audience like the back of your hand.

4. Keep It Simple

Alright, let’s cut to the chase. You remember that phrase “less is more?” Well, it’s worth its weight in gold when it comes to packaging design. Picture this: You’re in a store, and there’s this package screaming for attention with 18 different fonts, holographic colors, and text that needs a Rosetta Stone to decipher. What do you do? Chances are, you’re gonna roll your eyes and move on. Let’s face it, a cluttered design is like a messy room; you won’t know where to look first.

Your packaging should be as simple as Sunday morning. No fuss, no muss. A clean, straightforward design not only looks good, but it also helps people instantly recognize what you’re all about. Think Apple: a simple logo on a plain white or gray background. It’s so simple it’s genius. Because when you cut through the noise, people can hear you better. Confusion is the enemy of a good design. A baffled customer is one who’s gonna walk away, leaving your product to collect dust on the shelf. And that’s the last thing you want, right? So go ahead, keep it simple and let your product shine. It’s a surefire way to avoid biting off more than you can chew.

5. Tell Your Story Through Colors & Fonts

Ah, now we’re getting to the good stuff—the glitter and glam, if you will. Colors and fonts are like the secret sauce that can make or break your product’s first impression. Seriously, they’re more than just aesthetics; they’re your brand’s voice without saying a word. You ever walk by something and think, “Ooh, that’s classy,” or “Wow, that’s so fun?” Chances are, the colors and fonts played a big role in that snap judgment.

Okay, let’s break it down. Say you’re aiming for a vibe that screams eco-friendly and natural. You might opt for earthy tones—greens, browns, maybe some blues. Font-wise, you’d probably go for something clean and simple. On the flip side, if you’re peddling something fun and aimed at kids, you’re talking bright colors and bubbly fonts. Think about cereal boxes; those things are like a kiddie disco on a shelf, right?

And let’s address the elephant in the room: Comic Sans. Friends, unless you’re crafting a birthday invitation for a 5-year-old, just avoid it. There are tons of fonts out there. Pick one that says “professional” not “I made this in 5 minutes.” You get what I’m saying?

6. Make It Attractive To Stand Out

Alright, let’s be real here. You’re not the only game in town, and the marketplace is chock-full of stuff begging for attention. It’s like a high school talent show out there, and everyone wants to be the star. You’ve got to bring your A-game if you want to shine brighter than a diamond in a sea of rhinestones.

First up, you’ve got to grab that attention and not let go. Maybe it’s a cool design that catches the eye, like a unique shape or an unexpected texture. For instance, you know how some water bottles have those fancy grips or a sleek, ergonomic design? Yeah, that could be you.

And don’t forget the bells and whistles—well, maybe not literally, unless that’s your thing. What I mean is, add some finer details. Maybe a cool logo, an intriguing tagline, or even an interactive element like a QR code that leads to a fun promo video.

In essence, make ‘em go “Wow! What’s that?” instead of “Eh, just another [insert your product here].” Make your product not just another face in the crowd but the life of the party. Because, let’s face it, no one remembers the wallflower at the dance, but everyone remembers the one who owned the dance floor.

7. Consider Shelf Impact

Okay, let’s cap it off with something super important: shelf impact! You’ve designed this amazing package, but wait a minute—how’s it gonna look sitting next to a sea of other products? Will it be the belle of the ball or the wallflower no one notices? Yeah, you get it; we’re talking about how your product stands out—or doesn’t—when it’s lined up on store shelves.

Now, ‘shelf impact’ might sound like some sort of industry jargon, but it’s really just a fancy term for how your package grabs eyeballs. And grabbing eyeballs is the name of the game, folks! When a shopper is strolling down an aisle, you’ve got like two seconds—max—to wow them. They’re gonna skim those shelves and you want ’em to stop dead in their tracks when their eyes hit your product.

Think about it. Have you ever walked down a grocery store aisle and found that your hand just magically gravitated towards a product? That’s no accident. That’s shelf impact, baby! It’s the result of using contrasting colors, bold fonts, and eye-catching imagery. Heck, sometimes even the shape of the packaging can make a world of difference. Ever wonder why soda bottles have those sexy curves? Yup, you guessed it—shelf impact!

So, don’t just slap on a design and call it a day. Take a step back and picture how your product will look surrounded by competitors. Better yet, do some real-world testing. Line ’em up and see how they fare. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!

How To Source Your Packaging Design?

Okay, so you’ve cooked up a wicked design, like, it’s sitting there in your noggin just begging to become real. Now what? Roll up those sleeves, ’cause it’s go-time! Listen, you’ve got two roads ahead of you: the DIY route or calling in the big guns.

So, let’s say you’re a jack-of-all-trades, a one-man-show, a “I can totally do this” kinda person. Awesome! Boot up Adobe Illustrator or get jiggy with Canva. These tools are your new BFFs, and seriously, they’re as user-friendly as a puppy. So many buttons, templates, and doodads that even if you’ve never done this before, you’ll feel like a pro in no time. Yeah, you’ll be adding gradient backgrounds, curved text, and all the snazzy elements until you’re blue in the face!

But hold up! Maybe you’re swamped with other stuff, or let’s be real, design just ain’t your jam. Ain’t no shame in that game. In that case, time to hit up the digital Rolodex of design talent. Websites like Behance and Dribbble are like speed dating for designers—scroll, click, love at first sight, and bam, you’re working on your project together. They’re chock-full of folks who can turn your dream into a reality, without breaking a sweat.

Now, don’t forget about actually making this masterpiece of yours. You’ll need to get chummy with some suppliers. But hey, let’s be good citizens while we’re at it and think green. Sustainable options aren’t just tree-hugger talk; they’re the talk of the town! Customers dig it, and Mother Earth gives you a big ol’ high five. So, eco-friendly is the way to go, folks.

Last but not least, let’s talk samples. Guys, this part is clutch. It’s like test-driving a car; you wouldn’t buy one without taking it for a spin, right? Same goes for your packaging. Get a sample and get all touchy-feely with it. Toss it around, stack it, do the whole shebang. If it’s not love at first touch, back to the drawing board. Trust me, spending a bit of extra time and moolah here will save you a boatload of headaches later.

So, there it is. Whether you’re going lone wolf or assembling a dream team, you’ve got options galore. Now go turn that awesome idea of yours into something you can actually hold!


Alrighty then! We’ve taken a wild ride, haven’t we? I mean, from unraveling the big mystery of why anyone should give two hoots about product packaging, to digging deep into the nitty-gritty details of how to actually put a killer design together—man, oh man, we’ve covered some serious ground. 

So, you’ve got this amazing design in your noggin, but don’t forget—the box or bag isn’t just there to keep your product from rolling off the table! Nah, it’s your product’s first hello, its firm handshake, its “how do you do?” to the world. It’s the opening act, the hors d’oeuvre before the main course. You dig?

Now, take what you’ve soaked up here and run with it! Craft something that makes folks go, “Whoa, what’s this?” Create a package that’s not just easy on the eyes but tugs at the heartstrings, tells a story, and, fingers crossed, makes that cash register ring. ‘Cause let’s get real—what’s on the outside is like the trailer for what’s inside. Make it good, and they’ll stick around for the full show.

So there ya go, my friend. That’s product packaging design for ya, in a nutshell—or should I say, in a beautifully designed, eco-friendly, eye-catching box? Keep those creative juices flowing and knock their socks off. Catch ya on the flip side, and keep on designing like a boss!